5 expert decluttering and moving tips for seniors

Support yourself or your family with these simple steps to make moving, downsizing and organizing easier.

Happy senior woman opening box at home.

Are you or a senior loved one feeling anxious about an upcoming move? Downsizing, decluttering, packing and moving into a senior living suite can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve lived in your current home for decades. At Amica, we’re making the transition easier, thanks to our partnership with NEAT Method, a luxury lifestyle service. We asked two NEAT organizing gurus to share their expert decluttering and moving tips for seniors, from giving away unwanted items to safety considerations to hiring help and a reputable moving company. 

“Time is precious,” says Jen Rowe, owner of NEAT Method Toronto. “Investing in professional help alleviates stress and allows family members to focus on supporting their parents.”

1. Create a downsizing and moving plan

To maximize efficiency and minimize anxiety when moving to retirement living, bookmark and read the following resources to help you develop a plan well in advance:

2. Think about how you’ll live moving forward

Rather than packing up everything you have from each room in your old home, pack for the rooms in your new suite. “Edit as you go,” says Sarah Gerber, owner of NEAT Method Vancouver. “If you have two bathrooms in the old place and one in the new, pack for one bathroom with only the best items.” 

Consider your typical days ahead, too. If meals will be made for you, for instance, donate most cookware, kitchen appliances and multiple sets of dishware and glasses. But if you envision reading over tea in the afternoon, keep and pack your kettle and tea pot. While it may seem obvious, being mindful of your plans will make it easier to envision future joys and part with old things you no longer need.

3. Measure and consider safety

When Rowe and Gerber help seniors pack and unpack, they’ve observed that many have multiple tables and oversized furniture in their space, which can be a tripping hazard. 

“Get the measurements of your new suite and use an online floor planning tool to plan a safe layout that can accommodate a walker or wheelchair, if necessary,” says Rowe. Then you can donate old pieces before moving and buy new, smaller furniture instead.

Read our Home Safety Guide and our Home Safety Checklist for room-by-room tips on preventing falls and accidents in your new space.

4. Don’t buy that closet organizer yet

It’s tempting to buy new hangers, drawer dividers and other organizational items as you see them on sale before you move, but it’s best to wait to buy things that fit and match. Choosing matching storage items in greys, blacks, clear or neutral materials will look cohesive. “Our clients are amazed by how peaceful it feels when there’s less visual clutter,” says Rowe.

5. Invest in a reputable mover and organizing service

Pay for peace of mind and hire a recommended moving company with good reviews well in advance of your move and rent reusable boxes that won’t break. Consider hiring professional organizers like NEAT Method also, to help manage the move logistics, pre-move preparations, unpacking and organizing. 

“We have an empathetic and experienced team, including handymen and cleaners, to help support you,” says Gerber. “People get decision fatigue, so having a neutral party helping takes some of the emotion out of what to keep and what to leave behind.” 

Amica’s partnership with NEAT Method is just one of many perks and partner programs that elevate life for Amica residents.

Book a virtual or in-person tour to find out what it’s like to enjoy living on your own terms in an elegant Amica residence with outstanding dining, amenities, activities, senior care and safety measures.