Downsizing Your Home for Retirement: 10 Moving Tips for Seniors
You’ve done your research, visited several senior living communities, and found the perfect place for the next chapter of your life. But if there’s one thing that’s holding you back, it’s probably sorting through a house full of belongings. If the thought of downsizing your home for retirement seems daunting, follow these 10 moving tips for seniors. They can help turn an arduous task into a manageable process. The secret is to take one step at a time, and don’t rush into anything until you’re ready.
1. Make a plan — If you have a moving date in mind, you can plan workdays to get the job done without exhausting yourself. Define goals for each workday on your calendar and write down who will need to be involved to accomplish those goals. Involve friends and relatives early so they can be ready to help when those days arrive.
2. Start early — Give yourself plenty of time to approach the process methodically. Start months ahead of moving day, and sort one room at a time. The key to downsizing is not finishing the process; it’s starting it.
3. Keep sorting sessions short — About two hours is ideal. Start with the simplest room first. If you start with the most complicated area, you may get discouraged and quit. Starting with one area of your home, even if it’s just one closet or one dresser, helps build your confidence.
4. Use the new space as a guide — When deciding what to take with you, it’s essential to know the measurements of your new living space. Taped off floor space in your current home may help you visualize where each item will fit in your new home.
5. Focus on the most-used items — Don’t go by the newest and the best; go by what you regularly use. If you’re not sure, set the items aside, preferably out of sight, and see how you get along without them. You might be surprised how little you notice they’re gone.
6. Identify why it’s important to you — Be able to articulate each item’s purpose. Is it necessary? Does it have sentimental value? Is it of significant financial value? Would a family member or friend appreciate it or use it?
7. Sort your belongings — Moving to a smaller space means you can’t take everything with you. To help you decide what to take with you, sort your things into four basic categories: Keep, Store, Sell/Give, and Trash. Toss anything that’s chipped, broken or stained. Check with local donation centers to see which items they’ll accept; many donation centers offer free pickup, which can be a real time-saver.
8. Digitize photos and important documents — Consider hiring a company to digitize photos, memorabilia, and collections that you won’t have space for in your new home. Pick a favorite piece from your collection to highlight in your new home and digitize the rest. (You may want to create a special book to house your collection of photos.) Important documents can also be digitized at a reasonable price. You can also have copies made to give to family members.
9. Think twice before selling items on your own — Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and other online options can be time-consuming. Even a garage sale can take more time and effort than it’s worth, and you may be left with boxes of stuff no one wants to buy. If you’re selling something of high value, or just want to know what it’s worth, consider getting it appraised by an auction house. Who knows, you might be sitting on a treasure.
10. Feeling overwhelmed? Call in the professionals — If you’re struggling, find yourself short on time, or simply prefer to have a professional help you decide what to do with your possessions, senior move managers are available to help. Services range from downsizing and space planning to packing and unpacking.
Make your next move your best move.
Moving to an RCM community can be one of the best moves you’ll ever make.
Instead of having to deal with homeownership responsibilities, you’ll be free to pursue your interests, meet new friends, and be part of a thriving community. To find an RCM community near you, visit the Our Communities page.
Whichever RCM community you decide is right for you, rest assured we’ll do everything in our power to make your move as stress-free as possible. We’ve helped thousands of older adults make the transition from home to senior living, and we can help make your move easier, too. To learn more, get in touch.