The process of downsizing for seniors can feel overwhelming, but it’s not always a bad thing. Often, organizing one’s belongings and furniture can bring up happy memories of the past—as long as you don’t get caught in the clutter! To help you or a loved one get started, here are six downsizing tips for seniors you won’t want to miss:

1. Recognize that it’s okay to feel anxious.

It’s natural to feel a sense of loss or separation when we get rid of things that have been a part of our life, even if it’s just a simple sweater or a favorite cabinet. It’s not silly; it’s sentiment! Go into the downsizing process knowing that some days might be harder than others. Be patient with yourself and with those who are helping organize the belongings.

2. Develop a “pick one piece” mentality for large set items.

Sometimes, it’s easier to bring along a piece of a set instead of a box of items. For example, instead of keeping a full china set, keep a favorite plate to display on a shelf. Similarly, you could narrow down a record collection to one or two favorites (you could even frame the album cover). 

When you take this approach, it’s easier to part with objects because you can still keep a piece of them!

3. Use videos and photographs to document objects.

Digitizing you and your loved ones’ memories should always be a priority! Not only does replacing a favorite painting with a photograph save space, but it also mitigates the potential for damage! In addition, photographs and video can be stored on accident-proof drives to last a lifetime. Want to turn those photographs into something special? Consider making a small scrapbook with an online photo book editor to create the perfect coffee table accent that can be revisited at any time.

4. Pass objects onto family members as keepsakes.

Family heirlooms are a great way to connect with younger generations and also preserve the memories of the things you love. Consider reaching out to family ahead of time and asking if there are any items in your possession that they would be interested in taking care of.

Be sure not to use your friends and family as an easy-away option. These items will carry a lot more value if they’re meaningful and from the heart.

5. Donate to local charity or thrift organizations.

Instead of sending your unwanted items to the trash, consider sharing your belongings with a local community center, charity or thrift organization. It may be easier to part with things if you know that they’re going to good use. If items are not in good condition or are not a good fit for a thrift organization, consider using your city’s large item pick-up services to dispose of the unwanted furniture.

6. Sell belongings through online marketplaces.

Consider selling high-value items through eBay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace or local seller markets for additional income. To help ease the anxiety of downsizing for seniors, use the extra cash to plan a vacation, buy decorations for the new space or throw a party with family and friends.

Making the Big Step: Downsizing for Seniors

These changes can feel intimidating or overwhelming for you and your loved ones. That’s okay. Use these downsizing tips for seniors to make the process easier. Remember to focus on the future. There are still memories to be had! By downsizing household items, you may even find opportunities to connect with other members of your family or the community around you.