The Difficulty of Downsizing.
Do you cringe whenever you hear the word “downsize?” If so, you’re not alone! We often hear from our incoming Charter House residents that the downsizing process was the most difficult aspect of moving.
We have an emotional connection to our belongings for several reasons. Maybe we have family heirlooms that have been handed down from generation to generation. Or maybe we have items that remind us of special life events such as the birth of a child. Some of us have prized collections that took years to accumulate. Our treasures can feel as if they hold a lifetime of sentiment and it can be emotionally challenging to part with them.
We downsize for various reasons. Are you moving into a home with half the space as your current home? Maybe you’re moving into a senior community. Or maybe you’ve just determined that you have too much “stuff” and no longer want to feel burdened. Whatever the reason, start early and have a strategy. You don’t have to wait until you’re moving into a senior community to downsize and purge items you no longer need or use!
In this post, we’ll provide you with personal experiences from our current and incoming Charter House residents. You’ll also find a list of tips and strategies we’ve created that you may find helpful in your own “right-sizing” journey.
Downsizing Experience. Words From Our Residents.
“While downsizing, we asked ourselves for each item ‘do we need this,’ or ‘can we live without this?’ This was a great strategy for us because we realized how many things we would no longer need after living at Charter House. This included tools, cleaning supplies, fitness equipment, and our large dining table.” – Amita H.
“Some people have lived in a house their entire lives and are surrounded by family antiques and have a difficult time separating. I think it can be hard on those who have workshops, offices, and craft rooms. When they move from their homes, they feel a loss of personal space.” – Norma S.
“When leaving my home of 30 years, I started by giving my kids what they wanted. Then I hired an auctioneer to sell my valuable items. The rest I gave away to my church. In the end, our children will get rid of what we don’t, so this makes it easier for them.” – William J.
“I had difficulty parting from my coin collection and antique collection. Collections have always been an interest of mine and I’ve spent the better part of my life collecting. I was able to sell a portion of my collections, but the rest didn’t sell. Even though my collections were meaningful to me, it didn’t mean they were meaningful to others.” – Ron T.
“I think we put off downsizing because we don’t want to face it, but it won’t get easier as we age. It was time consuming, but I now feel a sense of freedom that I’m no longer tied down by my stuff!” – Rebecca C.
“It was a difficult realization that my children either didn’t want, didn’t need, or couldn’t take items I had always planned on gifting to them. My daughter’s house is already fully-furnished and my son lives in a small apartment in Chicago and doesn’t have room for anything else. Though my kids didn’t take many items, they took small mementos which made me very happy.” – Shirley A.
Tips and Strategies.
- Start Early
Take the time you need to go through your items mindfully rather than scrambling to go through them at the last minute before your move.
- Know the dimensions of your new space
This is an excellent way not only to determine how much you can bring, but to pre-arrange your furniture. This will come in useful on move-in day.
- Determine Your Items’ Actual Usage – Bring Only the Essentials
Ask yourself these key questions for each item you plan to bring: What value will it add to my household? Will it make my life easier? Am I going to have a place for it? Will I want to keep it for a very long time? How difficult will it be to get rid of?
After you’ve answered these key questions, categorize items into keep, sell, donate, or recycle/toss. You can sell items through a neighborhood app or social media. You can bring items to consignment shops and antique stores. If you have a large-scale downsize consider having an estate sale or an auction.
- Enlist the Help of Others
Whether it is from family, friends, or neighbors, it can be helpful to have someone put items in the categories above after you’ve gone through them.
- Get Digital
You can eliminate several items by going digital. Instead of requiring space for hundreds of books, consider using an e-reader. If you have photo albums, you can scan your hard copy photos so you have them in digital format. You can keep your music on your computer rather than hard copy CD’s that require storing.
Charter House “Best” Senior Community in Rochester
We are thrilled to announce that Charter House has been named as “Best of the Best” Senior Community in Rochester, MN! Charter House was the recipient of this award in 2018 and 2017 and named as a finalist in 2016. We are honored to be acknowledged by our community and feel it’s indicative of our wonderful residents and hardworking and caring staff. This award was given by the Post Bulletin and winners were announced at their annual banquet. See photos from the event and watch a recording of the event!
History of the Post Bulletin’s Awards
The Post Bulletin started this contest seven years ago as a way for our community to recognize their favorite businesses. The contest began as “Readers Choice” and in 2018 changed to “Best of the Best.” The community had a choice to nominate their favorite businesses from the end of May through the middle of June. Businesses needed to be nominated at least 20 times to be included on the final ballot. Once the final ballot was compiled, community members were able to vote a second time. From that final round of voting, winners and finalists were determined. The Post Bulletin celebrates the winners and finalists at their annual banquet. This provides an opportunity for businesses to recognize their employees for the good work they do throughout the year with an award ceremony. The Post Bulletin is proud to showcase some of the best businesses Rochester has to offer!
Additional Charter House Awards
- 2019 – KTTC Fan Favorite Senior Living Award
- 2018 – Post Bulletin Best of the Best Senior Living Award
- 2018 – KTTC Fan Favorite Senior Living Award
- 2017 – Post Bulletin Readers Choice Senior Living Award
- 2017 – Health Promotion/Disease and Injury Prevention Info Award, National Health Information Awards
- 2017 – Health Promotion & Wellness Award, National Mature Media Awards
- 2017 – Health & Wellness Campaign Award finalist, Minnesota Business Magazine
- 2017 – Best in Print honorable mention, MN Health Strategy and Communications Network
- 2016 – Best in Print winner, MN Health Strategy and Communications Network
- 2016 – Finalist for Non-Profit of the Year Award, Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce
- 2016 – Finalist for Readers Choice Award, Post Bulletin
- 2015 – Finalist for Readers Choice Award, Post Bulletin
- 2013 – US News and World Report, Top Nursing Facility
- 2011-present – Confident Choices Award, LeadingAge MN
- 2004-present – Code of Ethics Designee, LeadingAge MN
Charter House opened our Parkside Art Gallery in January of 2015 as a way to give back to the Rochester community. This rotating art gallery features artistic works from local artists. This dedicated space for local artists feeds our residents’ cultural interests and love for art.
We believe in being a strong community partner. Because of that, we are always looking to connect with programs and resources that benefit Rochester. Creating an art gallery was another way for Charter House to give back to the arts community. Offering a rotating art exhibit was also of enormous interest to our residents because of their love of the cultural arts.
We’ve had a very positive response from the community. To date, we’ve featured 31 artists within 18 exhibits! We now have artists scheduled to exhibit in the Parkside Gallery for the next several years. Artists now refer to Charter House as “the place where local artists want to display their work!”
Every quarter when we feature a new exhibit, we hosts an opening event in which the public is invited to attend. It is always a very well-attended event with refreshments, music, and a gallery talk by the artists. Check out our Facebook page or our Parkside Gallery page for details on upcoming openings!
Senior Living Blog
Welcome to the senior living blog for Charter House! Charter House is the world’s only Mayo Clinic Senior Living and we’re located in Rochester, Minnesota.
In these blog posts we’ll provide you with helpful resources and information. You’ll learn more about the Charter House lifestyle and our philosophy on aging. You can gain insight from our wellness tips and healthy aging information from Mayo Clinic experts.
Learning about senior living can be best coming from a senior themselves. Therefore, we’ll feature personal stories from our very own Charter House residents. About half of our residents move to Charter House from the Rochester area, and the other half are move from all over the US. Moving cross-country can add complexity, so we’ll provide you with the tips and tricks our residents have used.