Downsizing your home

Downsize while you’re still young, Cami Weinstein writes, so you can enjoy this new chapter in your life.

Lately it seems everyone is moving, either out of cities or into cities.  With all this movement, it’s clear that a lot of “boomers” and elderly folks especially are moving and downsizing.  As young families are moving into family homes, older empty nesters are moving out of them.

Moving is stressful under the best circumstances and it is better to move in your 60s than in your 80s.  Most people are stronger in their 60’s and it’s not such a jolt to them both physically and emotionally.  It takes endurance to move, especially if you are a collector or are coming from a large home moving to a much smaller one.  It can be an overwhelming task to go through just the paperwork alone that we collect over the years. Then comes the monumental task of getting rid of all of the things you no longer need or want. 

When you are ready to downsize, try selecting the pieces of furniture that you don’t want to part with under any circumstances and want to bring to your new environment. Keep in mind that moving can also be a fresh start, and you’ll design and decorate your space in a manner more in tune with your new lifestyle. 

Take stock of the rest of the pieces and offer them to children, relatives’ kids or friends. You would be surprised how many pieces of furniture and decorative accessories are happily taken in by your family and friends. Certain items that you have hold memories for them also.  Other pieces are beyond consideration and should be auctioned or donated. 

If you are going from a four- or five- bedroom home to a much smaller one- or two- bedroom situation, there is a lot of getting rid of to do. Hire someone to help you go through the items you wish to eliminate going forward. Consider renting a storage unit (or two) at least for a little while, particularly if you need to move quickly. You may be moving to a completely new location or part of the country and putting your items in storage is a safe way to keep them until you are sure about which pieces will remain in your possession.  Don’t keep items in storage too long or you’ll quickly realize you could have paid for them many times over. 

Downsizing can be cathartic and a pleasant emotional release. No longer burdened by “things,” you can go out and enjoy your new life.  When looking for a new place, cities offer elders a lot of stimulation. Consider a town or city where everything is within walking distance. Not only will you increase your physical exercise but you will have easy access to food shopping, restaurants, medical care, entertainment and social activities.  If you move to a city, having a doorman when you are older is great, especially if you live alone as he or she can accept  deliveries and help you with packages. The doorman can also keep an eye out for you.  

There are also many new multitier living arrangements in which you are not in a nursing home but can have independent living arrangements. These include amenities such as provided meals, cleaning services, transportation and a schedule of cultural events. As you continue to grow even older, you can transition to a full-scale nursing home situation should the need arise. 

There are many different types of downsizing arrangements that can be done, from completely independent to more comprehensive situations.  Before you move take stock of your finances and health capabilities so that you can choose the best situation for you. Often if your family lives far away, you may choose to live closer to them. Some people may choose to live closer to friends and stay in an area that is more familiar to them. Your family can help provide input and some of your friends may even want to make similar arrangements so that you can all continue to live independently. Do the necessary legwork so that you are comfortable in whatever living arrangements you make.

Lastly, enjoy this new chapter in your life. Use your time wisely while you are still healthy to continue living your most active life.

For more, call 914-447-6904 or email

More from Cami Weinstein
Tricks of the trade from a design pro
Cami Weinstein, WAG’s new Wares columnist, offers readers some tricks of the...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *