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Downsizing Tips for Seniors Moving to Independent Living

One of the first steps when making the move from a house to an Independent Living Community is downsizing. Downsizing poses a unique challenge for most seniors. After years of accumulating possessions and the memories that go along with them, it can be difficult to choose what to keep and what to sell, donate or giveaway. But these tips are great for helping seniors downsize as they transition to the next stage of their life.

Know your new space

Taking a tour of your new Independent Living home will not only help you decide which choice is right for you, but also how your possessions will fit into the new space. When seniors are downsizing from a home to an apartment, you might not be able to fit everything you currently have in your new living space. But clever storage solutions can help you maximize the space you have. At Woodland Pond at New Paltz, you can view our available floorplans and take virtual tours on our website, so you can see what dimensions and layouts you have to work withMasking tape on the floor in the same lengths and shapes of the floorplan is a great way to see how your current furniture will fit into your new home and help you decide which items to keep and which to pass on. 

Decluttering tips for seniors

A common next step in preparing for your move is decluttering. There are many areas of the home that accumulate items. Here are some of the most common places to start with decluttering. 


Go through all your paperwork. A good rule of thumb is to keep tax paperwork for at least 7 years. Anything older than that, unless advised otherwise by your tax professional, is probably safe to discard. Keep identity safety in mind when disposing of old paperwork that has sensitive information. If you don’t own a shredder, there are many safe options to have your documents shredded for a fee. 


Another good place to declutter is the closet. Discard any clothes or shoes that no longer fit, are stained, no longer fit your style, or are in disrepair. Items that are still usable can be sold at consignment stores or donated. If a clothing item has sentimental value, but you don’t want to keep it in your own closet, check with family who might like the heirloom passed on. 


When thinking about downsizing tips for seniors, another important area to focus on is the linen closet. You might not need as many sheets or towels as you did before. Similar to when going through your clothes, you want to discard items that are stained or torn and donate items that are in good shape, but you no longer need. Make sure the linens you keep fit your new space. Know what size bed you’ll have in your new space so you can take the sheet sets and blankets that fit. 


One of the best parts of moving to an Independent Living Community is the dining. You likely won’t need or have the room for quite as many kitchen gadgets as you do before your move. Check with the community to know exactly what you’ll have available on campus and what space you’ll have in your kitchen so you can decide what to bring and what to give to others. 

Go digital

As you declutter, you’re sure to come across items or photos that bring great memories. But holding on to several tubs worth of memorabilia might not be feasible. Having photos and videos digitized is a great way to keep your memories while making them more portable. A digital frame can hold thousands of photos, depending on the size of the frame’s memory. Keeping the most special photos in a photo album and in frames can help add charm to your new space. Otherwise, hard copies can be passed on for the next generation to enjoy. 

Be patient

For seniors downsizing from a home, it’s important to stay patient. Downsizing can be a long and emotional process. Your head may know what to keep, but your heart may want to hold on to more. It often helps to give prized possessions you don’t have room for to a friend or family member you know will cherish it as much as you. If you’re still struggling, consider hiring a senior move manager. They have lots of experience helping seniors transition from their own homes to all stages of senior living and can help you ask the right questions of the senior community you’re joining. 

Welcome home to Woodland Pond

Woodland Pond at New Paltz has several Independent Living floorplans to choose from, including apartments that range from 729 sq. ft. to 1,236, sq. ft, and cottages that range from 1,484 sq. ft. to 1,800 sq. ft. With lots of comfort and amenities, Woodland Pond is a great place to call home. Call us today to schedule a tour of your new retirement living community today. 

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