Blog Hero

Is Your Parent Moving to a Senior Living Community? 5 Downsizing Tips

Schedule a Visit
A senior living couple standing with their arms around each other and the man is holding out apartment keys towards the camera

Moving to a senior living community from a traditional home can be reminiscent of moving out of a parent’s house and into a first apartment. When your loved one is starting this new chapter of their life, it may bring a lot of emotions. For many people, the challenge of downsizing their lives to move to a new environment sounds overwhelming. 

Our belongings have meaning, value, and sentiment. It’s natural to accumulate trinkets over the years, and for many, it is difficult to detach themselves from their belongings. In reality, the process of downsizing may not be as daunting as you imagine – the hardest part is getting started. 

Use these 5 tips to downsize your loved one’s space and prepare them to move into a new senior living community:

Make a Plan

The best way to tackle a task is head-on. Start by establishing problem areas in your loved one’s house that may require more time to sort through. For instance, organizing and decluttering their attic may take longer than decluttering their living room.

You may already know what kind of living space your loved one will be moving into in their new community. No matter their next step, it will most likely be a smaller space than they are used to. 

Understand the dimensions and layout of your loved one’s new environment. Have a conversation to determine the things they can part ways with off the bat. For example, their current furniture may be incompatible with the floor space of their apartment, or their apartment may be furnished already. 

If you need to sell your loved one’s furniture to help prepare for their move, you will know ahead of time and can plan accordingly. Clearing out furniture can help empty your loved one’s home gradually, making their downsize slightly less overwhelming. The fewer things you have to sort through, the less daunting the move may feel. 

Schedule time to sort through your loved one’s belongings based on the amount of things you need to organize. It’s best to tackle large spaces first, followed by bedrooms and kitchens. 

Your loved one will likely be using their bedroom and kitchen frequently up until their move. If their attic contains lots of storage items, you might give yourself a month to get through that entire portion of the house. Break this down further and dedicate around 3 hours of your day to sorting through the items in the attic. 

If you finish ahead of your one-month schedule, great! If you need more time, regroup, and ask for friends and family to lend a hand. It’s okay to be behind schedule. Creating a plan just helps to stay focused.  

Label to Stay Organized

The reality is, that not all of your loved one’s belongings are going with them. The sooner they come to terms with this, the easier it’ll be. One of the best ways to sort through belongings is by creating piles: keep, toss, and sell/donate. No maybes (or keep them to a minimum)! 

Stay on top of these piles by creating labels for these allotted boxes. To prevent clutter, frequent your donation drop-offs instead of letting the boxes accumulate over time. Making one giant donation trip may sound good in theory, but if the items continue to linger, your loved one may second-guess their initial decision. Remind them, if they’re unsure about an item at first glance, it can be a sign that it’s time to let it go. Encourage your loved one to only bring items that hold value and that they are certain of. They can always gift belongings to friends and family. The goal is to simplify their lifestyle!

A senior couple packing boxes with kitchen items in them

Downsize Gradually 

When helping a loved one declutter, it’s best to schedule your time wisely. This is why creating a plan comes in handy. The longer you give yourself to carefully sort belongings, the less overwhelmed you and your loved one will feel in the long run. 

When you take your time, you reduce the risk of overworking yourself. Take breaks when needed. Make sure you and your loved one are in a healthy, clear mindset while going through their belongings. The process of downsizing and shifting your home can bring about a lot of emotions. Approach this downsize gradually so as not to overstimulate yourselves.

Digitize Memorabilia

Digitize what you can! This includes letters, photos, artwork, etc. Perhaps your loved one would like to keep physical copies of their favorite and most memorable sentiments. For instance, they’ll likely want to keep a physical copy of a letter from their mother or photos with their parents, but don’t mind digitizing some of the lovely art their children and grandchildren have made. Helping your loved one digitize their memorabilia means they can look back on these moments fondly without having to take up too much physical space.

Ask for Help 

We want to keep stress to a minimum while going through the transition of downsizing. Asking for help from family and friends can help tremendously. Not only are you given an extra set of hands, but you also receive emotional support. 

Having a sense of community brings comfort. Your loved one can use this as an opportunity to gift some of their belongings to friends and family and be comfortable knowing that their things have a new home where they are valued and cared for. 

Don’t Dread Their Downsize

We hope these tips have made the idea of downsizing slightly less dreary. While change can be overwhelming, we can’t escape it. Help your loved one make the most out of a fresh new start! Remember to make a plan, label, downsize gradually, and ask for help when needed. 

If your loved one is moving into Bethany Village, contact us to learn how we support residents during their downsizing journey. We’re here if you have any questions, and we are more than happy to help you through this process.

Written by Bethany Village

More Articles By Bethany Village
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax