Downsizing: How To Make A Move To A Retirement Community As Easy As Possible

A man getting ready to retire in Ventura County
Photo via Pixabay by RitaE

Downsizing your current home so that you can make a move to a retirement facility isn’t an easy task; there’s so much to think about, from how to pare down your belongings to how to figure out your finances, that it can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. The best way to prevent becoming too stressed during this time is to create a plan and stick to it. Do some research and be prepared for any contingency so you aren’t faced with any surprises down the road.

Having support from your friends and family is important now, so ask for help when you need it. Let them know what they can do to help, and designate jobs so you won’t have too many people in the way. For instance, you might ask a responsible family member to handle the moving day preparations, or have your grandkids be in charge of an easy game, like gathering packing materials. This way, you’ll know that everything is taken care of and there won’t be any added stress.

Here are some of the best ways to get started.

Begin with one room

Take the downsizing process one room at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Start in the bedroom or office and go through cabinets, closets, and drawers to take a look at what you have; put clothing you can’t or don’t wear anymore into one pile to donate. Any items you haven’t used or even thought about for six months or more can probably be donated or sold, so put these in a separate pile. Don’t be too hasty; as long as you have a little time before the move, you don’t have to make big decisions right now if you’re not ready. Anything that you’re unsure about, put to the side for a little while. If you still haven’t used it or needed it a week or two later, it’s probably safe to get rid of it.

Have a “packing room”

Once you get one room pretty well cleaned out, designated it as a packing room. This is a place where you can keep all of your packing materials, extra boxes, and cleaning supplies so you won’t lose anything or have to keep tracking it down through the house. Once a box is taped up, bring it into this room to keep walkways clear in the rest of your home. This can prevent falls or other accidents.

Don’t pressure yourself

The point of downsizing is to ensure that you’ll be able to move into a retirement community with as little fuss as possible, but if there are some sentimental things you’re not ready to let go of yet, don’t stress. If possible, see if there are ways you can hold onto those items in a different way, such as condensing all your photographs onto a single digital picture frame.

For more tips on how to downsize, read this helpful guide.

Visit your new space

If possible, visit your new home a few times before you move in to get a feel for the space. This will help you decide what to pack and what to get rid of, as well as help you visualize where to put your furniture for maximum use of the area. Take some photos so you won’t forget, and measure windows and walls to ensure you can fit your curtains and couch.

Remember that this can be a very emotionally trying time. If you feel you need to talk to someone, consider finding a support group in your area, or reach out to a friend or family member to talk to. Making a move to a retirement community can be a great thing if you approach it the right way.

Author: Michael Longsdon (

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