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Downsizing for Seniors: How to Help Declutter

To help make the cleaning the clutter easier, we have a few tips and suggestions to assist in downsizing for seniors from a family home into a condo or long-term care facility.

Make lists

Whether you prefer to write notes on pen and paper or use your mobile device, making lists will help with organizing. Making note of important dates, to-do lists or any details about certain belongings will provide much help. Downsizing can seem like a daunting task but regular note taking can help ease the stress and provide direction.

Floor plan

If possible, find out what the floor plan will be for your senior’s new home. It will greatly help to determine how much space they have, which limits guesswork. Double check the measurements they have given on the floor plan and observe where the doors, windows, appliances etc. will be. Decide what large pieces of furniture will be able to fit into the new home.

Lighten the load

Decluttering is an essential step when moving homes. It helps to minimize the amount of belongings you have to bring with you to the new residence. When decluttering, strategize and take inventory of the items. Place items into four piles in each room: keep, toss, donate or sell. Work with your loved senior and ask questions about each item. For instance: When was the last time you used this? When was the last time you wore this? Does this item have sentimental value that can’t be replaced? Is the item in good shape? These types of questions will help sort possessions into each of the different piles.

When minimalizing, be sure to keep any important documents together such as passports, birth certificates, medical records and anything else deemed of high importance. 

Sell pile

If the sell pile is quite large, consider having a garage sale. A garage sale is a fantastic way to declutter and earn some money. There is truth to the old proverb, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Find a place to store the items in the sell pile while deciding the details of where and when the garage sale will be.

Be considerate

When helping to downsize, remember to be patient and courteous. Moving from a place they have called home for several years into a new home or long-term care facility makes for a significant change. Be sensitive and understand your loved one may be upset and distressed. If you need reinforcements, ask your family members to lend a helping hand.

When the moving process begins, make sure your loved one’s personal property will be safely transitioned from one place to another. Inform their insurance provider they are moving and address any concerns you may have.

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Downsizing for Seniors: How to Help Declutter

elderly woman and middle aged woman

Helping a senior downsize their home can be a challenge. There are many sentimental items they want to tightly hold onto and not-so-important possessions they also want to tightly hold onto.

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