Tips for Downsizing to a Senior Community


downsizing before moving

Before downsizing into a senior housing community, you’ll probably want (and in many cases, need) to divest yourself of many of the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years.

Indeed, at first blush, this can seem like a scary, overwhelming process. But don’t fret – you can do it! Especially if you follow some of these tips.

First, rest assured in knowing that, if you’re selling your house before moving into senior housing, then weaning your possessions will help expedite the sale. Buyers want to picture themselves living in your place, and it’s difficult for them to do that if it’s crowded with all your stuff.

As every real estate agent will tell you, decluttering is the first step in successfully showing a home. Now, as for how to do it.

Downsizing Tips for Seniors

Enlist outside help

Experts say a typical house usually takes at least four weeks of concentrated effort to declutter.

To avoid having that process delayed by the emotions that the process may arouse, bypass going to friends and relatives for help – and consider hiring a professional organizer. This person will be objective and help you work through your understandable emotions. 

Ask loved ones what they want to keep

Do you have grown children? If so, you may be tempted to hang on to nostalgic possessions. But it’s better to ask your kids directly what they’d like to keep. 

Take photos of cherished items you can’t keep

Just because you won’t have a physical item anymore doesn’t mean you can’t keep the memory. Some professional organizers recommend taking photographs of entire rooms to create compact memories before you move into your new senior housing. 

Store keepsakes and valuables safely

For the smaller items that must be kept (passports, diplomas, photo albums, etc.) encase them in clear plastic sheet protectors and place them in a three-ring binder. Or consider buying a special storage item like a PortaVault, which is designed for this very purpose. 

Give your discards a new home

Whenever possible, donate serviceable usable things – books, clothing, shoes, cookware, sporting equipment, etc. – to charitable organizations.

They’d love to take that stuff off your hands and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that, before moving into your new senior housing, you’ll be helping out those less fortunate than you.

If and when the time comes for you or your loved one(s) to make the move to a senior housing community, Lourdes Noreen McKeen of West Palm Beach, FL offers resources – including access to Certified Senior Move Managers – that help you with the downsizing process.

Senior Living

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