6 Tips for Downsizing – or Rightsizing – Your Home

Downsizing to senior living can be one of the best moves for seniors who want a more fulfilling lifestyle without the responsibilities of homeownership. After decades in a family home, however, preparing for a move can be overwhelming. If a move to senior living is in the cards, consider these downsizing tips that will help make it simpler, faster and easier.

6 tips for downsizing your home

Tip #1 – Create a calendar of events

One of the top downsizing tips is to create a calendar with dates and goals so there is a visual game plan to follow. With the move-in day as the end date, establish a start date and describe each step from decluttering to sorting to moving. Don’t forget to include hiring a mover, arranging for help from family, getting packing materials and other aspects so nothing is left to chance. To create a calendar that can be shared with family and other helpers, try Google calendar, which will keep everyone on the right track.

Tip #2 – Don’t go it alone

Downsizing, or “rightsizing” as we call it at Thrive Senior Living, is often an overwhelming prospect for seniors. So another one of the effective downsizing tips is to ask for help. Children and grandchildren are often willing to take a shift or two and can be very helpful when it comes to the heavy lifting that is inevitable. As volunteers sign on, add them to the calendar so everyone knows when they are pitching in so no wires get crossed. If there are not enough volunteers available, consider hiring a professional downsizing company like those described in the smartasset.com article, “Senior Downsizing Services: Retirement Guide,” that can assist with everything from sorting to selling to moving.

Tip #3 – Use the new floor plan

Once a new senior living home is chosen, it’s wise to sort through large objects like furniture to determine if they are needed and will fit the new spaces. To accomplish this, another of the best downsizing tips is to use a software program like those compared in the moving.com article “6 Best Free Room Design & Floorplan Software.” These free programs are 3D or better and allow users to create a new floorplan, layout and arrange furniture and even customize lighting and decorate so it’s easy to see what will fit best and how you can achieve the new home of your dreams.

Download our guide,

Successful Transitions to Senior Living.”

Tip #4 – Separate everything into piles

As the downsizing progresses it’s time to sort out what will make the move and what will be thrown away, sold, gifted, or donated to a charity. To keep everything straight, one of the easiest downsizing tips to embrace is to establish areas for each. For example, move items to be sold to the garage for easy pickup or a garage sale. Ask family and friends if they want any of the items that won’t be moving or staying with the home, tag them with that person’s name and a removal date, and set them apart from the rest. The same goes for donated items to be picked up by charities. For more ideas checkout the realtor.com article, “How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind: Moving Tips for Buyers and Renters.”

Tip #5 – Consider giving family heirlooms now

One of the most enjoyable of the downsizing tips is to give heirlooms to beloved family and friends now, rather than in a will. Perhaps a grandchild has always loved a stained-glass lamp or a necklace, or maybe there are rules to abide by such as passing great-grandma’s wedding ring on to the first born of the next generation. Also consider sharing family photo collections so everyone has some to keep and pass along themselves. The best part is that giving while alive allows the giver to enjoy how much the recipient appreciates and treasures the gift and to share the backstory for posterity. Learn more about how to do it right in the lifestyle.howsuffworks.com article, “5 Things to Do Before Passing Down an Heirloom.”

Tip #6 – Keep personal items close

As moving day nears, another of the key downsizing tips is to create a special bag of personal items such as a change of clothes, medications, health aides like CPAP machines, and anything else that may be needed before unpacking is complete. In addition, valuables like jewelry, art and collections should not be placed on the moving truck but should be stored in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend or relative so they don’t get lost or damaged in the move. Find out more in the rd.com article, “12 Things That Should Never Be Put on a Moving Truck.”

To learn more, download our guide, “Successful Transitions to Senior Living,” then contact a community near you to schedule a tour.

download your successful transitions guide