Downsizing may mean scaling back, but it doesn’t have to mean parting with the things you hold most dear. Leaving your family home and moving to a senior living community can be both exciting and bittersweet as you contemplate getting rid of belongings that hold precious memories. The trick is learning how to downsize creatively so you can bring your most treasured possessions with you as you enter a new stage of life.
Put Memories on Display
One of the first secrets, as you’re considering how to downsize a lifetime of memories, is remembering that in many cases, it’s not the things you hold dear, but rather the memories they elicit. Keeping that mindset may make it easier for you to pare down belongings. For example, if you have a collection of antique dolls, you might pick your favorite one or two to keep, designate others to family members who will appreciate them, and take pictures of the rest to display in a special frame on the wall. A box filled with souvenirs from family trips through the years could be converted into a series of shadow boxes. Once they’re hanging on the wall in your new home, they’ll bring you joy and spark fond memories for your loved ones when they come to visit.
Convert Practical Items into Art
It may seem counterintuitive, but pulling some practical items out of storage and putting them on display can actually save space. One item many people wonder how to downsize is quilts, especially if they were made or gifted by a loved one. Take your quilts out of the drawers and hang them flat on the walls (think tapestry-style art), or drape quilts over wall-mounted rods instead.
Make Use of Vertical Space
You may quickly run out of flat surfaces to display picture frames, keepsakes and other mementos, but one trick for downsizing when you have a lot of knickknacks is using your vertical space. Your walls give you lots of extra real estate to showcase your treasures! Shelving comes in all styles and colors so you can match your décor and display important things while keeping clutter under control.
Consider Potential Trade-offs
When you have a large item you want to keep, you may be able to part with other, smaller things that hold less sentimental value. Here’s a pro tip for how to downsize when you have bulky furniture: Figure out how to repurpose the larger item and use it in place of something you bid adieu. For example, a large wardrobe that was once a focal point in your master bedroom might be reimagined into a stylish TV stand and storage cabinet in your new living room.
Enlist Your Loved Ones’ Help
Have conversations with family members or friends about heirlooms and other items you feel strongly should stay within the family or with dear friends. A niece or grandson might be delighted by the gift of a piano that allows them to learn to play and carry on the tradition. A dresser that has been lovingly passed down through multiple generations may be ready to meet the next branch of the family tree. Talk with family members about the pieces that have special significance and who you’d like to entrust with their continued care.
Inspired to Embrace Your New Life?
Now that you’re armed with ideas for how to downsize and keep the belongings you love most, you may feel more inspired than ever to decide where you’ll spend your retirement years. If a cozy haven where you’ll enjoy great views of Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods sounds like a setting you could happily call home, be sure to check out Aberdeen Ridge, a new independent living community coming soon to Colorado Springs.
Still have questions about how to downsize your home? We’ll be hosting a series of events with additional downsizing advice for seniors this spring; contact us to learn more.