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Independent Living

Moving to Senior Living: The Ultimate Downsizing Checklist for Seniors

Moving from your home to a senior living community is a big decision. Often, just thinking about the logistics of the move can be enough to keep you from getting started. Downsizing, in particular, can be a difficult task, as most of us have filled our homes with our favorite furniture, belongings, keepsakes, and mementos. Sorting through the sheer volume of your belongings can stir up a sense of being overwhelmed, especially if you find that your new residence will be smaller. How can you ensure this new space accommodates your life?

But downsizing for retirement or ahead of a move to a new community doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. The process of letting go can help you make room for the things that truly spark joy, and the move to a senior living community can fill your life with a renewed sense of passionate purpose.

To help you understand the downsizing benefits for seniors and provide practical ways to minimize the stress of moving, we’ve put together a guide for the process – including a simple checklist to get you started.

The Benefits of Downsizing for Seniors

You’ll Be More Organized

Simply put, moving to a smaller home forces you to eliminate clutter and get organized. Seniors who remain in large homes often use only a few rooms, typically the bedroom, kitchen, and living room, leaving the rest to gather clutter. Downsizing also helps you realize which things are truly important and which things you’ve kept around only because you had space for them.

You’ll Reduce Your Stress

Paring possessions like unneeded furniture, unused exercise machines, and outdated electronics means fewer things to worry about. Clutter makes comfortable living difficult because things are always in the way, making it hard to walk around and find what you need. Simplifying your life through downsizing and organization frees you from worry and makes your life more manageable.

Your Children Will Thank You

When you downsize your possessions, you relieve your children of the difficult burden of sorting through belongings later on. Plus, it can be quite enjoyable to give cherished items to your family and friends now, when you can see the joy that your loved ones receive from these gifts.

stacked moving boxes

Senior Downsizing Checklist

Here are a few tips for downsizing for seniors to get you started on your path toward a simpler, fulfilling life.

1. Have a plan

The first step in our checklist for downsizing is to develop a plan. Doing so will help reduce your emotional attachment to your possessions, get them organized, and focus your thinking on the future.

Take your time. Going through a lifetime of memories can’t be done in a weekend – or even a week. Spend time reliving the memories and experiences each item brings to mind. You’ll enjoy remembering a significant event or person in your life, and doing so will bring a sense of satisfaction and closure as you realize it’s the memory, not the item, that is valuable.

Here are some ideas to consider when deciding what to let go of and what to keep:

Get rid of clutter

Go through your house one room at a time and pick out things you’re not using or aren’t emotionally attached to. This will get you in the proper mindset to let things go and set you up for success when you start going through more sentimental items.

Give it away

Donating items to family members or a nonprofit organization is a great alternative to throwing them away. Most of us have things we don’t use or need anymore, but that still have value and may prove useful to someone else. Plus, giving important keepsakes and furniture to close friends and family allows you to see how happy those mementos make them. For a less special item, consider taking a picture of it, writing a brief history of the item, and sharing it with family members. Then donate it to charity or sell it at a consignment shop or garage sale, knowing you’ve preserved the memory.

Take pictures

Take pictures of things in various rooms of your home so you can recreate your surroundings in your new space. Plus, it’ll help you keep track of important documents and treasured items. Be sure to include details such as furniture arrangements and where family photos were hung on your walls.

2. Consider your new space

If possible, print out a floor plan of your new living arrangements and start planning where your items will go in your new home. Be sure to think about:

The Size Of Your New Senior Living Space

Moving from a four-bedroom home to a two-bedroom home will require a good amount of downsizing. Try to focus on the most important parts of how you live. Do you need a desk for writing or computer work? Will you really need a sleeper sofa? The reality is, as you lived in your home, you developed a lifestyle and habits that you enjoy and work for you. So make room for those things in your new home and leave the rest behind. When you’re finally settled, you’ll appreciate the familiarity of having things arranged similarly to your previous home.

Make An Inventory

Think about what your new senior living community offers in terms of amenities. Is there a workout facility? Are there restaurant-style dining options? If so, let someone else get some use out of your exercise bike and give some of your cookware to family members.

Don’t Forget About Amenities

Think about what your new community offers in terms of amenities. Is there a workout facility? Are there restaurant-style dining options? If so, let someone else get some use out of your exercise bike and give some of your cookware to family members.

3. Contact a storage facility

After you’ve gone through your belongings and donated, sold, or given away everything you’d like to part with, you may still be left with more than your new residence can fit. That’s where a storage facility, as mentioned above, may be just what you’re looking for. But how do you decide what stays with you and what goes to storage? Here are two categories to consider:


As we age, our memories become more and more important. A small storage unit provides a safe place to store sentimental items that won’t fit in your new living space.

Larger Items

Large electronics, valuable furniture, and outdoor equipment are logical items to keep in a storage facility. Most units can be rented monthly, making temporary storage an option. Many also offer discounted prices for senior citizens.

senior couple standing in a living room packing to downsize

Understanding how to downsize when moving can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With appropriate planning, organization, and help from friends and family, you can navigate a hassle-free transition to senior living with ease. We hope this checklist for downsizing to a senior living community has been a helpful tool as you think about your future.

Find Your Perfect Fit for Senior Living at Claridge Court

If you’re considering a senior living community, see everything Claridge Court, a premier senior living community in Prairie Village, Kansas, has to offer by filling out the brief contact form below or clicking here. Our move-in coordinators would be happy to discuss your plans and offer suggestions on local resources. We look forward to assisting you in this exciting transition!

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