Doing retirement in style

Private Property South Africa
The Roosting Venus

While moving from a larger home into a smaller retirement option can seem quite daunting, it’s also a great time to declutter and start afresh. Here’s how to get your retirement home looking good.

There comes a time when most of us have to make the move from a larger home into a smaller retirement option, and while it can involve quite a bit of admin, and seem quite daunting, it’s also a great time to declutter and start afresh. While many people have a number of items from their former home that they want to take along, it’s also a great opportunity to try out – on a smaller scale – a look or feel they haven’t had before.

In other words, downscaling can be an exciting time, a time to create a whole new look and feel, and to relieve oneself of years of unnecessary possessions. Here are some ways to smooth the move.

  • Enjoy the process. Pack well in advance and allow yourself plenty of time to make the move. Don’t add to the stress of the actual move by putting yourself in a position where you’ll need to make hasty decisions about what to take and what to discard.

  • Make three lists: Keep, Don’t Keep, To Do. Besides physically going through your possessions and deciding what to hang on to and what to part with, keep these lists near you so you can make notes whenever things come to mind.

  • Brighten it up. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way towards making a place feel and smell clean and cheerful. A small area can be made quite eye-catching with a dramatic coloured feature wall. Paint is relatively inexpensive, easy to change, so use the opportunity to try something new!

  • You’ll no doubt set aside some obvious favourites while you are going through what to take, but do bear comfort and convenience in mind while you’re doing this – your favourite easy chair, a small chest of drawers, a few lamps, a rug or carpet, framed photos. Where space is an issue (and it usually is) keep for example 6 settings of your favourite dinner service instead of the entire set.

  • Consider selling household items that you are not going to give away – you could make some pocket money to spend on making new memories.

  • Think about your children and grandchildren too – are there any heirlooms that they would appreciate?

  • Think storage when buying or choosing furniture. An ottoman that opens serves as extra storage space as well as an extra seat, a side or coffee table and a footstool. Think beds with storage drawers underneath and bedside tables with cupboards, shelves and/or drawers. Opt also perhaps for a microwave/oven/grill in one and a washing machine/tumbledrier in one.

  • Visit the unit with a friend and measure the spaces and take photos of them. Take these measurements and photos (and a tape measure) with you when you go shopping to help you select items for your new space.

  • Set small goals. Pack up one room at a time in your existing home, and finish packing it before moving onto another room. You’ll feel a sense of progress, and will be sure not to miss anything. Do the same thing as you unpack in your new unit.

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