4 Tips: Downsizing for Seniors

The Golden Girls were on to something – living in a house with their friends as they grew older.

It’s something called “Aging in Place” and more and more people are moving toward that.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, “the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060.”

And the United States of Aging report found that 75% of older adults plan to live in their current homes for the rest of their lives.

As most of those people haven’t moved in the last 20 years, that means there is a lot of stuff piling up.

Downsizing for Seniors

The term “downsizing” is often connected to seniors going from a big home to a smaller one, or even an apartment. But downsizing can also refer to those who are aging in place. These seniors don’t need as many linens, or dishes and it’s time to talk about the antiques.

The children likely don’t want those hand-me-downs.

Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) and Millennials (1981-1996) aren’t in the market for dark heavy furniture and full sets of china. And they don’t want collections of Hummels and Lladro.

But every family is different.

We recommend talking to your adult children and grandchildren about your furniture and collectibles. Talk to them about the important things you want them to keep, a family heirloom with a story.

As for the rest of it, if they’re not interested in taking the antiques or collectibles off your hands, it’s a good time to sell it online or donate it to charity. Getting rid of these items will reduce the amount of clutter in your home, and make it a safer place to live.

“Where to Start?”

This is the biggest question we get as professional organizers, and the answer is – there is no magic answer. If it’s been a while since you decluttered…

  1. Start when you’re ready, not when people tell you “it’s time”.
  2. Start with something small – start with a closet, or a kitchen cabinet.
  3. Give yourself time to go through everything. Decluttering 20 years or more of living in a home isn’t just physically demanding, it’s also emotionally draining.
  4. When you get through with one room or closet, congratulate yourself on a job well done! This can be tough work by yourself, and you deserve a reward.

If you’d like some professional help with downsizing, we can help you with that. Check out our Services Page and give us a call for a free in-home or virtual consultation

Dawn Dugle is a Professional Organizer in Florida and works with seniors to downsize their homes.