Downsizing your possessions: What should you keep in a senior move?

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | Jun 01, 2011

If you are contemplating a senior move, you have probably thought about downsizing your possessions. Perhaps you are either retired, or doing some retirement planning and have come to the conclusion that your present home is just too big to manage. Maybe you are simply thinking of moving on to your next exciting phase of life. Whatever senior move you are thinking about, it may feel very daunting. After all, there are probably years and years of treasured possessions—not to mention some accumulated junk that would likely never be missed—to deal with.

How to Organize a Senior Move


It’s a good idea to sit down and organize your move on paper long before you actually pack a box. Create categories on paper, making headings for items to keep, sentimental items you want to give to loved ones, articles you can sell at a garage or tag sale, items to give away, and finally, the dreaded trash pile. Mentally think about what is presently in each room of your home, walking around and making notes as necessary.

Now that you have a sort of plan in your mind for your senior move, it’s time to actually get started. Make sure you have lots of sturdy boxes on hand, strapping tape and a permanent marker before you get started. It seems to be easier if you start with the rooms you use the least (usually attics and basements) because the things in them could be easier to make tough decisions about. Once you make a decision about which pile the item goes into, no going back! Make your decision and stick to it, or you will spend way too much time agonizing over each decision.

While you may want to consider having a garage sale to generate money from unwanted or unused items, think carefully about whether or not you want to go through all the work it takes to organize a sale. Perhaps a neighbor would let you put your items in their garage sale for a percentage of the profits, saving you the work of setting up an entire sale. There may be consignment shops in your city which will even come and pick up items you want to sell. Anything which doesn’t sell at your senior moving sale can be taken to a local thrift store or donated to a church.

Senior Moving and Accumulated Possessions


Many of your belongings may be sentimental or family heirlooms, so when your senior move comes along you will want to take special care with these items. Rather than waiting until you die to will certain items to loved family members, you may discover that it is very satisfying to go ahead and distribute some of the items, giving you the pleasure of actually seeing them enjoy your treasures.  Going through photographs and personal items will likely be the very hardest part of a senior move and of downsizing your belongings. Women especially tend to keep “memories” in the form of cards, letters and photographs, so it can be quite emotional to get rid of any of these items.

Considering Your Furniture in a Senior Move


If you have a floor plan of your new senior home, which is likely smaller than your present home, you can measure your furniture and see what will work in your new home. You can then either give the leftover furniture pieces to family members, put them in your sale, or donate them to charity. Getting rid of furniture can be very emotional for many people. There are always years of memories attached to our furniture. As such, it can be hard to let go of a particular piece even when you know logically that it’s just too big or bulky for your new home.

As Senior Moving Day Approaches


As your senior moving day approaches you may find you are having very mixed feelings about getting rid of possessions you may have had for decades. Try to focus on the positive aspects of moving to a new, smaller home which will be easier for you to maintain. Have some help on the other end to assist you in getting boxes unpacked and items put in their place. Seeing your new home spic and span, with all your treasured items put away, can make your senior move much easier.

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