Your Guide to Downsizing to a Senior Living Community

Two seniors happy about downsizing to a senior living community seated in a living room smiling at the camera

Retired homeowners possess an entire lifetime of stuff. Especially if you’ve been living in the same home for many years, you’ve likely accumulated decades' worth of memorabilia, furniture, and knickknacks. 

For many older adults, the start of their senior living story begins with downsizing their existing belongings to make their home more manageable. Let’s explore strategies to get started and top tips for rightsizing your home. 

Downsizing vs. Rightsizing

First, let’s talk about the word “downsizing.” The term can hold a negative connotation because it brings up the anxiety of getting rid of things and suggests relocating to a tiny space. 

As baby boomers move from the workforce into retirement, they’ve put a positive spin on the process of downsizing, focusing on the advantages of going minimal. Today, “downsizing” is no longer the commonly used term for clearing clutter and moving into a smaller space. Instead, “rightsizing” is used in its place.


The word “rightsizing” provides a more accurate description of maintaining a home that better reflects your current stage in life. Adults who rightsize are opting to stop tidying up unused guest rooms and deep-cleaning giant kitchens with too many seats at the table. Rightsizing adults are choosing a home that still has all of the details they love but at an appropriate scale. This means they spend less time and energy worrying about housework and upkeep, and more time and energy pursuing what matters most to them.

Rightsizing applies to possessions, too. Storage areas full of decorations, unworn clothing, objects, and other clutter can be overwhelming to maintain and keep track of. Adults rightsize their possessions because they know that most items do not hold memories and they can find relief in cutting out clutter.

The Benefits of Rightsizing

You don’t have to be a retired adult to rightsize your home or your possessions. In fact, many homeowners are choosing smaller houses to save money on maintenance, increase cash flow, and have more quality time with their family members. Minimalism and tiny living is a trending topic for all ages throughout all areas of the world. 

Gain personal flexibility.

For retirees, rightsizing can bring even more benefits at their stage of life. Choosing to rightsize your home, possessions, or both can give you more flexibility to be spontaneous and spend your time the way you want to.

For example, if you know you don’t have to mow your large lawn weekly, you can schedule more time for a hike, bike ride, or trip to the local farmer’s market. Similarly, if you take away the time-consuming task of deep-cleaning your large home, you can spend the weekend away or visit family members instead.

Improve overall accessibility.

Beyond having more flexibility with your time and energy, rightsizing can also ensure your home matches your current and future accessibility needs. Although you might not have trouble navigating your two-story home now, it only takes one hip or knee replacement to make you reconsider an upstairs bedroom. 

Furthermore, the layout of your home could be more than a simple inconvenience—it could be a safety risk. Unfortunately, most falls occur at home. Large or spacious homes can increase fall risk for even the most active older adults because they often have multiple flooring surfaces, stairs, and poorly lit areas that can lead to falls. Larger homes also require mobility and energy to navigate, which can decrease in older adults due to aging challenges or other medical conditions. 

Lower your expenses.

Rightsizing can also boost your financial budget. Maintaining a smaller, rightsized space requires fewer expenses for utilities, furnishings, and clutter. Similarly, the cost of housekeeping or maintenance services like landscaping is lower because these services typically charge less for smaller spaces.

Rightsizing to a Senior Living Community

When you think of a senior living community, if you think of small apartment living, think again! Most senior living communities offer a variety of floor plans and options to ensure your home matches your style and needs.

Enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle.

Transitioning to senior living means you can rightsize your home and belongings, as well as take advantage of a maintenance-free lifestyle. You won’t have to coordinate landscaping services or waste a weekend cleaning house. 

Instead, the team members at your senior living community take care of housekeeping and maintenance tasks so that you can do what you want to do, not what you have to do. Try soaking up the sun at the pool, exploring local trails, taking a pottery class with a neighbor, or traveling to the local winery for a tasting with your friends. 

Maximize your social and personal time.

When you rightsize to a senior living community, you automatically expand your social circle. This added benefit is especially important to your long-term physical and emotional health after retirement. 

At Cedarhurst communities, our Living TRUE℠ program means you always have a choice in what comes next. Whether it’s a yoga class in the fitness center, a quiet moment alone with a good book, or entertaining family in the private dining room, you can live your life your way. Rightsizing your space can mean boosting your energy and getting back time so you can enjoy every opportunity available—social or solitary.

Discover financial predictability.

Finally, rightsizing to a senior living community results in a more predictable budget. Most senior living communities bill a monthly fee, which means you preemptively know how much money you owe each month. 

In contrast, living at home can be full of unexpected financial surprises—a new roof, a water leak repair, or a lawn mower that needs to be replaced—that can leave your budget feeling chaotic. A senior living community simplifies your budget and helps you avoid paying multiple bills each month by offering transparent, all-inclusive pricing models

At Cedarhurst communities, we also want to reassure new residents that they will love their investment. Our 60-day money-back guarantee, The Cedarhurst Promise™, is just one more reason to be confident about the switch to community life. 


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How to Start Rightsizing Right Now

Preparing to move to senior living isn’t the only reason to begin your rightsizing journey. Virtually everyone can benefit from rightsizing when dealing with clutter and extra, unneeded possessions. Here’s how to get started.

Articulate your goals.

To begin, simply write down your goals for rightsizing. Perhaps you want to experience a more minimal lifestyle, or you want to have more energy and less clutter. Jot down how you want to feel afterward and what you want to gain from the rightsizing experience. Keep this list handy so you can remind yourself of your long-term gains if you begin to feel overwhelmed or unmotivated.

Take it one step at a time.

Next, start your rightsizing journey slowly, one room at a time—there’s no need to tackle the whole house in a weekend. You’ll make more progress if you take on each room, closet, or storage bin with ample energy. Stop when you feel overwhelmed, recoup, and get back to it after you’ve taken the time you need.

Recruit help when you need it.

Finally, don’t be afraid to hire a professional. Senior rightsizing is a common specialty for many professional organizers. They can help you develop a plan for rightsizing or even do the heavy lifting on your behalf. Moreover, family members and other loved ones can act as motivators or movers, making them a huge help in the rightsizing process.

Start Planning for Your Move to a Senior Living Community Today

Rightsizing before a move can be emotional, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. In fact, freeing yourself from belongings that weigh you down can be a relief for many, especially those who have been maneuvering around clutter for years.

If you’re getting ready to move to a senior living community, rightsizing is one of the first steps you should take to prepare. For more information about how to approach the moving process, check out our guide, Moving to Senior Living: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Move.


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