Keep Memories, Not Clutter: The Right Way to Downsize Senior Living

Keep Memories, Not Clutter: The Right Way to Downsize Senior Living

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downsizing-for-senior-livinIt’s human nature to want to hold on to good memories; but when the accoutrements of those memories begin to encroach on living space, it can become a problem. Figuring out what to do with all the stuff that comes with a life well-lived is a reality that many a senior living in Cincinnati has had to face.

Even if downsizing and transitioning to a simpler, more manageable lifestyle is still well in the future, it is wise to consider how you can streamline physical reminders and corral the clutter in advance.

What can you do with the stuff of life— the memories of a lifetime?

Blessings of the Digital Age

Today, it has become easy to hold your memories, most of them anyway, right in the palm of your hand.

Digital technology, storage in "the cloud," smartphones and computers are all part of a trend toward centralization, organization and ease of retrieval. The modern age that allows instantaneous access to the wider world through the internet also encourages the secure digital storage of photos and important documents.

Physical space is no longer a requirement when you have digital storage. Photographs, music, documents, even books— the collected history of a lifetime can be digitized and accessed at will. That means loaded bookshelves, bristling photo albums, fragile 78 and 45 records and a wealth of other memories can be compressed and transferred to secure storage, ready to be shared and enjoyed at the push of a button or the click of a computer mouse.

Digitizing your collections may be a bit intimidating at first, but what a delight it is as well.

Planning for a Move

If you have a wealth of photo albums, personal journals and favorite books taking up space on your shelves, consider converting them to digital form. Even if it requires professional assistance, it is something to seriously consider, not only for yourself, but for future generations of family as well. Anyone who has explored any aspect of genealogy will attest to the advantages of having well-preserved records and photographs.

Take the time to make notes, add names and dates to photographs or record an audio or video account of a special occasion, a particular journey or a family reunion. Your family will thank you for it, and the act of preserving the record of special times will only enhance your memory of it.

Getting Practical

At some point, almost everyone realizes that all of the stuff that you've collected through the years has become burdensome, no matter how well-loved or well-used. Usually when you're considering a move.

If you are at the point of considering senior living Cincinnati-style, the decision is easy-- following through is the hard part. Tell children and relatives of your plans. Enlist their assistance and solicit their requests for anything you plan to part with. Knowing that your treasured possessions-- china or family heirlooms, souvenirs of travels, furniture-- may be special to others. Part of the joy of giving special possessions away is seeing them used by appreciative "others."

If there is no one in that category in your life, consider donating to a worthy cause or a favorite neighbor, co-worker or young person. If nothing else, explore the possibility of selling anything from small trinkets to large pieces of furniture through a consignment shop. Another possibility would be donating historical items to a local or regional museum so that the stories of "your times" are preserved.

Holding On by Letting Go

Letting go of physical clutter will free you to experience the best senior living Cincinnati can provide. As counterintuitive as it might seem, living simply can bring a renewed appreciation for the everyday experiences of life. In the words of Bob Hope, "Thanks for the Memory."

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Bryan Reynolds
July 17, 2014
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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