Tips on Downsizing When Moving to an Assisted Living Community

March 22, 2022

Moving from a long-time home into an assisted living facility can be a challenging experience. In addition to adjusting to a brand-new lifestyle, moving to a senior living community usually entails a reduction in living space. Downsizing to fit into smaller accommodations can be tough for anyone, but for older adults with a lifetime of accumulated possessions, the process can be more difficult. But, there are ways of making the process easier.

For starters, reach out to the assisted living community when you begin the moving process. Talk with a move-in coordinator or sales counselor to get a list of things that are already provided as part of the amenities. That way, you won’t end up packing and bringing “duplicate” unnecessary furnishings.

If you have the time available, we’d also recommend taking an in-depth tour of the assisted living community before you start packing. This lets you accomplish two things. Firstly, you can walk through your new living space and see just how much room you will have. Sometimes, getting a firsthand experience of the layout can help you better visualize how you’ll use the space compared to only reviewing a floorplan on paper. Secondly, the tour also gives you the opportunity to talk to your future new friends and neighbors. Ask current residents about what they chose to bring with them and what items they found most useful – or which items they found redundant or unneeded after settling in.

Armed with this information, you can start packing up your items for the big move. If possible, enlist the help of family and friends to help sell items online, pack up items to be moved, and coordinate drop-offs of any items you want to donate. The more hands to help, the quicker this project can go. This can be a big job, so break it down into manageable chunks and go one room at a time over the course of several days or weeks.

What Not to Bring

To help you start the downsizing process, here is a list of items that we generally do not recommend taking with you:

  • Bulky furniture and outdoor furniture
  • Decorative items that sit on the floor, glass-top tables, area rugs, and chairs with wheels or without armrests (these can all turn into tripping hazards)
  • Multiples of similar items (e.g., bring a couple of favorite mugs, but not an entire mug collection)
  • Expensive or seldom worn jewelry and outfits (items that are extremely valuable or irreplaceable should be left with a family member for safekeeping)
  • Kitchen appliances and cookware
  • Boxes of items you had in storage before you started the moving process

What to Bring

While assisted living communities provide many items for you, there are some things you should make sure to bring. Below is a summarized list of what we recommend to our incoming residents.

  • Personal care items including toiletries, medication, eyeglasses, hearing aids, walkers/canes, etc.
  • Towels and bed linens
  • Clothing (take some everyday casual wear, night wear, and just a few formal pieces. Keep in mind you’ll be spending a lot of time socializing with your new neighbors in the restaurant-style dining hall, during activities, and on the occasional outing)
  • Wall art and family photos (our maintenance team can help you hang anything you need)


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