Been There, Moved That: Kendal Residents’ Top Tips for Downsizing

Whether you’re planning a year in advance, or suddenly discover there’s an opening for your ideal cottage, downsizing is a major undertaking.

It’s easy to become quickly overwhelmed with the years of accumulated treasures and even everyday items that you’ve enjoyed in your home. What will you do with all of it? Who will want it? What do you take with you?

A Resident Panel held via Zoom by Kendal at Lexington had it covered. While some residents made the move in a matter of days, others had plenty of lead time to prepare. Summarized below are the comments, tips and tricks they shared.

Resident Downsizing and Moving Advice

The Mental Preparation

Often the most difficult part of a move is the emotional and mental aspect. Parting with treasured items can be both freeing and bittersweet. Residents used a variety of techniques to help them work through the feelings.

  • “I really needed to downsize from a house three times as big as where I was moving. I did do a lot of crying. But looking back, it was emotional realizing that I was completing one chapter in my life. But I also looking forward to a new chapter in my life–coming to Kendal.” 
  • “Grouping things by category helped me see how much I had. For instance, we had 15 beach towels so that was an easy cut. But we also had 12 different sets of dishes, so we chose six that we wanted to take.”
  • “It is simply a fact that everyone can live in less space and use fewer things than they currently do and if something has not been used, worn, or seen for two years or more, toss it!       

What do you take with you?

Each resident agreed that graph paper is a fabulous tool when deciding what furniture will move in with you in your new cottage or apartment.  The Kalex website also has a great “Floorplanner” tool where furniture can be sized to your specific pieces.

  • “Less is more and if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go! You will save yourself and your movers a lot of headaches if you plan well.”

Remembering Memorabilia

The question of what to do with memorabilia is an emotionally-charged one. Many of the residents put that task aside while dealing with the larger aspect of moving furniture and household items.

  • “If you can’t decide what to do about memorabilia then put it in a storage unit while you make your move, then you can go back and work through it after you’ve made the move, when you can deal with it.”
  • “I just brought photographs and letters with me. The other things that I didn’t want but I didn’t want to throw away I took to a store in Alexandria that lists things on eBay. It worked out quite nicely- I got money for some things that I might have thrown out.”  

Feeling Good About Donations

One way residents felt good about their move was to donate to causes they felt were important.

  • “One couple had a lot of artwork, too much to fit in their new home, so they donated a few pieces to Kendal. “It delights me when I go to the fitness center and see my artwork on the walls.”
  • “We donated furniture, artwork, books, and music to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, knowing that other families would benefit too, as we move into our own new home.”

Avoiding Pitfalls

Not every aspect of moving was trouble-free. Some residents encountered challenges in packing, moving, storage, and selling some of their items.

  • “I got “creative” with some of my packing… like putting small, breakable objects inside glasses that were then put in these special glass protective containers. Don’t do that! They broke.”
  • “Be careful when going through an auction house. For example, a wooden table that I think my mother had paid $2,000 for in mint condition was described as a rattan table, and I got $10 for it.”

Get a Downsizing Buddy

By far the panel all agreed that making connections at Kendal made the transition so much easier. Hearing encouragement from those who had already made the move was a big help.

  • “I would encourage people who are having difficulties downsizing reach out to somebody who has already done it and maybe we can give you at least some moral support.”
  • “Look, you can do it, I did.”

Downsizing can seem like a huge, overwhelming task at the start. Our residents understand and felt that way too. What’s great to see is their enjoyment of a more trouble-free lifestyle without the upkeep of a larger home now that they are here. If you have questions about downsizing, contact us, and we can put you in touch with a few of the residents featured here so you can hear firsthand about their experience.

Extra Encouragement

  • “We just absolutely love it. We had this huge house and we realized we were only using a small fraction of it. Don’t be afraid about the space issue because you’ll find that you’ll end up in a more efficient place.”
  • “I do not miss anything that I gave away.”