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Downsizing Checklist for Seniors: Preparing for Your Move

Are you thinking about downsizing your home and moving into a smaller home or a retirement community? If the kids have moved out and you have more home than you can feasibly maintain, choosing a smaller place that requires less upkeep and maintenance makes sense.

This handy checklist of tips will help you downsize all the belongings you’ve collected over the years.

  1. 1. Start downsizing three to four months before your move

Getting rid of possessions is mentally and physically easier if you start small and take your time. You can start with a space that’s easy to manage, like your kitchen or that closet you haven’t opened in ten years.

When looking through your belongings, ask yourself when you last used the item and what’s the likelihood of ever using it again. A good rule of thumb is that if it isn’t a holiday decoration and you haven’t used it in the last year, it’s time to get rid of it.

  1. 2. How many rooms your new home will have vs. how many you have now

If you’re currently living in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home and your new home will have two bedrooms and one bathroom, you are losing a minimum of two rooms.

Get rid of furniture and belongings that won’t fit in your new home. This could mean giving away or selling all the furniture in your extra bedroom. If you still want the smaller items in the room, determine where they’ll go in your new home.

  1. 3. Toss or sell duplicate items

There’s a good chance that you’ve acquired two or three of the same item over the years. If you have two or three crockpots and two roasting pans, consider getting rid of all but one.

In addition, anything that is excessively worn or broken should be thrown in the trash. Only keep the items that are in the best condition.

  1. 4. Reduce, sell or give away collections

If you have sentimental collections, like a batch of awesome grandma coffee mugs or t-shirts from all your vacations, consider downsizing them.

Keep the items that are in the best condition and mean the most to you. This could be the first coffee mug or t-shirt you ever bought and the last two or three you received. Throw away, sell or give away the rest, especially if all they’re doing is taking up space on a shelf or in a closet.

  1. 5. Give the childhood memories to the adult child

If you have old schoolwork, report cards, stuffed toys or other items from when your children were growing up, consider giving them those items. They’d probably love to have those souvenirs back.

  1. 6. Keep your sorting organized and automatic

When going through a room, you need one trash bag or trash can and three boxes. The trash bag or can is for items that need to be thrown out. One box is for the items you plan to keep. The second box is for items you plan to donate and the third box is for items you can sell in a garage sale.

Once you’re done, you can take the trash out, drive the donation box to the donation center and put the other two boxes in your garage. Just remember to keep your garage sale items and to-be-moved items in separate piles or separate corners of the garage and label them clearly.

  1. 7. Host a garage sale 30 to 45 days before your move

You want to host your garage sale a month to a month and a half before your move date. This way, if all the items do not sell, you can host another the following week.

For any items that absolutely will not sell, consider donating them, or giving them to a family member or friend.

  1. 8. Rent a storage unit for items you are having difficulty sorting

If you’re stuck on what you want to do with some items and know they won’t fit in your new home, consider renting a small storage unit. Putting some items in a storage unit near your new home will give you more time to decide on what you want to do with them.

Once you have the unit, use the one-year rule. If you haven’t opened that unit in a year, get rid of all the items by either selling, donating or trashing them.

By getting rid of unneeded and no longer used or wanted stuff before your move, you will make moving, unpacking and organizing easier once you get to your new home. The time and cost for your move will also be reduced because you won’t be moving as many items.

As one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest nonprofit providers of residential living for seniors, Springpoint knows what it means to live well. You’ll feel that difference in each of our vibrant senior care and Life Plan Communities in New Jersey and Delaware. Come discover the right lifestyle for you!