Downsizing for Seniors: How to Get Started

Moving to a new home is a challenge at any age. Not only does it require a lot of work, it can also surface up difficult emotions as you reminisce about the memories you’ve made over the years. For many people, that’s enough to justify prolonging the decision to move. However, those of us who do finally commit to downsizing to a smaller, more manageable home often wish they had done it sooner. Afterall, a smaller home means less housework and maintenance and more time to spend with friends and family. In this post we’ll share several senior downsizing tips that can help you declutter and make a smoother transition.

3 Downsizing Tips for Seniors

1. Consider a Senior Move Manager. Senior Move Managers often have backgrounds in gerontology, social work, healthcare, nursing and psychology. They also have a strong commitment to performing meaningful work by helping older adults through the senior downsizing process. Some of the things a Senior Move Manager can help with include the following:

  • Developing an overall moving plan
  • Organizing, sorting and downsizing
  • Customizing floor plans
  • Arranging for the profitable disposal of unwanted items through auction, estate sale, buy-out, consignment, donation, or a combination of the above
  • Interviewing, scheduling and overseeing movers
  • Arranging shipments and storage
  • Supervising and overseeing of professional packing
  • Unpacking and setting up the new home
  • Related services, such as cleaning, waste removal, shopping, senior escort, assisting with selection of a realtor and helping prepare the home to be sold

2. Work with a Senior Real Estate Specialist. This type of realtor is specially trained in working with seniors who wish to downsize. Because they have experience with helping older adults, they’ll be able to guide you through some of the more technical aspects of selling a house. For example:

  • Determining the value of your home
  • Planning the timing of your sale for best results
  • Legalities and paperwork required for home sale and inspection
  • Recommending home improvements before listing
  • Assisting with home staging to increase interest from potential buyers  

3. Go at your own pace. Perhaps the most important tip we can offer when downsizing your home is to give yourself plenty of time to go through the process at your own pace. This is why it’s important to begin downsizing before a change in your health or another emergency forces you to make the move sooner than you expected.

Don’t make the mistake of attempting to sort through decades of memories in a single weekend, or even a single month. Instead, focus on one set of items at a time, and allow yourself time to thoughtfully evaluate what to do with them before moving onto the next.  

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