Downsizing For Seniors

Downsizing your furniture

Start by measuring your furniture to see if and how it will fit in your new suite, or if you’ll need to discard any furniture you currently own. It’s better to do this before the move, rather than after moving a large wardrobe into your new suite to find it doesn’t fit.

We also recommend you should avoid buying new items until you get a sense of your new suite.

Select your favourite items that will fit your new space

Start with a floor plan for better space planning, start early, and do not hesitate to involve friends and family in the process.

Focus on the new life you’re beginning and think about the furniture you would like to take with you at your new residence.

If you’re downsizing, chances are you may not have a garage, or guest room to furnish. Most of your belongings in those rooms can be sold, donated or given away.

If you’re accustomed to generously proportioned furniture to fit an entire house, and your new space isn’t quite so large, you might find yourself more comfortable scaling down to your most compact armchairs and tables.

Even if your furniture won’t all fit, you can always decorate a smaller space with a few of your favourite pillows, throw blankets, lamps and paintings or photographs.

Scaling down your wardrobe

Start by gathering your clothes and footwear from every closet and drawer and put it in one room. You’ll quickly become aware that you have too much stuff.

Getting dressed is a pleasure when you love everything in your wardrobe

Ask yourself, “does this bring joy?”. If you answer “yes,” you should keep it, if not it may be time for you to discard it. The point of this exercise is to come up with a wardrobe where everything serves a purpose. Try to position your decisions as a yes or no to eliminate maybes. If decisiveness isn’t your strength, ask family members to help.

Sorting a lifetime of books

If you’re moving into Camellia Residences or another retirement community, you’ll have daily meals prepared by a professional chef. Before you give away cookbooks to a family member, take digital photos of prized recipes you can make in the multipurpose room.

Create a perfect library from your favourite books

When downsizing your library make sure to set a reasonable boundary. Setting a limit – perhaps determined by the space you can realistically devote to storing books – helps you decide which books actually add value to your life. The point of the downsizing process is to figure out what you hold most important and to get rid of unwanted items.

Review every book to see if it makes you feel excited to take it into your new home, or guilty for letting it collect dust. If you haven’t read a book yet, then the purpose of the book was to teach you that you did not need it.

Letting go of sentimental items

Downsizing for seniors is difficult and parting with items carrying sentimental value is the most challenging and time consuming. If you are a family member helping assist with downsizing, do not underestimate the emotional connection someone can have with items you may not see as important.

What to do about mementoes that have an emotional attachment

Before you start on sentimental mementoes, make sure to sort mundane items like clothing and books before you unbox letters, photographs and keepsakes. You’re likely holding onto gifts even though they don’t enrich your life. Be thankful for the happiness it brought when it was first offered and let it go guilt-free.

Go through every photo and decide which ones bring joy to you. Throw out any duplicates or images of people you can’t name.
If two photos are similar, pick the one you like the best and toss the other. Organize miscellaneous photos by year, by event, or both.

Take time to read old correspondence that brings you joy. If the letters reveal interesting family history, consider giving them away or inviting relatives to look at them to pass these stories down. If you unearth a dusty box of old birthday cards and reviewing them feels like a chore instead of a pleasure, feel free to recycle.

Maybe you’re not ready to part with  treasured items from your high school crush or your first stuffed toy.
Put them all in a box, label it “Mementoes” and let family members know when they can toss this box containing nothing of monetary value after you’re gone.

Unwanted goods

Luckily there are a lot of directions you can go in regarding getting rid of unwanted goods. Below are some great suggestions on how to save space and earn some cash from items.

Get rid of unwanted clothing, books and more​

If you’ve got lots of energy and you’d like to cash in on downsizing items of value, you might enjoy organizing a yard sale, or listing items for sale on an online classified service. If you have numerous valuable or in-demand items, consider hiring a downsizing specialist to run an estate sale on your behalf. They also might be willing to share some personal downsizing tips.

Consider donating to a consignment shop if you have high-quality jewelry, accessories, clothing or antiques but not enough to warrant estate sales.

Donate to those in need as many charities will send a truck to your house if you call to schedule a pickup of unwanted clothes or household goods.

Perhaps you don’t want to donate something you no longer want. Consider offering your possessions to family members and friends, especially if the item will make them happy.

Avoid bringing items to storage facilities, as the items will only gather dust.