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What to Bring When Moving to a Senior Living Community: A Packing Checklist

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Downsizing is growing in popularity as many older adults seek to simplify their home life and enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle in their retirement years. But for older adults moving from their longtime home to a smaller, easier-to-manage space, the downsizing process can be a challenge. With a lifetime of accumulated “stuff” to sort through, it’s not always easy to choose what to keep and what to leave behind.

If you’re wondering what to consider as you transition to living in a senior living community, use our helpful packing checklist to make the move a little easier:

What to pack when moving to a senior living community:


Most senior living spaces aren’t fully furnished. This allows seniors to personalize their new home to make it more familiar. Depending on the size and layout of your new home, furniture to bring might include:

  • Small sofa, loveseat, or armchairs
  • End tables
  • Nightstand
  • Coffee table
  • Dresser
  • Small kitchen table and chairs
  • Bed


Your wardrobe can be one of the most difficult areas to downsize. Consider how much storage space you’ll have in your new home as you decide what clothing and jewelry to keep, donate, or give away. Be sure to pack:

  • Pajamas
  • Casual clothing
  • Exercise clothing
  • Robe
  • Sweaters
  • Jackets and coats
  • Bathing suit
  • A few formal outfits to wear at community social events and outings
  • Shoes and non-skid slippers

Home décor

Recreating the look and feel of your previous home can help ease the transition to your new living space in a retirement community. Incorporate your favorite décor and household items to express your style and make your new environment feel more comfortable. Some ideas to decorate your space include:

  • Throw pillows
  • Artwork or framed photos
  • Blankets
  • Flower vases
  • Lamps
  • Potted plants

Meaningful belongings

Make your new residence feel welcoming by bringing your favorite belongings and keepsakes. Things like photo albums and scrapbooks, movies or books, and small collectibles will give your space a home-like feel without taking up too much room. In some senior living communities, residents are even allowed to bring a small dog or cat to live with them – just be sure to check with the facility in advance to confirm their pet policy.

Downsizing can be a complicated and emotional process. It’s natural to feel anxious or uncertain about moving, no matter your age. Remember, relocating to a senior living community is a new beginning to an exciting chapter of life with opportunities to make new friends and enjoy doing what you love most.

Once you’ve settled in your new home, take some time to get to know your neighbors by taking part in social events and gatherings. You can even invite friends, family, or your new neighbors over for a housewarming party. Before you know it, your community will feel like home!

Written by Bethany Village

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