The Monarch Blog

Senior Living Downsizing Tips & Tricks

Roughly 25%—or one in four—people in the U.S. have a problem with clutter, which is a great cause of stress and anxiety for many. Downsizing, or paring down the number/size of possessions one has, may be the solution to this clutter problem.

Downsizing has many benefits, including:

  • Reducing the stress that comes from living in a cluttered environment,
  • Making the process of moving to a new location easier,
  • Generating revenue by selling unwanted items,
  • Spending less time and effort on upkeep with less stuff in a smaller place, and
  • Saving money on utilities, taxes, and mortgage payments if moving to a smaller space.

Older adults could especially benefit from downsizing, as it could make their current living space easier to navigate and maintain, reduce their upkeep costs and mortgage payments, or make the moving process into a new space that much easier.

Senior Downsizing Tips

Maybe you or your loved one's chosen floor plan at their new senior living community doesn't have much room for collectibles or furniture. Maybe you or your aging relative simply wants to declutter and make a little extra cash at a garage sale. Whatever the reason, downsizing for seniors can be a great move.

The following tips and tricks may be able to help make the process just a little smoother for everyone involved.

Hire Senior Move Managers®

The moving and downsizing process can be stressful. For starters, it can be emotionally difficult to say goodbye to items accumulated over the years. Further, older adults might have physical difficulties actually moving objects they want to part with.

That's where professionals may be able to help.

The National Association of Specialty & Senior Move Managers (also known as NASMM or National Association of Senior Move Managers) can help older adults organize, downsize, and relocate. In other words, this organization can pair older adults with compassionate, professional movers who can assist in organizing cramped spaces or help with packing/unpacking at a new residence, whether that be a modest new home or a suite at an assisted living community.

These professionals can also work together with senior care and move-in coordinators at you or your aging loved one's chosen retirement community to streamline the move-in process.

Shelves, Shelves, Shelves

Vertical space is king when you have limited space. Adding shelves on your wall (if allowed) can add ambience and storage to your living space. Building vertically also helps lengthen walls and elevate ceilings, making a small space have the appearance of being larger than it actually is.

Move to a Smaller Home

For homeowners who want to downsize but aren't ready to commit to a senior living community, moving into a smaller home, condo, or apartment may be the right move. Some of the many benefits that come with moving to a smaller place include:

  • Being forced to declutter before moving into the smaller space,
  • Making money from selling the larger (presumably more valuable) real estate,
  • Having smaller mortgage payments (for homeowners) or rental fees (for renters),
  • Less upkeep costs and maintenance work, and

Easier navigation for residents and caregivers.

Organize Yard Sales

Did you know that research suggests that clutter can negatively affect our ability to focus? That means a little spring (or summer or fall or winter) cleaning can go a long way towards helping anyone feel refreshed and focused.

Whether you or someone you love wants to move somewhere new or simply declutter the attic in your current home, a yard sale can be a great way to let go of unused items taking up valuable space in the home, all the while making a little extra money. A win-win situation!

Donate to Goodwill

Organizing garage sales can be exhausting and time-consuming. When your family wants to get rid of items at the last minute or avoid the hassle of organizing a garage sale, donating to organizations like Goodwill can help you all get rid of clutter quickly. You also get the added benefit of knowing that you're giving to a good cause!

Have Relatives Hold On to Certain Items

If you or someone you love is moving to a senior living community, you know that you will have to part with certain items due to limited space. However, some items can be cherished but only be brought out a few times a year, such as seasonal decorations or special silverware. In these cases, consider asking a relative to store a few of these items in a spare closet. That way, your suite has enough space for items you use on a regular basis while you can still access special seasonal items when the time is right to put them on display.

Pass Heirlooms on to Family Members

Do you or your aging relative have sentimental items or memorabilia that you don't want to say goodbye to forever but that you simply don't have room for? Consider fully passing them along to relatives. This way, you or your family member can create a legacy with cherished items while still reducing overall clutter.

Don't Neglect Important Documents

In the hassle of decluttering, it can be easy to throw something away that you didn't mean to. Make sure that this doesn't happen to you or your loved one by collecting and organizing important documents like Social Security cards, birth certificates, tax returns, and more. Store them somewhere where you know they won't be touched, such as purchasing a personal safe or renting a safe deposit box.

Choose Multifunctional Furniture

In the hassle of decluttering, it can be easy to throw something away that you didn't mean to. Make sure that this doesn't happen to you or your loved one by collecting and organizing important documents like Social Security cards, birth certificates, tax returns, and more. Store them somewhere where you know they won't be touched, such as purchasing a personal safe or renting a safe deposit box.

Hassle-Free Moving with Monarch Communities®

If you or your loved one is planning a move to one of our senior living communities, we encourage you to read up on our Senior Moving Resources to help you learn more.

We also encourage your family to meet with us ahead of time, so that you can get a better idea of what your future suite will look like. This way, you can better visualize what furniture and other items will work best in your new space. You can also meet with our team members, who will help you every step of the way to make downsizing and moving as seamless and painless as possible.

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