A Senior’s Complete Guide to Effective Downsizing

Untitled design (68)

Downsizing is an essential phase of life that many people encounter as they approach their golden years. It represents a transition that may seem daunting, but with correct planning and execution, it can be an enriching process.

This guide is designed to assist seniors in simplifying their lives, managing their belongings efficiently, and finding comfort in smaller, more manageable living spaces. Building your trust in senior movers, we shall also focus on how they can be pivotal in making this transition goal-oriented, smooth-flowing, and stress-free. Embrace your new chapter in life with confidence with a simplified and personalized guide for your needs.

Advice on Downsizing for the Elderly

Many contemplate downsizing or transitioning to a less spacious area as we age. Approximately 51% of those aged 50 or older move into a more compact home following retirement. However, 64% of the elderly population state their intention to remain in their current residence. Whether moving or staying put, housing is a fundamental matter to consider as we age.

Downsizing and decluttering can make life simpler and safer, regardless of relocation plans. However, it can be stressful and emotionally challenging, particularly for those who have lived in one place for many years. Regardless of your downsizing plans, use this guide to help facilitate a smoother transition, offering advice on the preparation process, a decluttering checklist, and tips for maintaining emotional stability during what can often be a testing and poignant time.

The Advantages of Downsizing?

  • Reduced outlay. Many retired people live on a fixed income, yet unexpected expenses such as healthcare, domestic repairs, and vacations can arise. A decrease in monthly outgoings achieved by moving to a smaller, more cost-effective space can reduce mortgage repayments, home insurance, and property taxes. It can also result in reduced utility and repair costs.
  • A simpler way of life. Owning less means there is less to take care of. Maintaining a large house and garden can be difficult as one gets older.
  • Practical reasons. Multi-storied homes, outdated facilities, and long driveways become increasingly hazardous as we age. Transitioning to a single-story, easily navigable living space can aid aging.
  • Proximity to family. Some consider relocating later in life to be near their children, grandchildren, and other relatives for assistance.
  • Health requirements. Older people with chronic illnesses or requiring constant medical care may need to relocate to be closer to their healthcare provider or adult day care. Alternatively, they may need a property that can accommodate specific medical equipment.
  • Improved climate. Research shows that 25% of the elderly population plans to transition to a warmer climate. Remember to pack your sunscreen!

Key Questions: Is It Time to Downsize? 

Deciding when and where to move can be a complicated process for older adults, but there are some fundamental questions to ask:

  • Are there rooms in your house that are unused?
  • Can you continue to afford to live in your current property for another five, ten, or twenty years?
  • Is your garden manageable?
  • Do you feel isolated?
  • Surrounded by too many possessions?
  • Do you own significant equity in your home?

If findings suggest a surplus of space or clutter, a lack of social interaction, or the cost of living needs to be lowered, downsizing might be appropriate.

Downsizing Preparation

Gradually decreasing your possessions over time is always an option and can help prevent feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. However, some advance decisions are necessary to downsize for an expected move efficiently.

  • Commence planning early. Allotting adequate time to create a systematic plan is crucial. Many start thinking about possible relocation a year in advance. Having ample time to adapt can make adjustments easier and minimize rushed decisions or last-minute sorting, lessening stress.
  • Choose your new home. Your downsizing strategy significantly depends on your new home's location, scale, and layout. For instance, apartments and care homes usually have less space than residential houses.
  • Establish objectives and a timeframe. Consider when you wish or need to relocate. Long-distance relocations sometimes require transportation to be organized several weeks before the moving date. Work backward from your moving date, incorporating time for downsizing, packing, and family time if you plan to hand down possessions.

Checklist for Downsizing and Decluttering Home

Maintain this checklist as a reference throughout your downsizing journey.

