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How To Downsize

A common step before moving into your ideal senior living community is to go through the process of downsizing. That process can feel a bit daunting, so we’ve created a helpful checklist to make things a little easier. And if you’re at home more often these days, it’s a good time to get a head start on the process – and be that much more prepared when you can move in.

Get into the Right Mindset

It can be hard to let go of things, especially if they’ve been in your home a long time. As you go through everything, ask these questions to make letting go a little easier:

  • Is there room for it in the new residence?
  • Has this been used in the last year?
  • Will it be used in the new residence?
  • Is it worn out or broken and needs replacing?
  • Is it purely sentimental?

How to Start Sorting

It’s easier to sort things if you know what you’re going to do with each item. These five action categories will help you determine where things should go:

Keep – These are the must-have items that are meaningful and will make your new home feel comfortable and familiar.

Share – Giving household or treasured items to friends and relatives lets things stay in the family.

Donate – Let gently used clothing, household items and furniture serve others in need.

Recycle – Reduce waste by recycling as much as possible.

Trash – Whatever’s left can be thrown away. You may need to make special arrangements for large or bulky items.

Downsizing Room by Room

Make sure you have boxes, trash bags, labels or sticky notes, and markers. Then, as you go through each room, sort and label items as Keep, Share, Donate, Recycle or Trash.

Bedrooms – Furniture, décor, lamps, clocks/radio, books, linens/curtains, clothes, area rugs, plants, misc.

Living Room – Furniture, décor, lamps, clocks, television, books, music, movies, linens/curtains, area rugs, plants, misc.

Bathrooms – Toiletries, medications, small appliances, linens/curtains, area rugs, décor, misc.

Dining Room – Furniture, décor, lamps, linens/curtains, dishes/serveware, area rugs, plants, misc.

Den/Office – Furniture, computer, décor, lamps, linens/curtains, area rugs, plants, books, papers, memorabilia, misc.

Kitchen – Pots/pans, dishes/serveware, glassware, storage containers, utensils, linens, small appliances, décor, area rugs, cookbooks/recipes, plants, nonperishable food, perishable food

Hall Closets – Linens, cleaning supplies, household supplies, misc.

Hallways – Artwork/photos, area rugs, lamps, furniture, misc.

Basement – Furniture, décor, washer & dryer, laundry supplies, seasonal items, seasonal clothing, memorabilia, misc. stored items, hazardous waste, small appliances

Garage – Car, tools, yard equipment, auto supplies, refrigerator/freezer, seasonal items, hazardous waste, cleaning supplies, misc. storage, trash/recycling receptacles, misc.

Yard/Shed – Patio furniture, grill, gardening supplies, yard décor, tools, yard equipment, auto supplies, seasonal items, hazardous waste, trash/recycling receptacles, misc. items.

If you have questions about what you’ll want to bring with you, contact the senior living community you’re moving to and they will be able to provide some guidance.

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