two seniors packing boxes to downsize to a retirement home

Downsizing Tips for Senior Living

Once you make the decision to move to a new address, you have to come face to face with a word that often intimidates seniors and their families: downsizing. Sorting through a household of possessions and lifetime memories can be both daunting and emotional for seniors and caregivers. But on the upside, moving to a smaller home or an independent or assisted living community after retirement can have its advantages. As you grow older, roomy is not always better. Less square footage in a residence may be more desirable – especially if you are beginning to have mobility issues – where smaller and fewer steps can make your life easier.

The upside of downsizing is that it can help create a simple, safe and stress-free environment for you. Downsizing doesn’t mean throwing away your cherished possessions. It’s simply trimming down the items you’ll no longer need. Beginning the process as soon as you seriously start to consider a move into senior living accommodations will make the project less challenging. You might want to talk to your favorite family members and friends to see if they have an interest in or a need for something you have. The thank-yous you’ll receive will make it well worth it.

How Do You Know What to Take From Your House?

If you’ve picked out your floor plan and know your square footage, you can make decisions about the furniture and how much will fit. Will you be able to keep your desk in the living room? Can you still have several side tables?

Also take into consideration things like your car. Will you want to keep it? That depends if your new senior living community has convenient transportation like Rose Estates. Your garage or workshop may be filled with tools, but here, the maintenance, both indoors and out, is done for you. Leave that lawn mower and snow shovel behind.

In addition, with our restaurant-style meals and menu choices, you won’t need many of your household cooking items. Review what you have multiples of and only keep your favorites. Do you really need 8 different spatulas? And unless you have guests over regularly, you most likely don’t need multiple sets of drinking glasses or silverware.

Create a Downsizing List.

Downsizing goes better with a little planning. Make a chart with a room-by-room inventory. Create columns labeled: Keep It, Toss It, Donate It, Gift It. You might want to get round stickers and color-code each item. Invite a friend or family member to stay with you during this process for moral support and for advice. There’s an old adage: If you haven’t used it or looked at it for a year, you probably don’t need it.

Review each item and ask these questions to guide your decision:

  • Do you absolutely want to keep it?
  • Would a family member or friend enjoy it?
  • Is the item in good enough shape to donate to charity? List out those items going to charity along with the condition, and keep it for your tax records.
  • Are you photographing treasured belongings? If you are going to give away something that was meaningful to you, take a photo and frame it. It will keep the memory close.

Consider Storage Units.

While your goal may be to downsize and remove items from your home, there may be prized possessions that your relatives would like to have but may not have room for right now. For example, the 100-year-old dining room set or your great-grandmother’s china set can be securely stored until a loved one is better equipped to house and use them.

Consider a storage unit for these household items:


Although you may not be able to keep everything in a new smaller residence, one way to hold onto sentimental items is to rent a small storage unit.

Oversized items.

Consider saving space in your new living area by storing large electronics, outdoor equipment and unused vehicles. Storage unit rentals are available on a monthly basis, so temporary storage is also an option.

Packing and transition. 

Working with professional moving companies can ease the packing and moving process tremendously. Hiring outside help to handle the heavy lifting can be a big relief. Storage unit facilities offer moving trucks to assist in transporting and relocating belongings. Many facilities may offer discounted prices for senior citizens, too.

Choose Items to Sell, Save and Give Away.

The day you decide to start picking and packing up items to sell, pass on to family members or donate may be filled with emotion. It also will probably take longer than a day. So just take on one room at a time. If you have second thoughts about giving away certain items, that’s to be expected. It’s okay to change your mind, but consider why this item was put on the list in the first place.

Streamlining and Decluttering Is Satisfying.

The more time you have to downsize, the less exhausting the process is and the better you’ll get at making decisions. Once it’s done, kick back and relax.

Rely on Rose Estates in Overland Park, Kansas for Downsizing Advice.

Let’s discuss your needs when you’re ready. We have the expertise in place to help streamline a move to our friendly community. Call for an appointment at 913-825-9600.