Tips for Clearing Out Your Belongings Before a Move to Assisted Living

When a senior decides with their family that it’s time for a move to assisted living, one of the challenges of the transition is moving to a much smaller space. You have to figure out what to do with all the belongings you’ve acquired over the years and make some hard choices about what to keep and what to get rid of.Tips for Clearing Out Your Stuff Before a Move to Assisted Living

To help you through the process, we have compiled four steps that will make it easier to clear out belongings before a move to assisted living:

1. Determine any belongings that you can sell.

Figure out which of items are in good enough condition to sell. You can list them on Amazon, Craiglist, eBay or Nextdoor to find buyers. You could also stick with the old-fashioned option of a garage sale, or do a bit of both – start with a garage sale and list what’s left over online.

While selling your things requires some work, that extra money will be nice to have once you start paying for assisted living.

2. Determine the high-priority items that you know you want to keep.

Be strict with yourself here. Assisted living doesn’t come with a lot of storage space, so you need to get used to the idea of having less stuff.

  • Start with necessities. You need a certain number of medications, outfits, toiletries, etc. Then move to furniture like bedside tables and drawers that will be useful and perhaps your favorite chair or sofa as well.
  • Then consider the items you own that have an emotional significance, like photos of family and meaningful gifts from loved ones that should be given priority space.
  • You’ll probably have enough space at this point to hang onto a few nice-to-have items, like favorite books, a TV etc.

The goal here though is to keep the list fairly short and have a clear idea of the priority of different items, so if you find you have less space than you thought, it will be easier determining what can go.

3. Donate what’s left over to charity.

Pack which belongings are still left over to take to Goodwill or a local shelter. Goodwill can sometimes provide a pickup if there are a lot of items being donated. There are likely a number of other organizations in your community that can benefit from the items you’ll no longer have space for as well. Talk to homeless and women’s shelters or organizations that work with refugees about the kind of needs they have.

Your extra blankets or furniture could make a big difference to someone who has a real need for them.

4. Invite family members over to pick out belongings they’d like to have.

Your family members may well have their own list of items in the house that have emotional significance for them. For many of the items you don’t have space for, they may be able to keep them in the family by taking them into their homes.

Invite them over to go through the house and select items they either personally want or would like to keep in the family and know they have enough storage space in their homes to do so.

At this point, you’ve hopefully reduced your belongings to just those that will fit into your assisted living space. If you find yourself missing certain items you got rid of, remember that your room will be much more pleasant when not cluttered. Many of the things you had in your home weren’t really items you needed, anyway.

A move to assisted living gives you a chance at a new start and cutting down on the things you own can make you feel more comfortable and actually be a bit freeing in an assisted living community.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for


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