The Do’s and Don’ts of Downsizing to a Retirement Community

BellaVita downsizing

Posted: October 30, 2023

As with any major life event, you are probably feeling a blend of emotions when downsizing to a retirement community. Many people feel excited to be transitioning to a phase of life in which they’ll have more time to spend pursuing leisure activities and strengthening family and social ties. People might feel relieved that they’ll be living in a place where they have ready access to medical attention and assistance with daily tasks if they should require.

Regardless of how much you have to benefit from downsizing to a retirement community, however, moving to a new place, especially smaller quarters, comes along with its own challenges. Proper planning and following these dos and don’ts can help alleviate the stress of the move and help the process go as smoothly as possible.


Things to Do When Downsizing to a Retirement Community

Make a Plan

IL residentDownsizing to a retirement community is a big step, and it’s certainly not something you can do easily without having a plan in place. Take the time to decide which tasks will be completed first, such as deep cleaning, and which will come later, such as moving furniture.

Start Small

It might seem overwhelming if you look at the task of downsizing to a retirement community as one big project. Instead, break it down into a series of smaller steps. For example: clean out drawers, sort through clothes and donate the ones you wear the least, post items you’re planning to sell on Facebook Marketplace (or elsewhere), organize documents and photos, and so on.

Know Your New Space

While visiting your new home, take note of how much space is available for your personal belongings, including wall space for art or family photos. If possible, it can be helpful to have a peek at other residents’ homes to get an idea for how they’ve arranged and decorated.

Notify Family Members and Close Friends

Downsizing to a retirement community is a fantastic opportunity to allow your loved ones to select keepsakes from among your possessions. Once you’ve completed the first round of narrowing down your belongings, you’ll likely have plenty left over that won’t be making the move with you but might still occupy a special place in your heart. This is a good time to invite family members and friends over to choose items that they’d like to keep. You’ll feel better knowing your beloved items are in good hands, and your loved ones will cherish their memento. Allowing folks to choose what they’d like is generally a better idea than giving specific items as gifts, since it takes the guesswork out of being sure the item will be appreciated.

Ask for Help

Relatives, neighbors, and members of your church congregation or other community organization are generally happy to help out with packing, cleaning, or lifting heavy objects. There’s no need to take on the whole project by yourself. Enlisting help not only makes your own load lighter, but offers others an opportunity to earn those warm feelings that come with performing acts of service. Of course, hiring professional movers is a great option too!


Top Don’ts in Downsizing to a Retirement Community 

Wait Until the Last Minute

Big projects such as downgrading to a retirement community have a tendency to take longer than we expect. Save yourself the headache of dealing with last-minute complications by starting the process as soon as you’ve made the choice to move.

Throw Away Potentially Valuable Antiques

You might not see that old clock or those figurines that your grandmother kept in the china cabinet as anything special, but there’s a chance that they might be worth a lot of money. When in doubt, have an appraiser check out anything that’s more than 50 years old, collectible, or made of valuable materials such as gold, silver, or ivory. At worst, you’ll feel better about getting rid of them, and at best, you’ll add to your nest egg!

Expect Family Members to Take Your Unwanted Belongings

packingAt times, it can be difficult to accept that something that is precious to you may not be as treasured by someone else. Keep in mind that you’ve had years to build memories and associations with your belongings, and that sentimental value does not necessarily transfer over to a new owner.

Second Guess Yourself

There’s certainly a degree of nostalgia that people experience when downsizing to a retirement community and you’ll need to stay resolved to lighten your load. Give yourself the space and freedom to begin your new life in a retirement community unencumbered by the stifling clutter that can come along with trying to fit too many of your belongings into your new home. Stay focused on why you’re making the move: to live a more active lifestyle, greater security, maintenance-free living, and so on.


Bella Vita’s Affordable Luxury Adult Community in Aurora, Colorado

If you have questions about downsizing to a retirement community, contact Bella Vita today to speak with a helpful representative. Bella Vita is conveniently located near the Havana shopping district in Aurora, where you’ll enjoy ready access to grocery stores, restaurants, medical clinics, banking, and much more. We offer tons of fun social activities such as game nights, movie nights, and happy hours in the bistro. We are happy to hear your questions and concerns and help you make the best choice to enjoy your retired life.

Originally posted on March 1, 2022

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