Downsizing for Seniors: How to Downsize for Retirement

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 One size doesn’t fit all.

So today we’re discussing how to downsize from your family home to your retirement home. So let’s get into downsizing. First, let’s start with there’s many reasons for people to downsize.


One, is to simplify for some that’s an attempt to purge and simplify their life.

Number two, cost cutting. Often times this is used to cut unnecessary expenses, like maintenance and higher utilities.

And number three, sometimes this could be because of death and divorce.

Number four, sometimes it’s from relocation, especially when you’re moving from a lesser expensive area to a more expensive area.

Number five, empty nesters. For empty nesters downsizing gives them the ability to maybe travel, see the world and, oh yeah, make sure that their kids can never move back.

And number six, aging. And for aging, sometimes this is just a natural part of the circle of life. Mom and dad may not be able to care for the home like they used to.

So while on the surface you may just think that downsizing is downsizing.

There are some differences. Today I’d like to focus on number six, the aging.

During my career, I’ve worked with many families where mom and dad have actually lived in the home 40 to 50 years and I’ve assisted them in transitioning to their retirement home.

Whether that be independent living or assisted living. I’ve seen some families who’ve been proactive and have planned for this time so that it’s a natural turning of the page.

And unfortunately, I’ve seen the complete opposite, where there’s a crisis situation and mom and dad are more or less being forced to make this move.

To me, it’s amazing how the same process could be so radically different. In most of these cases, there’s a whole lifetime of knick-knacks, family, treasures and possessions, excess furniture that simply can’t make it to the next place.

So where do you start? Step one, before going crazy, just throwing things out. I suggest defining what your objective is in a new home. Start with the basics. Location, price, amenities, bedrooms and baths.

Downsizing for Seniors: How to Downsize for Retirement (8 STEPS)

Step two, do your research and define places of interest.

Step three, narrow down and commit to that one place. Whether this is a home you’ll be renting or purchasing, it makes sense to find your home first.

Now the reason I suggest finding your home first is at least, you know, where are you gonna go and what space you have to operate with.

This will assist in making good decisions about what stays and what goes.

And let’s face it. It will also motivate you and your family to start moving forward.

Step four, tag what you’re going to take and move it into your new home and leave the rest behind.

Step five, contact family members, friends, neighbors, people you know who may be interested in some of the things you have.

I usually suggest that you start with kids first, then move out to cousins, uncles, neighbors, and so on.

If you end up creating some mad free for all where the first person comes, gets everything.

No doubt you’re gonna end up with some frustrations and hurt feelings.

Number six, consider having an estate sale or potentially donating to places like the Wider Circle, Salvation Army or Purple Heart.

Step seven, consider hiring a hauling service to get rid of the rest.

Today’s hauling services, they don’t just throw everything into a landfill.

They use great effort to ensure that recyclables are recycled and donatables are donated.

And step eight, work with your realtor and his or her network of vendors and home stagers to get your home ready for sale.

Read More: MN Downsizing Homes | Tips for Downsizing Minnesota


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