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Spring Cleaning 101: 7 Tips for Downsizing & Making a Move to Senior Living

“Spring cleaning” doesn’t just have to mean dusting behind the refrigerator and washing your curtains (although those are definitely good things to do). If you’re a senior of a certain age, “spring cleaning” could be more aspirational ... more motivating ... more “let’s make things ready for the next, amazing chapters of our lives.”

“Spring is the perfect time to take a look at your lifestyle and determine if now is a good time to downsize and move to senior living,” says Jake Quigley, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “The weather is nicer, the days are getting longer and we’re entering prime time for estate and home sales. After the cold drudgery of winter, you may have started thinking that your big family home is too much work to deal with on your own, and you’re ready for a maintenance-free, luxury retirement lifestyle like you’ll find at Waterstone at the Circle.”

Jake says that spring is the perfect time to move to senior living because it’s really a chance to see how life in the community blooms. “January may be the beginning of the calendar year, but for most of us, spring is really the beginning for our lifestyles,” he says. “It’s the right time to go through our things, determine what’s really necessary and make plans for the next phase of our life.”

Whether you’re actively making plans to move into a retirement community this spring, or if you’re just beginning on your journey and want to get your house in order, here are some downsizing tips to help you make your move before you move. 

1. Make a plan.

Downsizing, like building Rome, isn’t something that you do in a day. In fact, it’s not something you can really do over a weekend or even in one week. And, really, it’s not something you’d like to rush. Before you begin anything, sit down and make a plan for how you’re going to tackle the process and put together a reasonable timeline. If you already have a move date scheduled, great! If not, choose an event on the calendar – perhaps the first day of summer, or the last day of August – when you’d like to have everything done. Schedule time on the calendar (actually mark it down; otherwise it will get away from you and fill up before you know it) and define what goals you have for those specific times. Then, call friends and family to enlist their help. 

2. Write down your “must-keeps.”

Quick – what items in your home can you absolutely not live without? Approaching your possessions this way may make it easier to narrow down what’s really important instead of trying to decide what you can live without. Write down your list without going around your house and looking. Only write down the things that spring to mind – those are the things that are truly important. If you can’t think of them right now, you probably won’t miss them when they’re gone. 

3. Start small. 

When it comes time to tackle the actual downsizing, don’t start with places that have a lot of sentimentality (like your kids’ bedrooms). Instead, choose a smaller space, like the linen closet or a spare bedroom that doubles as storage. Going through the places that don’t have a lot of attachment can get you in the groove and motivate you to tackle the bigger places – like the garage or kitchen. 

4. Keep, donate or trash?

As you go through each room, make three piles (and place every single item in one of these piles, either literally or figuratively): Keep, donate or trash. Keep is for things you absolutely must keep. Donate is for things that still have life in them but you no longer want or need (family heirlooms can go into this pile, too). Trash is for items that have no useful life left. Resist the urge to create a Maybepile, no matter how strong it may be. 

5. Keep it manageable.

Downsizing will take a lot longer – and a lot more energy – than you may expect. Schedule the process during a time when you don’t have anything else on the calendar, and (again) start small. Focus on one room a day, or perhaps one room over a weekend or week (for larger spaces like the garage or basement). Remember that it’s okay to take breaks if you get tired or are feeling burned out. If you’re starting early, you don’t need to rush. 

6. Enlist some help.

There’s no need to do this on your own. In fact, this process can be quite fun if you involve friends and loved ones. This is a great chance to get your family together to help “clear out” the past and help you make way for your new and exciting lifestyle. It’s also a unique opportunity to bond and reminisce with your children and grandchildren. As you go through items, you may be inspired to tell your family stories about unique things, or share memories that come up. You may also be surprised at what items hold great value for your family members. This can be an excellent time to pass on some of your heirlooms while you’re still living, so you can see your family enjoy them. 

7. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

If you aren’t planning on moving into senior living in the near future, that’s okay – this process just gives you a leg up for when you actually do choose to move. Remember that downsizing is a process, so if it’s not perfect this time around, that’s okay. If you’re finding the process harder than you expected, it’s okay to do another round later in the year, after you’ve had some time to reflect and really think about what’s needed. You may find that some items you thought were invaluable are, in fact, completely unnecessary (or vice versa).

“The most important thing is to have fun and see this as a positive step,” says Jake. “Downsizing is a chance for you to take stock of the items that really matter to you and say goodbye to the clutter and chaos that no longer has a place in your life. This is a perfect opportunity to redefine your living space for this next, great chapter in your life. Now, that’s something to celebrate!”

If you’d like to learn more about downsizing tips, or if you’re wondering how a luxury senior living community like Waterstone at the Circle can help you live an active and fulfilled life, contact us today at 617.431.1880.

Luxury Senior Living in Boston

Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and an urban lifestyle with arts and cultural and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Brookline and Chestnut Hill. 

Elegant Independent Living Apartments

Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.  

Senior Living Supportive Services

As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our independent living residents to receive the assistance they need.

The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.

Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring. . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our premier Boston Independent Living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!