When seniors move into retirement communities, they are often coming from a house they’ve lived in many years. The move can mean parting with possessions that have meaning and history, and making other tough decisions about what to keep. Making the decision to move can be tough, and so can the move itself. Having an organized approach to this process is key to making it manageable.
Most people call this big move to smaller space “downsizing.” Author Ciji Ware prefers to call it “rightsizing” — fitting your possessions into the space that’s right for you at that time in your life. We tend to get weighed down by the things we accumulate: more stuff means more to clean and care for.
But rightsizing isn’t just for seniors who are moving to a retirement community. It is for anyone in a major transition — moving for a job, or adjusting your lifestyle after the kids move out — or anyone who is ready to declutter their home. It’s for people with two unused bedrooms and an extra thousand square feet, who want to exchange a busy city lifestyle for a peaceful country option (or vice versa), who have countless knick knacks gathering dust, or who are starting to think that keeping up the yard is more work than it’s worth.
Ware’s book, “Rightsizing Your Life,” is used by Providence staff to help seniors and their children with the moving process. She offers some helpful advice for each person who attempts to “rightsize” their homes and lives.
Ware prefers to call it “rightsizing” — fitting your possessions into the space that’s right for you at that time in your life when moving to retirement communities.
Ware notes that, though the process can be difficult and sometimes upsetting, it ultimately gives you freedom from your possessions. She speaks from experience, having been through a rightsizing move herself.
“The experience of paring down to only the possessions we loved and actually used had ultimately brought us relief…and even elation,” she writes.
Rightsizing is not just about wanting “less” or “smaller” – it’s about wanting better. This can mean a home that’s a better fit, and reducing your possessions to the best and most important of what you own.
Ware offers a systematic process for this decluttering: evaluate your goal and your timeline, and go through your possessions room by room. The earlier you start, the better — it can be a time- consuming job.
As Baby Boomers get older and live longer, they will likely make more moves than their parents and grandparents did. Some will need to “rightsize” a few times — maybe first to a new city, then a smaller house or town home, and finally to a retirement or assisted living community.
The “Rightsizing” book is not the only resource that Providence offers for seniors who are considering a move. We’ve had seminars addressing this topic and others, like how to apply for veteran benefits, as well as room planners to help people visualize where their most prized possessions would fit in their new home. Some of our locations even have move-in coordinators, dedicated to making the process easier.