Five Steps to Downsizing for Seniors

How do seniors downsize?

If you’re thinking about moving into a carefree lifestyle but are not sure what to do with everything you’ve acquired in your home, Shenandoah Senior Living in Front Royal, VA is here to help. It’s easy to accumulate various items over the years, but you would be surprised at how easy downsizing can be for senior living.

Seniors and their families enjoy peace of mind at Shenandoah Senior Living. In addition to providing assisted living and memory care, our community is full of apartments and studios that you can decorate however you’d like. We hope you bring what is important to you, but how do you decide what you’ll need?

What does downsizing mean for seniors?

Downsizing is something everyone can benefit from practicing. Moving from the family home to a senior apartment means you won’t bring everything you own. Separating needs from wants may feel overwhelming, but downsizing allows for a smooth transition.

Start with these five steps to downsizing:

  1. Begin early and develop a plan
  2. Organize and declutter
  3. Eliminate items in rooms you don’t need or use
  4. Sell, donate and rehome
  5. Reminisce

How do I start downsizing?

According to an AARP article, downsizing should begin at least a month before your home goes up for sale. The earlier you get started, the easier the process will be. Getting started early enough will allow you to go through all of your items and develop an organizational plan.

Start somewhere small without much emotional attachment, like the laundry room, just to get into the habit. Avoid beginning in the garage or attic; they might contain an overwhelming amount of items, some more sentimental than what you’d find in the laundry room. Depending on the season, it might also be very uncomfortable and hazardous.

How do I organize and declutter my home?

Author of “Keep This, Toss That”, Jamie Novak encourages, “organizing backward.” Packing only what you want to keep will leave behind things you can eventually sell, donate, trash or rehome. Piles will begin to eliminate themselves with this system, leaving you with only the items you wish to keep.

Consider this list, organized by

  • Do I need it or want it?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Do I use it often?
  • Do I have another item that performs the same function?

Where do I start?

If you’ve tried a practice closet, begin in the kitchen or family room. Kitchens are fantastic for getting rid of duplicate items. At Shenandoah Senior Living, you’ll receive three nutritious meals and snacks every day, which means you won’t need much from your kitchen. See the items you may want to discard or donate below.

  • Duplicate utensils
  • Dishes and containers
  • Cookbooks
  • Pots and pans
  • Dishtowels
  • Cleaning supplies
Living Room
  • Entertainment like records, books, movies and magazines
  • Extra throw blankets and pillows
  • Bulky furniture that may not fit your new home
  • Small knickknacks
  • Excess linens
  • Broken jewelry
  • Clothing
  • Junk drawers full of old papers and expired medications
  • Excess electronics
  • Sports and hobby equipment
  • Tools
  • Holiday decorations
  • Chemicals and paint
  • Car parts
  • Broken items

What else will I not need at Shenandoah Senior Living?

Our community features four options of studios and one-bedroom apartments. If your home now has an office, den, sewing room, or anything of that sort, you may need to consider downsizing them.

Get rid of bulky files and digitize a home office onto a computer, or organize your hobbies to fit in a toolbox or organized bin. Consider the activities our community offers to save even more space:

  • Gardening club
  • Crocheting
  • Cards, board games and puzzles
  • Arts and crafts
  • Exercise and wellness equipment
  • Movie nights
  • Cooking club
  • Book club

Shenandoah Senior Living makes life easy for you. With our community’s assisted living and memory care for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, you will have more time to enjoy life.

Shenandoah Senior Living | Senior couple downsizing, selling their home.
moodboard –

Our picturesque location in Front Royal, VA allows residents to bask in multiple sunrooms and on the grand porch to enjoy views of the Shenandoah mountains.

How do I get rid of things I don’t need?

Selling is a great way to make extra money, and donating is a fantastic way to give back to your community. If you don’t wish to sell items over apps on your smartphone, enlist the grandkids to help.

Where to sell
  • Garage sale
  • Antique/vintage stores
  • Consignment shop
  • Internet sale
Where to donate
  • Charities
  • Churches
  • Thrift shop
  • Schools
  • Museums


It might be a beneficial bonding experience to involve your family in this process. Prevent future burdens and give heirlooms to your family now. Your family might take things you didn’t expect they would want, freeing up even more space for your move.

Is it okay to reminisce?

Absolutely. If you have the time, cherish the memories of all the items you no longer need. If you have a collection, consider bringing a few of the most meaningful objects and take pictures of the rest. A family bonding activity might be making a poster board of the photos for display in your new home.

How do I move into senior living?

You may have family members who are willing to help you. There are many resources like the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers to find logistical help at discounted rates for seniors. Shenandoah can also recommend trusted moving partners local to Front Royal. Once you get here, we can help you decorate and feel right at home.


How do I know senior living is right for me?

Visit Shenandoah Senior Living in Front Royal, VA by making an appointment for a tour. Experience how easy life can be thanks to the services, care and activities we offer. Enjoy peace of mind. Contact us today.

Please note that Shenandoah Senior Living and its management company, Proveer Senior Living, use cookies to securely and effectively improve your digital experiences. By continuing to browse Shenandoah Senior Living’s website, you agree to its use of cookies.

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