St. Anthony's Senior Living

What to Downsize Before Moving to Senior Living

When the time comes for you or a loved one to transition to senior living, there are many things to consider. You have to decide what senior living lifestyle is right for you, find a great senior living facility, and prepare your budget for this new season. But before you’re ready to officially move in, there’s one thing you always have to do: downsize!

Downsizing is consolidating your possessions to the essentials, simplifying everything to fit in a cozy senior living apartment instead of a larger home. This is a great time to streamline all you’ve acquired over the years, but it can also be a difficult time trying to decide what is important to you.

While we’ve provided downsizing tips in the past, we want to give you more specific advice about what you should consider keeping versus downsizing before moving into senior living. Here is a breakdown of everything you’ll need to sort through while downsizing, and our advice for what you should consider saying goodbye to.


1. Furniture

What furniture you keep depends largely on what your senior living facility provides. This downsizing tip is pretty straightforward: only keep the furniture you’ll need that will fit in your new senior living apartment.

At St. Anthony’s, apartments come completely unfurnished so our residents can transform them into their very own homes. In most cases, you’ll provide your own furniture like this when moving into an independent living apartment, whereas assisted living and memory care are more likely to be fully furnished. Take the time to tour your new apartment so you can decide what furniture will fit in the space. You might want to sell that big sectional and invest in a cozy loveseat or a couple of recliners, for instance!


What to Bring

  • Your favorite recliner
  • Small dresser
  • Small Loveseat
  • Cafe table or two-leaf drop table
  • One to two dining chairs
  • Full or twin-sized bed
  • Small TV


What to Downsize

  • Queen or king-sized bed
  • Coffee table
  • Dining room set
  • Entryway furniture (bench, console table)
  • Desk
  • Decorative furniture


2. Kitchen Items

You may not do as much cooking in senior living, thanks to the incredibly delicious five-star meals at St. Elizabeth’s Bistro! But our independent living apartment comes complete with a full-size kitchen so you can cook and bake as much as you please! Your kitchen comes with all the utilities you need, including an oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and microwave. Still, you’ll need to bring any other small appliances, dinnerware, and cooking utensils necessary for any cooking or baking you plan to do.

The rule here is simple: keep what you actually use and get rid of what you don’t. Discard any duplicates to save space and eliminate any unused, bulky appliances (for example, it might be time to get rid of the blender or food processor collecting dust in your pantry). Pass down the lovely fine china to your children, and simplify your dinnerware to two to four sets. You might even consider getting all-new dishes that are durable and lightweight plastic.


What to Bring

  • One of each kitchen utensil (spatula, wooden spoon, etc.)
  • Two to four sets of plates, bowls, and utensils
  • Frequently used small appliances
  • A basic set of pots and pans


What to Downsize

  • Extra dinnerware sets
  • Fine china
  • Unused small appliances
  • All larger appliances
  • Duplicate items


3. Linens and Things

This is another excellent area to purge and simplify! Declutter your bathroom, getting rid of any products that are expired or that you no longer use. Simplify your bathroom decor, especially if you’re going from a larger, two-sink countertop to a smaller bathroom space. Bring one or two sets of bed linens for your full or twin-sized bed and two to four towels. With a washer and dryer in the unit, you can wash these as often as you need to for fresh linens at all times!


What to Bring

  • Frequently used toiletries
  • Two to four towels
  • One or two sets of bed linens
  • One or two cozy blankets


What to Downsize

  • Expired products
  • Unused products
  • Extra linens and towels
  • Countertop decorations


4. Decorations

While you may have less surface area for decorations than you did in your family home, your new apartment has plenty of wall space for hanging art and decor, along with lots of family photos! We recommend cutting down on breakables and any fall hazards like loose rugs. At St. Anthony’s, your apartment will be fully carpeted except for the kitchen and bathroom, so you don’t need to worry about keeping yourself cozy underfoot! You only need a bath mat with a good rubber grip underneath to keep it from sliding around.

When deciding what decor to bring, focus on hanging decorations and sentimental items.


What to Bring

  • Wall Decor
  • Hanging pictures
  • A few nonbreakable sentimental items
  • Bath mat with rubber grip bottom


What to Downsize

  • Tabletop decorations
  • Rugs
  • Breakable items


5. Sentimental and Hobby Possessions

You’ve got quite the collection of sentimental possessions and hobby-related items, and that’s a lot to try fitting in a 600-square-foot senior living apartment! For items you can’t bring with you, take pictures of them to put in a photo album before passing them on to someone who will cherish them as much as you do.

As far as your hobbies, some are more portable than others! Knitting and crochet supplies can fit easily in a basket, but woodworking supplies, unfortunately, can’t come with you to senior living. If you’re an avid movie-watcher or book reader, these collections can be downsized to a few favorites, then you can look into purchasing an e-reader and TV subscriptions to fill in the gaps.


What to Bring

  • A few smaller sentimental items
  • Necessities for portable, compact hobbies
  • A few favorite movies and books
  • E-reader


What to Downsize

  • Books, movies, and other collections
  • Larger hobby-related items
  • Breakable or oversized sentimental items


It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Hello!

While moving to senior living is an emotional time with many farewells to the things you’ve held dear for many years, it’s also saying hello to many wonderful things! It’s hello to new neighbors and friends. It’s hello to a more relaxed and at-ease lifestyle. It’s hello to a lower-maintenance lifestyle without the hassle of housework. It’s hello to new experiences, new adventures, and a new home to have them all in. It’s hello to a loving and supportive community that can’t wait to meet you.

Contact us to schedule a tour and say your first hello to St. Anthony’s Senior Living!