Downsizing? These Victoria seniors share their tips

If you can, move into your retirement suite BEFORE selling your home. It takes the pressure off!

Jill Ellis used a downsizing service to make her move into Berwick House smoother. When you take a tour of Berwick, they’ll be happy to recommend a few companies.

Jill Ellis used a downsizing service to make her move into Berwick House smoother. When you take a tour of Berwick, they’ll be happy to recommend a few companies.

When Jill Ellis moved into Berwick House a few months ago, she did a lot of things right. Timing was one: she moved into her suite at Berwick first, and continued to work on downsizing and selling her home from there.

“It takes the pressure off, and gives you more time to sort through your belongings,” says Linda Lord, Community Relations Manager at Berwick House. “Residents here get three nutritious meals every day, and get to sleep in their own beds in their own organized space. That leaves you with more energy to tackle downsizing at your house.”

Terry and Gene built their own home and lived in it for 48 years, which meant every downsizing decision was emotionally charged. Like Jill, they opted to move into Berwick before they emptied the house, which not only reduced stress but also allowed them to swap out furniture before their house sold.

“Once you move in you might decide the smaller coffee table will work better in your new space. That strategy works well for selling your home too, since most realtors suggest removing a third of your possessions before the open house,” Lord says.

Get help from the pros

Jill, Terry and Gene hired professional downsizers to assist in sorting, selling and donating possessions they no longer needed.

“Family aren’t always the best help with downsizing, especially if they live far away,” says Kathy McAree, Community Relations Manager at Berwick Royal Oak. “Downsizers can help you compartmentalize: what to recycle, sell, donate or give to family. All of the ones we recommend offer a free consultation — they can help a lot or a little, depending on your budget.”

If you’re not in a position to hire a professional or hold onto two homes at the same time, Berwick’s advice is to start downsizing now.

“If you’re planning to move within the year, start doing a little bit at a time. Go through your papers, sort through one closet each week, get some boxes and start labeling them ‘donation,’ ‘recycle,’ ‘family.’ Moving is emotional, and it’s important to take it slow,” Lord says.

Jill Phipps from Home Again Seniors Transition Services says the hardest part of downsizing is getting started. She often recommends starting with the unemotional stuff, and gaining momentum from there.

Berwick suites are equipped with a small fridge and drapes on the windows, but the rest of the space is open to make your own. To schedule a tour of Berwick House contact Linda Lord at 250-853-5492 or email berwickhouse@berwickrc.com. To schedule a tour of Berwick Royal Oak contact Kathy McAree at 250-419-4012 or email berwickro@berwickrc.com. Take a peek inside at instagram.com/berwick.royaloak or instagram.com/berwick.house!

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