Take the hard work out of moving house

For retirees looking to enjoy their golden years, downsizing can mark the end of their working years and the beginning of their retirement journey.

But condensing 30 years or more of memories and clutter to create a stress-free environment is a fine art.

With an increasing number of people moving to regional and rural areas since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minimalist trend towards smaller homes, clean spaces and decluttering has not only become a niche, but a drawcard for a more enjoyable lifestyle.

In emptying closets and giving away old belongings, the idea of organising and moving to a new place also gives many the opportunity to begin a new chapter of their lives with a clean state, physically and emotionally.

Newport Retirement Living village manager John Elder said streamlining the downsizing process offers a chance for a fresh start.

Read: How does the ATO define ‘downsizing’

“We know moving out of your forever home into a retirement living community can be a challenging time. That’s why it’s so important residents have the tools they need to make the process as easy as possible,” Mr Elder said.

“Something as simple as writing a list of what you’d like to keep, or even taking pictures of your valued possessions to help declutter, can make all the difference.”

Here are six tips to get started

Lists and goals

Downsizing is a marathon, not a sprint. Start with a simple list. Write down a list of the things you’d like to keep, the things you’d like to give away and the things you’d like to throw out. You can use list-making apps on your smartphone to easily share with your partner or family members. Setting short and achievable goals is another great way to get the process underway. Set digital reminders every day on your smartphone or computer to tackle one part of the room at a time, such as a closet or cabinet.

Read: How selling and downsizing affects the Age Pension

Take pictures

Immortalising items through pictures can be a great way to save a memory without having to hold onto a physical item. Using a camera or your smartphone, take a photo of the item and save it onto a separate hard drive or online cloud platform such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This will allow you to keep all your precious memories together for easy access.

Visualise your new space

When planning for the move to your new home, measure twice and move once. Refer to your provided floorplan to see how your furniture will complement your new space. If you want to get creative, there are a number of online floor plan design platforms or apps, such as planyourroom.com, that will allow you to input specific dimensions and begin styling your room digitally. For styling inspiration, use apps such as Pinterest to create a mood board, get a feel for what your new style will be, as well as useful storage and organisational ideas.

Ask for help

The downsizing process can be difficult, especially if you are tackling it on your own. Whether it is manually moving furniture, organising cupboards or getting your library into alphabetical order, errand-runner apps such as AirTasker connect you with people to perform odd jobs within a small budget. If the process becomes overwhelming, online or in-person consultations with professional organisers can be a great morale booster and help you to refocus on your goals.

Read: Older Australians resist downsizing

Sell items online

For the items you are not planning to bring to your new home, engage with online selling platforms to quickly and securely part with your items. Sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace will allow you to upload your items easily and engage with buyers via Messenger, saving you the trouble of planning an old-fashioned garage sale.

Consider giving

When it comes to sentimental items you just can’t hold onto, sometimes it’s better to go offline. Instead of selling these pieces, consider giving them to second-hand stores for the less fortunate, or perhaps share a special part of your history with a family member or friend. Passing along these special items can often be easier than selling them, and will allow you to build a stronger connection with those you know, or brighten the day of someone you don’t.

To find out more about downsizing options in a Stockland retirement living community, visit stockland.com.au/retirement-living.

Stockland Retirement Villages are vibrant communities filled with like-minded people and exciting new pursuits. Stockland has more than 60 years’ experience creating communities in Australia. With 59 retirement villages, more than 10,000 residents and a commitment to delivering a safe and comfortable lifestyle, we help you live life to the fullest.

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Written by Jan Fisher