The time may come when you need to help a family member downsize in order to move to a new apartment. Whether you’re moving your parent or grandparent from a large Denver, Colorado apartment to a Philadelphia assisted living facility all the way across the country; or just down the block into a smaller unit, understanding the downsizing process is key.
While there are different levels and styles of assisted living, moving to any facility will almost always require a decrease in space.
If your loved one is already in an apartment that was previously downsized, the issues may not be as challenging as those for someone that is relocating from a large residence where they have lived for over 30 years. Regardless, the move can be traumatic, so first let’s look at some tips for making the experience less stressful, and then we’ll cover some ways to make the new unit look more spacious.
Do Your Diligence
First, take as many trips as necessary to the new facility. Of course, look at the apartment, but take some time to check out the surroundings and what they offer. A facility with many dining options might make cookware unnecessary.
It’s also important to carefully measure the new space and decide the most important items to take. Some bigger things will just not fit, and those choices will then be easy.
Don’t Start with Sentimental Stuff
To many persons, their belongings chronicle their life, and if the first thing you do is start dictating that prized and meaningful possessions have to go, the process can be very difficult. Start in the basement or garage, for example. If there is no grass to cut, then the lawn mower can go. Once the relocating person gets used to parting with some mechanical things, more sentimental objects could follow.
Save it For Now
Don’t just throw what you have decided as unnecessary items in the trash immediately; put these items aside so that you can take another look at them. This will accomplish two things:
- It will take away the suddenness and immediacy of losing prized items.
- It will give everyone a chance to change their mind without rummaging through the dumpster.
Making The New Unit Look Larger
Perception is everything, and there are decorating methods that will make even the smallest area feel bigger:
Paint It White
If the walls are a dark color, repaint them white. This is a classic decorating method that never fails. Counter-intuitively, however, try painting the ceilings a rich red or blue. You’ll be amazed at the depth this can add.
The use of strategically placed mirrors can miraculously add the illusion of more depth and space. No need to purchase new ones—just use the ones you have.
Respect the Windows
Windows allow light to enter the room and light creates airiness and space. Don’t block the windows with furniture, large plants or items that keep the light out.
Stay Away from the Walls
Items placed right up against the walls will make a room look claustrophobic; make sure you leave a few inches between furniture items and the walls.
Whether it’s the first smaller home purchase or move number four, it’s tough to relocate and even more difficult to dispose of items. By using the tips we have mentioned, however, you can make the process easier for you, and for the person you are helping transition.