Declutter & Downsize

The Benefits of Downsizing and Decluttering

Moving from a family home to a senior living community is a big change that can be both exciting and daunting. Decluttering is an important step in the process and can make the move smoother as well as help to make the most of your new living arrangements. 

What Is Decluttering?

People often choose to declutter a closet, room, or sometimes even an entire house of things we no longer use or need. The process of decluttering starts by identifying what areas of your home contain things you have never used or have not used in years and probably never will. This may be going through a junk drawer, surveying the front closet or tackling the attic. 

A tip when decluttering is to separate all of the items into specific piles — a giveaway pile, a sell pile, a donate pile, a trash pile. This helps you visually see the progress you are making and gives you the reassurance that you are in control and determine what to keep and what to say goodbye to.

What Is Downsizing? 

Downsizing goes hand-in-hand with decluttering. Typically, when you downsize and move to a smaller home or apartment, you start by decluttering your home. This helps make the move easier because you’ve already eliminated items you no longer need or use. 

Downsizing also ties directly with decluttering because you must survey how large your new space is in order to gauge what you can and cannot bring. Whether it’s determining if your bookshelf will fit in your new home, or assessing everything you have in the attic to determine what you need and don’t need, decluttering is a necessary component to complete before moving to help keep the stress of moving to a minimum. 

Whether you have questions about downsizing and decluttering or want to learn more, join us on Thursday, April 13th, from 10 to 11:30 am for Dr. Nikki Buckelew, Ph.D., discussion on The Truth About Letting Go of Stuff: Downsize or Declutter?

The Benefits of Downsizing

Downsizing provides numerous benefits for those who are moving into a senior living condo, apartment or community. These benefits include:

  • Senior living communities offer numerous opportunities for social interaction and engagement, allowing you to make new friends and develop meaningful relationships
  • Senior living communities are designed with safety and security in mind, providing a secure environment for residents
  • Downsizing to a smaller living space can significantly reduce monthly expenses, allowing you to enjoy a simpler and more affordable lifestyle
  • Senior retirement communities offer access to a wide range of on-site amenities, including fitness centers, swimming pools, libraries and more

Tips for Downsizing

Downsizing can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some practical tips for decluttering and downsizing:

  • Downsizing takes time, so start early and work through your possessions methodically
  • Decluttering can be emotional, so it’s helpful to enlist supportive friends and family members to help you through the process
  • Make a list of essential items that you will need in your new home and keep sentimental items that are most important to you
  • Decide what items you no longer need and determine whether to donate, sell or discard them
  • Consider hiring a professional organizer or moving company to help make the process smoother and more manageable

Preparing for the Move

Preparing for the move is an important step in downsizing. Here are some things to consider:

  • Consider the layout of the new apartment to determine what furniture to bring 
  • Measure your furniture to determine what will fit in your new home
  • Plan for storage and organization in your new home to make the most of the space
  • Make sure you review the policies and requirements of your new senior living community
  • Research professional move managers that will assist in the majority of the moving responsibilities and help reduce your time spent and stress

Emotional Considerations

Downsizing can be an emotional process, and it’s important to take time to reflect on your memories and emotions. Here are some tips for coping with the emotional aspect of downsizing:

  • Take time to reflect on your memories and the items that are most important to you
  • Acknowledge and talk with family members or friends about feelings of loss or grief that may arise during the downsizing process
  • Senior living community team members and mental health professionals can provide support and resources for dealing with emotional challenges

Downsizing FAQs

How do I decide what to keep and what to let go of?

Deciding what to keep and what to let go of can be a daunting task, but there are several strategies that can make the process easier. Start by creating a list of your most important possessions, and then prioritize them based on their sentimental value, usefulness and practicality. Consider donating items that are in good condition but no longer serve a purpose for you and sell or discard items that are worn out or broken. It can also be helpful to enlist the help of family and friends to offer guidance and support during this process.

Can I bring my pets to the senior living community?

Many senior living communities, such as Concordia, allow pets, but policies may vary by location and type of pet. Before making a decision about which community to choose, research their pet policies and ask specific questions about any fees, restrictions or requirements related to pet ownership. Some communities may require a pet deposit or have weight restrictions, while others may limit the number of pets per apartment.

How do I handle the logistics of selling or donating items?

Selling or donating items can be time-consuming and overwhelming, but there are several options to make the process smoother. Consider hiring a professional estate sale company or auctioneer to handle the sale of valuable items, or work with a consignment shop or online marketplace to sell items individually. For donations, research local charities and non-profit organizations that accept household items and schedule a pick-up or drop-off time. Some communities may also offer resources or recommendations for selling or donating items.

Downsizing can be a difficult process, but it is an important step for those who are considering moving into a senior living community. By downsizing, you can simplify your life, reduce your expenses and enhance your social connections. It is important to take the time to carefully plan your move and seek out support when needed.

General Information, Retirement & Planning