Top 11 Tips for Stress-Free Downsizing

senior man packing up his belongings into a box

Making the decision to move to a senior living community can be a huge relief! Now is the time to simplify your life and begin enjoying new opportunities that await you.

But first you have to tackle downsizing. Do not fret! Let our team of experts at Rolling Green Village share with you their tried-and-true Top 11 Tips for Stress-Free Downsizing.

1. Make a Checklist.

Even if you’re not a list maker, moving specialists will tell you that making a checklist is the smartest first step you can take. It will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed, and it will give you a sense of accomplishment as you check off each item.

List each room in your current home and then make a “GIFT” list (for each room) of all significant items.

G – Give to children, friends, favorite neighbors, trusted organizations, or to your church/synagogue.

I –  Inspect for general condition, and then donate to local consignment stores or charities like Habitat for Humanity. If items are not in good condition, throw them away or recycle them if possible.

F – Fill trash bags and recycling bins one room at a time.

T – Take with you! Mark each item with bright sticky notes for future packing.

Remember to be generous. Since you can’t take everything to your new home, now is the perfect time to “gift” some of your treasures to special people in your life.  

2. Enlist Help Along the Way.

Some seniors have moved dozens of times in their life. Others have lived in their primary home for decades. No matter what your situation is, asking for help is one of the smartest steps you can take.

Seek out able-bodied, energetic family or friends. Tackle one single job on one single day. Begin by focusing on typical problem areas such as the attic, basement, garage, closets, or file cabinets.

Make it fun and easy. Buy lunch, and provide plenty of beverages. Asking for help with one specific and manageable task will ensure that friends and family will be likely to help again.

Examples of specific and manageable tasks might include:

         — Boxing up all sports equipment for donating

         — Sorting all gardening tools and lawn care items to take or donate

         — Assessing one closet at a time. Remember: give, donate, trash or pack

3. Go Room by Room

Tackling one room at a time not only helps you feel a sense of accomplishment each time one is all the way boxed up, it also helps you keep track of where everything is. If you start with the room used least in your house, or one that you won’t have once you move, you’ll get the hang of getting things out of your hair easily and early!

4. Know When To Hire a Moving Company.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan, prepare, pack and move. Moving experts often advise that seniors should plan on spending two days packing for every room of your home.

Sometimes, while going through the downsizing process, enlisting help from friends and family is not an option. If packing is not a task you can handle alone, contact moving companies in your local area who specialize in helping seniors plan, pack and unpack for a move to a senior living community.

Expect attention to detail and knowledge of local retirement communities as some of the benefits of working with a reputable local moving company.

Check out the following moving companies located in and around Greenville, South Carolina. Each of these focus on moving seniors. 

Golden Years Moving offers complete and flexible assistance for seniors moving to independent living and assisted living.  

Caring Transitions not only offers packing services but also relocation and moving assistance. 

5. Books, Books, and More Books.

If you own large quantities of books, you’ll want to spend time downsizing your collections. We know that books are often sentimental items for many. At the same time, books occupy lots of space and are heavy to move. 

Consider donations to public libraries, school libraries, secondhand bookstores, or even selling them to local book dealers if they’re older books with potential value. Donations will often come with tax deductions, or you can see if your new senior living community has room on their library shelves to revisit your favorites whenever you want.

6. Use It Up … Don’t Move It Out.

Professional movers will tell you that the last room people finish packing is almost always the kitchen!

Plan ahead and take an inventory of your canned goods, frozen foods, and paper products. Plan to use as many of these products as you can before moving. If you simply have too many of these items, think about passing them on to a local food pantry. If you have plenty of pots, pans, plates and glasses, you might consider donating or selling some of them. Many moving companies can assist with estate sales should you be interested.

And, while you’re in the kitchen, take a moment to learn more about our unbeatable dining options at Rolling Green Village!

7. File Your Change of Address.

Create a list of people, places, and utilities/services that need to be notified of your upcoming change in address. Don’t forget to contact the U.S. Postal Service to formally file your change of address.  

8. Space Plan Ahead.

Our moving coordinator will provide you with a customized floor plan of your new residence. A floor plan will help you determine the pieces of furniture that will fit in your new home and the best location for each. Knowing which pieces will fit in your new space will help you in your rightsizing process.

Remember, moving companies that specialize in moving seniors should also have copies of these floor plans and may even have software programs that can allow them to draw up plans for where your furnishings might go, well in advance of your moving day!

9. Pack a Moving-Day Survival Bag.

Put together a survival bag for moving day. It might include personal needs (medications, eyeglasses, toiletries, change of clothes, important papers, etc); kitchen needs (snacks, drinks, disposable cups, plates); basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, flashlight, tape, etc.); cleaning supplies (sponge, roll of paper towels, soap, etc.); and payment for your mover – be sure you know which forms of payment they accept.

10. Ask for Help!

Yes, we already mentioned this earlier regarding planning your move. But, moving day can seem overwhelming and filled with too many “to dos.” Don’t be too proud or independent-minded to ask for help specifically for your moving day.

Your movers will certainly take care of the heavy lifting and unpacking. 

You may want a friend nearby to enjoy lunch with in your new community. Or you may want to ask a friend or family member to supervise the unpacking in your new residence so you can just relax and get familiar with your new surroundings. Whatever you need to make the day as stress-free as possible – do it!

11. Now What? 

At Rolling Green Village, our moving coordinator will be on hand to assist with questions, immediate needs, or just a warm smile. We’ve welcomed hundreds and hundreds of seniors to our community, so we know how to make your day a bit easier and a lot more special than you might expect.

Don’t demand too much of yourself on moving day. We’ll work with your movers to ensure that all is well and that nothing has been forgotten. And if you need a lightbulb or an extension cord, well … we’re right here to help!

The perfect place to retire in Greenville, SC.

At Rolling Green Village, we take the maintenance and worry out of everyday life so you can enjoy living on your own terms. Discover a variety of apartment homes, satisfying dining options, convenient services and amenities, and endless local attractions. Call us today at 864-987-9800 to plan your visit to our Life Plan Community.