Smart-size your home and enjoy the freedom and fun of your retirement

You've worked hard throughout your life, enjoyed a satisfying career, raised a beautiful family, and now you're ready to enjoy retirement to its fullest. What's more, you've found the ideal retirement condominium community that offers an active lifestyle and the comfort of knowing you can age-in-place. But, can you get through the challenge of what to take with you as you down-size to a smaller home?

"For many seniors looking to move to a retirement community, the thought of sorting through all their belongings is very emotional and can be overwhelming," says Joanna Marowits, Principal of Body + Soul Design, a senior-focused interior design firm in Toronto, Canada. "They fear having to give up too much in order to move into a smaller space, but the truth is, with organization, time and careful planning, you can make your new home work beautifully and still keep your most cherished items."

Marowits is a rare professional with training in both interior design and environmental gerontology and has been helping developers create progressive retirement lifestyle communities for nearly two decades. She advocates for seniors based on a deep understanding of both the emotional and physical needs of an aging lifestyle.

Marowits' unique perspective has been leveraged in project designs and layouts in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and senior lifestyle residences. She is passionate about helping seniors make successful transitions from their homes to senior housing settings and shares her knowledge to help them "smart-size" new homes.

Marowits provides a wide variety of tips and tricks to help ease the process of moving into a retirement condominium community. Scaling down items in the home can help to free up emotional energy for other activities.

Examples of some of Marowits' "Smart-sizing" tips include:

  1. Prioritize. Write a list of your most valuable and high-quality items that you can't live without to identify what to keep and what to let go of.
  2. Get a second opinion. Have someone else provide an objective opinion to help make the final decision on items you may or may not need.
  3. Sell or donate. Work with auction houses, dealers and consignment shops to identify what can be sold, and donate other items to charities.
  4. Speak with family. You may have items that are of value to your family that can be passed down to future generations.
  5. Plan your space ahead of time. Use rooms of similar size in your existing home or a floorplan to visualize how your pieces will fit into your new space.
  6. Find new uses for favoured items. For pieces you just can't part with, see if you can find a new or additional way to use it in your new home.
  7. Give yourself lots of time! The more time you have to organize and edit before you move, the less overwhelming the process will be.