Making the Move: 8 Tips for Downsizing


There comes a time when the house you’ve enjoyed over the years is too much. If you have rooms you rarely use, and you’re tired of lawn care, it might be time to downsize. Do you prefer to live in a one-level space and avoid stairs? Do you want to be closer to conveniences like restaurants or health care services? Some empty nesters move to smaller houses or condos to cut costs and simplify their lives. Others move to a senior living community for the amenities, social outlets, and access to care services.

8 Tips for Downsizing

You’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided it’s time to downsize. If you’re moving to a senior community, preparing for your move begins with planning. Having an organized move means not bringing more than your new apartment will hold. If the smaller home is clogged with oversize furniture and too many knick-knacks, it will be cluttered and hard to organize. Here are tips on downsizing for a move.

Visit Your New Space

Visit your new home a few times before you move to get acclimated to your new space. Get a floor plan and measure your furniture to see if it will fit. The oversized sofa that worked so well in a suburban family room might overwhelm your new space. If so, sell or donate it and buy pieces that work in the new living room.


Allow three months to go through each room and get rid of things you won’t have space for in your new home. Give away furniture, art or decorative objects to friends and family. Some choices will be easy. If the new apartment doesn’t have a formal dining room or an office, give those furnishings away. In a smaller space, there won’t be room for duplicates, so you’ll only need one spatula or coffee maker.

Use the 3-Box System

Make three boxes to use when sorting through your belongings. Label them:

  • Keep
  • Toss
  • Give away

Be decisive. The only things in the “keep” category are items you need that will function in your new place. Give away clothes that don’t fit, old DVDs, and random coffee mugs.

Label Everything

It will be easier to unpack if every box is in the right room. Write the contents and room on each box, for example, “Dishes – plates and saucers, Kitchen.” Then movers will know where to put each box and you’ll be able to find things.

Rehome Your Pets

If your new community doesn’t accept pets, find family members to adopt them. If possible, choose someone who lives nearby so you can visit your furry friend.

Make Digital Copies of All Documents

Instead of bringing boxes full of memorabilia, like photos and children’s art, have a company scan it into digital files. Also, digitize important papers like legal documents so you can access them easily. 

Pack an Overnight Bag

Pack an overnight bag with essentials for the day of the move. Include necessities like a change of clothes, pajamas, toiletries, and medication. That way you won’t have to hunt through boxes the first day.

Make Plans for Your New Life

Planning to leave your home and going through your treasures can bring mixed emotions. Take time to anticipate the benefits of your new lifestyle. Many senior communities offer restaurant-quality meals, transportation services, and social and entertainment activities. You’ll be free of home maintenance and cleaning chores. If you or your spouse needs help with daily activities, there are caregivers nearby.

Tips for Downsizing

The decision to downsize brings a need to edit your belongings. Sorting through a lifetime of possessions may seem overwhelming. But if you give yourself enough time and use a good system, you can do it. The payoff is starting out in an organized clutter-free new home. What a great way to begin a new chapter of your life.


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