Moving to a Smaller Home: Downsizing Tips for Seniors

happy senior couple using laptop sitting on floor

You have been working hard all your life, building a secure future and achieving your present lifestyle. Letting go of it would test your mental strength and require proper planning.

Many of you might be living in the house of your dreams, but it might be a tedious task on days to clean the unused bedrooms or the large drawing area or even climb up the stairs.

In a recent article, Business Insider featured Deborah Frieden and her husband who had been living in a three-bedroom single-family house for the last 36 years. But now in their early 70s, they feel they won’t be able to garden or climb several sets of stairs every day.

In such scenarios, you know it is time to move to a smaller home or a mobile home community. But how do you do that? Read on as we cover all aspects related to downsizing for seniors in Florida.

Adult daughter visits senior father in assisted living home. Portrait of a daughter holding her elderly father, sitting on a bed by a window in her father's room.Why Downsize and Move to a Smaller Home?

For seniors who stay by themselves, downsizing their home is a fitting option. Some of the common reasons to downsize are:

  • Financial situations

According to a Bankrate survey, 56% of American workers feel they are lagging in terms of retirement savings. If you’re looking to boost your savings post-retirement, downsizing your home could be a smart move. This decision could lead to lower insurance premiums, reduced mortgages, decreased property taxes, and potentially lower rental costs.

  • Ease of accessibility

Your present house might feel too big now that your kids have gone out for higher education or jobs and stay elsewhere. It might be a good idea to move to a smaller home where the ease of moving around is better.

In such a case, a single-stored house can be preferable when compared to a duplex. For seniors with mobility issues, it can be a more pressing situation to move from a larger home to a smaller place with better accessibility.

  • Simplify lifestyle

You must have accumulated belongings over the years, which you can decide to keep or give away, reducing the clutter in your life. It can help you to reduce the stress.

  • Access to better amenities and communities

You can opt for better amenities than you already have and, hence, move to a smaller home within a community with better amenities and more people of your age to interact with.

  • Lower maintenance hassle

Downsizing to a smaller home would also mean that you lower maintenance requirements and hence enjoy more freedom.

  • Prioritizing safety and health

A larger home can be hazardous for seniors living alone and those with mobility issues due to age. You might decide to downsize your home to reduce such safety and health hazards associated with larger houses.

young asian door to door saleswoman selling product or service to a senior coupleAdvantages of Downsizing Homes for Retirees

If you view it this way, downsizing is more about right-sizing. Here are the various benefits it brings:

  • Reduced cost of living

Now that you are about to retire, you can choose to reduce your cost of living to balance your reduced fixed income. Downsizing your home can help you with it.

  • Getting rid of the extra square footage

You can get rid of the extra square footage in your home that is practically unused by moving to smaller homes where you can utilize the whole area.

  • Financial freedom

According to a professional organizer, storing items in your home can cost around $15 per square foot per year on average. This cost includes factors like the space these items take up, any fees for storage you might incur, and the costs of cleaning out or organizing your belongings. Downsizing can help you achieve financial freedom post-retirement.

  • Improving accessibility and safety

Downsizing would ensure that you move to the right-sized home where there is no restriction to your accessibility and there are no safety or health hazards associated with it compared to larger multi-storied homes.

  • Helps to reduce clutter

Getting rid of unnecessary items and keeping only the things you need will help you reduce clutter in your downsized home to promote a more organized place and more control over your surroundings.

Overjoyed exited middle aged married couple giving high five, finishing doing domestic paperwork together at home. Euphoric happy older mature spouses celebrating successful investment or purchase.Downsizing Tips for Seniors 

If you are planning to downsize your home in Florida, here are easy-to-follow downsizing tips that will help you prepare better:

1.    Take your time

Downsizing might sound simple, but it will take a long time to sort things out. Have ample time in hand before you make your move. Start packing and sorting through your belongings well in advance.

Understand that your lifetime’s possessions need to be sorted into priorities that might not just be a time-consuming procedure but will also be emotionally challenging for you. Do not rely on the last minute to complete your packing.

2.    Make a plan

Plan your timelines well in advance to ensure you have your downsized home in time to move your possessions without rushing through it. You need to get used to the idea of moving to a new place, and you get time to seep in all the information and the change.

According to Senior Services of America, start by creating a detailed list of all your belongings. This will help you determine what you’re willing to part with and prioritize what you want to keep, making the downsizing process much smoother.

Here are some key details to keep in mind before you start packing boxes:

  • Get familiar with the floor plans of your new place.
  • Take measurements to ensure your furniture fits through doorways and elevators.
  • Check for any specific community policies that might affect your move-in process.

Once you have these logistics sorted out, consider the following questions:

  • Who will be helping you with the move?
  • What items are you planning to move with you?
  • When is your move-in date?
  • Where is your new home located, and what are the best directions to get there?
  • Do you have a pet? Is your new home a pet-friendly mobile home park?

Having answers to these questions will help you plan and execute your downsizing and move more efficiently.

Senior asian mother and middle aged son sitting relax in living room on moving day, Happiness Asian family concepts

3.    Take pictures of the current setup

You can take pictures of the current setup. If not all, your favorite spots at least. It will help you recreate them in your newly downsized home.

4.    Organize your belongings

Organize your belongings concerning their priorities, emotional and sentimental values, utility, and any other reason you may be involved. Box them up and label them accordingly. You can get rid of the items that do not have any value to you, that you do not plan to use, or that you decide to discard. It would help you declutter your newly downsized house, considering there would be comparatively less space there.

5.    Have the floor plan handy

Having the floor plan handy while downsizing will help you decide on the position of your larger items so that you do not have to move them multiple times after settling in. Based on your floor plan, you will be able to take a call on which larger items are essential and which ones you can get rid of.

6.    Begin with smaller items

Smaller items are likely to take more time to pack, so start with them first. If you start with smaller items, you will have ample time to decide if you wish to discard any of them or want to carry them with you to your downsized home.

7.    Utilize the ‘one-year’ rule

You can utilize the one-year rule if you have not used an item in the past year, you are likely not to use it ever. It will be safe to say that you can discard it and not hoard it in your new downsized home.

8.    Label your boxes

When you pack your items, label the boxes correctly. Make sure you keep the boxes for each room or each purpose separate. It will ensure that you do not have to work through all the boxes to find a specific item, instead, you know just where to find them.

9.    Digitizing photos and letters

Digitizing memories can be a good idea to save some space in your downsized house. It saves them forever and ensures that they do not get damaged at any point.

10. Keep documents and essential items handy

Keep a separate bag for essential items such as sleepwear, medication, toiletries, kitchen, cleaning, and meal supplies. It will ensure that you do not struggle to find them as soon as you move into your new home, giving you time to relax and unpack your belongings.

While all this might sound overwhelming, it is easier to accomplish when you have a checklist by your side. You can download a comprehensive downsizing checklist from The Zebra.

International group of positive men and women sitting around table drinking tea with cake and having conversation, smiling and laughing, having home party or enjoying time at nursing homeDownsize Your Home Now!

It might be a challenging task to downsize your home and leave the place that you have called home.

However, if you can think it through, decide well in advance, and give yourself enough time to pack, look back to the memories you have cherished, unpack, and resettle in your new home, it can be a more comfortable and liberating experience in the long run.

You can find a senior community and mobile park that is more aligned with your updated lifestyle with Bedrock Communities. Contact us today to learn more.

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