Things to Do NOW
Still not ready to make your later life move? Or are you waiting for an apartment in your community of choice? Either way, there is LOTS you can do in preparation for your upcoming move even if it’s a few years away. And anything you do now to tackle even some of the preparation and downsizing work will be like money and time in the bank down the road.
Need a list to get you started? The following are great tasks to start working on to begin the downsizing, right-sizing process for your simplified and “lighter” future:
- Consult your financial advisor regarding which financial and tax records you should keep and then shred the old records that no long need to be retained. Consider using one of the professional shredding services if you have a significant volume of old financial records.
- Clean/clear your garage of all excess items. Get this job done during the cooler months of the year when working out in your garage can be a pleasant activity. Take advantage of any bulky item collection services your garbage company provides, or contact a hauling service if necessary. Believe me, this is NOT a job you want to leave until the last minute. The same applies to attics, crawl spaces and any other outdoor or out-of-the-way storage areas that will need to be cleared.
- Get rid of your hazardous waste (old paint, motor oil, chemicals of any kind, etc.). Find out about your city’s drop-off locations for hazardous waste. Also ask whether there is home pickup service for residents over 65 since this is available in some locations.
- Clean out your closets and donate or consign clothing that is old or no longer fits. These things aren’t doing you any good taking up room in your closet and may well benefit someone else. Many charities will pick up donation items upon request, or you can take the clothing to one of the drop-off sites.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet and bathroom cabinets and throw away all old, expired drugs and products and anything else you no longer use or need. Many products and drugs only work effectively for a limited amount of time so checking things in your bathroom should be an annual ritual. Also, recognize that if you want to find the things you use, you have to get rid of the things you don’t.
- Sort through and clean out your file cabinet and any other places you store paperwork of any kind. This is a tedious process and is best done when you can take your time with sorting and reviewing. Be very discriminate and keep only what you absolutely know you will need for future purposes.
- Begin the process of going through your pictures and other memorabilia from your past. Again, keep only those things you truly value. Remember that vacation and scenery pictures are generally nice only in the short term. Keep pictures in frames only if you’re going to display them. Give away or sell the extras and remind your family to stop giving you a new frame with each new picture. This also might be a great time to put together a special photo album for each of your children, or to return old letters to your kids or friends so they can take their own stroll down Memory Lane.
- Last but not least, if you’re still collecting stuff, STOP IT! This is a time to let go of your excess material possessions and to start focusing on the things in life that are really important – your family, your friends, collecting new experiences and memories, doing all you can to age successfully. More useless stuff will NOT add value to your life at this stage.
Lightening the load and releasing the excess from your life can truly have amazing results and will serve you well in the years to come. Plus, taking steps now to downsize or “right-size” your life will benefit you greatly when it comes time for your move. Get started on this process – you’ll be glad you did!
Sue Ronnenkamp is a nationally recognized expert in the area of later life living transitions. After 10 years of refining the “how to” of right-sizing/downsizing, Sue has shifted her focus to WHY continuing to move forward in all areas of our lives is key to vital and successful aging. Her new business is called Age-Full Living with its primary focus on embracing changing with our aging, living later life to the fullest, and reaping the gifts and blessings of growing older. For more information, visit Sue’s website at www.AgeFullLiving.com.