  • Begin three months in advance. Packing always takes longer than anticipated, and removal companies often need several weeks' notice, especially for out-of-state moves.
  • Gift early. This is an optimal time to designate special items for family and friends. Aim to do so before your moving date.
  • Create a floor plan. Familiarize yourself with your new residence's layout and space. This will assist in determining which items can be accommodated.
  • Tackle rooms individually. Focus on one room at a time. If your new home has no corresponding room, leave it till the end and merely transport essentials.
  • Start with the basics. Initially, concentrate on the essential household items. Save sentimental items (artwork, trinkets, photographs) for later once a systematic process for sorting through household necessities has been established.
  • Identify problem areas. Although smaller items should be sorted first, approach one challenging area early, like the garage, attic, or an overstuffed closet. Solicit help for this task, especially if the areas contain sentimental treasures or heavy items that may require assistance.
  • Categorize items into keep, discard, or donate piles – resist the temptation of a ‘maybe' pile! Professional organizers refer to this as ‘processing.' Create and label containers for each category in each room. Although having a ‘maybe' pile can seem tempting, keep it to a minimum to stay focused and avoid decision-making paralysis.
  • Avoid multiples. Apart from clothing, aim to keep only one of each item. For items like clothes, set a limit on the number to retain.
  • Establish a labeling system. Once packing begins, label each box with its contents and corresponding room. After all boxes for a room are packed, number each box out of the total number of boxes for that room. This aids in identifying any missing items. Complete numbering last to avoid having to re-number if contents change. For example: “Kitchen – Daily plates and bowls. Box 1 of 10.”
  • Digitize! Personal keepsakes such as photographs, letters, and grandchildren's artworks consume much storage space. Consider photographing or employing a service to digitalize these items, preserving them on a compact device that can be accessed anytime.
  • Prepare an “essentials” bag. Some necessities like several changes of clothing, toiletries, medication, vital documents, rudimentary kitchen supplies, custodial products, and payment for movers should be packed separately for easy access on the day of your move.

Maintaining a Positive Outlook While Downsizing

Dedicate time to your prized possessions. While decluttering, ensure you take enough time to appreciate the memories associated with your belongings.

  • Experience a trial stay. If considering moving to an assisted living facility or senior citizen community, many allow potential residents to experience a short stay. Familiarity with the home's amenities and common areas can accelerate the adjustment period.
  • Focus on the benefits, not the losses. Change can be challenging. Endeavor to envision the improvements this change can offer your life, such as the additional time available to engage with loved ones instead of maintaining a larger home.
  • Seek assistance. Despite potentially hiring professional movers, numerous complex details are involved in downsizing. Consider seeking help with contract reviewing, rate negotiation, site assessments, or vetting storage facilities. Collaboratively sorting through your belongings can result in additional sentimental moments and even laughter.
  • Confirm future social plans. If you're relocating, establish some firm dates to meet with friends. Familiar faces and staying active can expedite the adjustment period.
  • Join groups or clubs immediately. Engagement in a social group with shared interests can alleviate loneliness or anxiety. Once a contract has been signed, proactively enroll in activities to anticipate.


Choosing to downsize can be a considerable decision and potentially an emotional undertaking. However, it is also an opportunity for simplification, cost reduction, and an avenue to a safe and accessible home. Engaging professionals in the moving and storage industry, such as Big Mike's Moving Companies Queens, can make a big difference in this major life transition. These professionals can alleviate much of the physical burden and provide much-needed advice.

As we age, packing up a life's worth of belongings can be daunting. That's why we recommend leaning on the expertise of a reputable moving company. If you're considering downsizing and need professional advice or assistance with moving and storage, look for a dependable, compassionate service like Big Mike's Moving Companies Queens

A trustworthy relocation specialist will respect your belongings and memories, ensuring your treasures are moved carefully. Trust Big Mike's Moving Companies Queens to provide a seamless, stress-free moving experience during this important transition. Make your transition smooth, enjoyable, and worry-free with Big Mike's Moving Companies Queens. Contact us today for a free quotation.

Got something you want to ask?

There are no stupid questions when it comes to moving! We’re here to help you throughout the moving experience, so feel free to chat to us if you’d like to know more about your move.