Ultimate Guide To Seniors Downsizing

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Downsizing, or helping an aging parent do so, can be a challenging task. Deciding what to keep, donate, sell or throw out can be overwhelming, especially if your loved ones have lived in the same house for a long time. 

However, downsizing can become necessary after moving into a smaller space like a retirement residence. All of the items that can fit inside a house won’t be able to work within a one or two-bedroom suite, and an overly-cluttered space isn’t comfortable for anyone! 

We’ve gathered some helpful advice for seniors looking to downsize their space to make the sorting, packing, and moving process easier.

You can use the following tips to make things easier for your parents or grandparents when they decide to downsize and move away from their current property.

1. Build a support system.

Helping your loved ones downsize can be challenging, so it’s best to build a robust support system, as this type of move can be an emotional and labour-intensive process. 

Whether you get involved, ask friends and family for help, or hire a senior moving service, many options are available. 

Not only will asking for help make the moving process much easier, but it also provides another opportunity for you and your loved ones to sort through old family heirlooms, photos, and memories together!

2. Plan your next steps.

Requesting a floor plan of your new accommodations ahead of moving day can be extremely helpful. An up-to-date floor plan will give your loved ones a better idea of the available space and what items will fit inside.

To make the sorting process easier, label your loved one’s “must-have” items clearly. Try to choose three to four essentials per room in the new space, including pieces of furniture or artwork, and then begin sorting through other items they can do without.

3. Get rid of the excess.

When it comes time to get rid of things, purging the trash and least used items should be an easy place to start. Purging means tossing any junk, giving away unworn clothes, or getting rid of items your loved ones no longer need or use regularly.

You can get rid of excess items by donating them or handing them off to friends, or you can host a yard sale if there are items that have resale value.

4. Hold onto favourite items.

It’s important to remember that everything your loved ones “keep” needs to have a place of its own in their new space, so use the “keep” label sparingly. Your loved ones shouldn’t hold onto things because they think they have to; they should only keep items that evoke an emotional response.

If your parents or grandparents have some treasured family heirlooms that won’t fit into their new home, consider purchasing a storage locker or letting them pass the items on to family members with more storage space.

5. Digitize their memorabilia.

While many of us love holding onto multiple photo albums, boxes of letters, postcards, and other memorabilia, these items can take up a lot of storage space. Consider digitizing these items and creating scrapbooks that can be stored online.

Enlist the help of family or a computer expert if you’re not tech-savvy. After everything has been digitized, you and your loved ones can enjoy flipping through old memories without taking up valuable shelf space!

6. Keep important files organized.

During the moving process, keep track of important files and papers, including tax forms, personal identification documents, medical records, and other similar files.

Place these items in a secure folder or lightweight filing box, and keep them in a safe location to avoid losing anything important during the move.

7. Take the new space into consideration.

As mentioned above, it’s important for seniors downsizing to know exactly how much space they’ll have in their new home.

By obtaining a floor plan, you can help your loved ones create a layout so they know where all furniture should be placed once inside. Utilizing a floor plan will also help you decide how many furniture items will be needed.

8. Consider hiring professionals for the move.

While having family and friends to provide downsizing assistance for seniors is always a plus, you may consider enlisting the help of professionals for certain aspects.

For instance, professional movers will ensure that sensitive or large items are moved without damage. Also, consider hiring a professional to hang pictures and artwork to ensure decor is installed safely and drywall remains undamaged.

9. Take time to reflect on the memories.

Moving is a big life adjustment, but for seniors downsizing to a new location, it may be the first time they’ve moved in many years.

Therefore, take the time to reflect on the moment and allow yourself the pleasure of leisurely going through the things your parents or grandparents have collected over the years.

Going from a well-loved house to a new, unfamiliar space is an emotional experience, and giving your loved ones the time to process those emotions can make the transition easier for everyone involved.

10. Starting a new chapter.

Once you’ve successfully implemented our downsizing tips for seniors, pat yourself on the back and get excited about your loved one’s new chapter!


Here to help you.

At Seasons, residents bring their own furniture and home décor. Familiar items will help make your new space feel like home. 

We also have several connections within local communities to help you or your loved one transition to their new retirement residence, including moving services, downsizing professionals, and even real estate agents specializing in senior clients.

For more information, we encourage you to speak with the Seasons Leasing Manager at your desired location or complete our contact form to arrange a virtual or in-person visit.

Discover Life at Seasons. Book a Personal Visit Today.