Preserving Memories When Making a Move: Tips To Help With Downsizing

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on April 03, 2019 with No Comments

By Natalie Reisen, Marketing Coordinator – Residences at Coffee Creek

 Moving is a part of life. At one season or another in our lives, most people have moved out of their homes and created a new home elsewhere. What is always astounding, is no matter how long you have lived somewhere, it is easy to accumulate a lot of stuff. Clothing, trinkets, boxes and books fill our closets and shelves over time and although they may collect dust, it can be extremely emotional to part with items that have sentimental value or spark a fond memory. So why is it so hard to part with that encyclopedia collection you may ask? Believe it or not, there’s actually science behind the detachment.

According to a study conducted by the Yale School of Medicine, many people can experience anguish and pain when letting go of clutter. They measured this by tracking the brain activity of a group of participants with a tendency to hoard and it showed increased activity in two regions of the brain when sorting through their keepsakes.

There are many reasons why we hold onto things we don’t necessarily need. For one, it can be a connection of memories or people who have passed on. Maybe holding onto certain items takes you back to a previous version of yourself or time in your life that was easier. Keeping things that are “still good” with the idea that at some point you or someone you know may need it, is a popular school of thought as well. Or maybe these items have a monetary value and for that reason, you feel you cannot part with it.

Whatever the reasoning, downsizing for a move can be overwhelming when we have too much stuff. It can even prohibit a very necessary move when it comes to transitioning to a senior living environment, for example. Many senior citizens cannot fathom what they will do with all of their stuff when it’s time to move, but realistically, the “stuff” they are referring to is most likely not being used on a daily or even yearly basis. These items have filled their homes over the years and the thought of purging is overwhelming and even frightening. These items can also become a mental anchor which is holding the person onto their home causing them to delay a move that may be very necessary for those who can no longer manage the upkeep of a house.

So we know we have to downsize, but how do we do it?

Here are some tips to help move forward with a move and not letting our “stuff” take control of our lives.

1.)       Measure it up – Do you know where you are moving to yet? If so, get the dimensions of the new apartment home and realistically plan what can fit. Operating within realistic boundaries is a great start!

2.)       If you don’t use it, lose it. – According to Marie Kondo, Japanese Organizing Consultant, we should focus on keeping things that speak to our heart and it is healthy to discard the rest.

3.)       Put it in a box – It is possible to simplify the number of things you have and still honor the memories that are dear too you. Create a memory box and fill it with those sweet momentums like photos, an airline ticket from a favorite trip, your high school class ring, and more. But if it doesn’t fit in the box, it gets donated or passed on to a loved one.

4.)       Set a timeline – working on a schedule is always a more effective use of your time. Maybe tackling one room each day until the home is complete is a great way to take a project that seems overwhelming and turn it into something more manageable.

5.)       Organize your clothes seasonally — Only have clothes in your closet for that season, the rest of the seasons organize to a bin that is stored creatively under a bed or high on a shelf to keep the amount of clothing realistic, but also to keep your closet less packed.

6.)       Ask for help – whether you call in that family member or friend that has great organizational skills or even hire an organizing or downsizing specialist, it’s OK to have a fresh set of eyes and perspectives when evaluating what to keep and what to donate.

7.)       Don’t wait – It is tempting to push the inevitable aside, but when you are a part of this process in a proactive way, you can respect the decision to move and in turn will be happier once the move has been made.

What will all of this do to help me with my move?

It will allow new possibilities into your life. Having a space to invest in relationships and having the things at your fingertips that you know serve a purpose will be gratifying. You will naturally feel more at ease knowing each item of clothing in your closet is one that you cherish and you will feel less overwhelmed by the stacks of papers that had been sitting on your desk. It will also save you time and money! Paying for storage units and moving costs quickly adds up when these dollars can be put toward travel or entertainment.

So, when packing for a move and entering a change, take what’s important and preserve what is dear to your heart. It’s ok to say goodbye extra things that have piled up over the years and gift yourself the luxury of living in a clutter free and simplified environment.


Malt shop memories will be rekindled Friday, April 12 at the Residences at Coffee Creek, starting at 2:00 p.m. Come dressed in your ‘50s best, as prizes will be awarded.

Features include a vintage photo booth. Refreshments include mini sliders, hot dogs, French fries, onion rings, and root beer floats.

Space is limited, so early reservations are requested. Call 219-921-5200. The facility is located at 2300 Village Point, Chesterton.

 A Reiki workshop is coming to the Residences at Coffee Creek on Thursday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. Kate Schlobohm, a Reiki master, will lead this program on the Japanese technique involving “laying on hands” for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.

The workshop is geared to teaching you the amazing healing benefits of Reiki and how balancing your energy center can create optimal health.

Space is limited. Register by calling 219-921-5200 or going online to www.ResidencesAtCoffeeCreek.com. The facility is located at 2300 Village Point, Chesterton.

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Natalie Reisen works as the Marketing Coordinator for Residences at Coffee Creek, located at 2300 Village Point in Chestertonserving as a key playing in supporting new residents and families making the transition to senior living. In addition, Natalie is a Certified Dementia Practitioner.  A native of the region, Natalie was raised in Portage and she graduated with her Bachelors of Communication from Purdue University and her Masters of Business Administration from University of Saint Francis. For more information, contact her at 219-921-5200 or email Natalie directly at nreisen@residencesatcoffeecreek.com.



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