Downsizing for Seniors: 5 Tips for Retirees Moving to a Smaller Home

For parents whose kids have all moved out and are ready to retire or are already retired, moving to a smaller house, condo, or apartment is often a tempting option. With their children gone, seniors simply do not need a lot of bedrooms to clean and maintain regularly.

The money they will gain from selling their home will also help them experience a more comfortable, pleasant retirement, and provide funds for their holiday plans and trips abroad. Lastly, a smaller home will allow seniors to make managing their own space more achievable, with or without the help of a relative, an in-home nurse or caregiver.

Moving to a Smaller Home

Downsizing for Seniors

Seniors who will be downsizing and moving, though, will require more help than younger people. At their age, they will benefit greatly from getting removal and packing services. They will require assistance from their family, friends, and other service providers as well.

If you have also made the decision to move to a smaller home to enjoy your retirement, here are five tips that will help you with the transition:

  • Choose your new home carefully

If you want to enjoy your retirement as comfortably as possible, you need to select the right home first.

When finding your new home, talk with your spouse about what both of you need as you enter your sunset years. In your discussions, consider the following:

  • Mobility concerns
  • Memory issues
  • Amount of caregiving needs
  • Accessibility to hospitals and clinics
  • Proximity to the homes of your children
  • Budgetary constraints

Don’t forget to ask your children, medical specialist, and caregiver, if you have one, for their input as well. With their additional ideas and recommendations, you will be able to find the ideal smaller home.

  • Make a moving plan

As soon as you have found your new home and have put your house on the market, create a moving plan.

If possible, get a floor plan of your new home. With this floor plan, you will know how much available space you have. This will help you decide on which furniture you can and can’t bring. You will also have an idea of how much storage space you will have for your other items.

This step will help you with the decluttering stage as well.

Additionally, create a list of all the other things you have to do before the move. These include packing, shutting off or transferring utilities, informing the postal office of your new address, etc.

Place a deadline or timeframe for each of these tasks to ensure you are able to complete them in due time.

  • Declutter and downsize

Since you will be moving to a smaller home, it will be impossible to bring all your possessions with you. You will have to spend a lot of time choosing which items you can move to your new home and which ones you can’t.

To simplify the decluttering process, prepare five boxes or containers, one each for:

  • Keeping
  • Passing along to other family members
  • Selling
  • Donating
  • Throwing away

Bring these boxes or containers along as you tackle the contents of each room.

You will need to downsize your “keep” pile further as well. Consider storing the items you can’t bring to your new home in a storage unit or asking a family member to keep them for a while.

Don’t forget that decluttering and downsizing cover your furniture, too. If your grand piano won’t fit into the doorway of your new home, consider giving it away or selling it.

  • Ask for help

There is nothing easy about decluttering, packing, and going through the other tasks that come with moving. Many of these things are impossible to do on your own as well.

As such, ask your family and friends to help you out. Let them pack some of your belongings, transport the items you are donating to the local charity center, or organize a yard sale.

If you have already hired removalists, find out if they offer packing services. Invest in this service to reduce the time you have to spend on meticulously packing all of your possessions.

  • Embrace the chance to start on a clean slate

Lastly, you may feel bad about not being able to bring a lot of your old items into your new home such as your large dining table and gas range. However, try not to focus too much on the things you will leave behind or lose.

Instead, concentrate on how you can turn your new home into something that’s really yours. Have you always wanted to have a study or a library? Does your spouse want a mini-bar?

Although you are free to bring as many items as you can from your old home, don’t miss out on the chance to make your new abode truly yours in a relaxing, comfortable way.  

For seniors, downsizing and moving to a new home can be an emotionally-charged event. However, it can be exciting, too. As such, focus on the benefits of moving and you will start your retirement in your new home on a positive note.


Craig Jones is the Managing Director at Aussiemove, Australia’s largest independent moving alliance. Craig is a respected member of the removalist network in Australia, having served in senior positions, including the President of the removal industries governing body, the Australian Furniture Removals Association (AFRA). With 23 years of experience at Aussiemove, he has the skills and the highly trained team to move families safely and reliably, in Adelaide, across Australia, and around the world.