What to Do with Your Stuff Before Moving to an Assisted Living Community

Transitioning to an assisted living community usually means downsizing, especially if you’ve lived in a big house for decades. Many seniors dread this aspect of the move. But the truth is it can be fun, give you a chance to give away heirlooms now, and may even help you earn some extra spending money. Here are five strategies for downsizing before you move to assisted living.

Give Away Heirlooms Now

Try letting each loved one pick one or two possessions they love. Or if you already have a few pieces of art, jewelry, or other heirlooms in mind as an inheritance, start giving them away now. This way you can ensure your wishes are respected, and can tell the story of each object to help your family truly cherish what you’ve given them.

Sell the Things You Don’t Want 

One person’s junk is another’s treasure. Vintage clothes that look dated to you may make a fabulous addition to someone else’s closet. If you have gently used possessions that you no longer want, try having a garage sale. Or widen your reach by selling on a site such as eBay, Mercari, Poshmark, or Etsy. Your local consignment store may also be a great low-effort option. Simply drop off your stuff and pick up a monthly check for everything that sells.

Rent a Storage Space

Not ready to part with your possessions just yet? Rent a storage space. For people who feel overwhelmed by downsizing, as well as those who want to switch out their furniture and decor, a storage space can help you make the most of senior living without all the stress of clearing out your prized possessions.

Get Savvy About Organization 

If you feel like the walls are closing in because you have so much stuff, it might be time to hire a professional organizer. Well-organized possessions are easier to use because you know where to find everything. They also take up less space. So divide and conquer: Group your stuff into keep and get-rid-of piles, then work with an organizer to find the most effective strategy for getting the things you’re keeping under control. If you don’t want to hire someone, Pinterest, organizing websites, and even stores such as the Container Store are great places to visit if you need tips for how to make the most of your limited space.

Donate to Improve Someone Else’s Life 

If you have a pile of things you no longer want but find the process of selling them overwhelming, then a great option is to give these items away. Try donating to your local church, community center, or Goodwill. You can even have a free garage sale. Put the items in your driveway, run an ad telling people when to come, and then enjoy watching families who need your discards give your possessions a second life. As with any other donation, you may be able to deduct the value of the items from your taxes. Just make sure you’re giving away items in good used condition — not torn clothes or broken furniture that will only clutter up someone else's space.

At Arbor, we have witnessed the transformative power of the right assisted living community for more than three decades. We’d love to help you make your next chapter your best yet. We also know that this transition can feel overwhelming, and we are here to help. For assistance choosing the right community, download our free guide, “Finding a Safe and Comfortable Senior Living Community.”

Safe & Comfortable Guide