Downsizing as a widow is never easy since it arrives on your doorstep like bad weather, unwelcome and often by surprise. However, with careful thought, time and support, you will get through this as many have before you.
If you have just become a widow or became one recently, you need some “time and space” to come to terms with your new reality. Unless you are dealing with strong financial pressures, legal issues or health problems, you don’t need to rush headlong into dealing with your possessions. It would be best for you to set the stage for downsizing by eliminating as many stresses as possible. Quickly getting closure to any outstanding legal or financial issues in order to focus on your transition will help relieve your stress.
Time, Space and Supports
Our personality type usually affects how we respond to difficult situations such as the death of a spouse. We may gravitate to solitude, gravitate to people or alternate between both. For those who prefer solitude, their time alone allows them to think through this change in their life. For those who prefer time with others, the ability to lean on someone or share feelings is highly valued. Regardless of where you are in this range of responses, there comes a time when you need others for practical help. Having local family members who are also ready, willing and able to provide you with hands-on support, will go a long way to relieving your stress level. If you are on your own or have little family support, then close friends or a church group may be able to step in to offer practical help. Local community volunteer services may be available to put more supports in place. Although a “widow and widowers’ club” is usually focused on social activities, an initial visit to one of these clubs may identify more support as well.
How to plan your downsizing project
Starting with a review of your finances would be prudent since your financial situation will have the most influence on your plan. Choices such as where to live next, what type of property you can afford and the amount of space you may need for your possessions will be the natural outcome of the plan. The simple building-block diagram below from the article titled “When is the best time to downsize?” illustrates how finances form the foundation. Who should you turn to for financial advice while creating your plan? A “fee for service” financial planner may be appropriate since an independent viewpoint would be very important in making informed decisions. After you have a draft plan in place, you will be better equipped to talk to other professionals as necessary.
See “Who can help me downsize”.
Dealing with Stuff
As a widow, you may wish to consider getting professional help in dealing with your stuff since you are carrying more responsibility than a couple or someone who has always been single. Your possessions now fall into three groups: “yours”, “your spouse’s” and “both of yours”. Working through yours alone can be challenging depending on how much you have. Working through the other two categories can be a significant and emotional task. This is where an independent person working under your control and schedule can make a real contribution to your new life.
What is the biggest issue you are facing, so far?
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