The Senior

The retiree's guide to downsizing and decluttering

How can you make downsizing and decluttering as breezy as possible? Picture Shutterstock
How can you make downsizing and decluttering as breezy as possible? Picture Shutterstock

This is branded content.

Downsizing is a common practice when preparing for retirement. It makes sense, after all, to move into a smaller abode once your kids have all grown up and you no longer need to maintain a larger family home.

However, as liberating as downsizing can be, the process itself can feel like a monumental task. You're likely to have decades worth of belongings to sift through. So how can you make downsizing and decluttering as breezy as possible?

This little guide has been designed to take the guesswork out of the process of downsizing for retirees. Read on to secure some direction during your own experiences with downsizing.

Arrange storage to help support your move

The first thing you'll want to do in order to make this process simple and streamlined, is to secure flexible storage options to help organise your home's contents. There are plenty of viable options for furniture storage in Melbourne and other city centres across Australia, which is why we highly recommend taking advantage of any of these services.

For instance, storage containers can help you easily organise and transport all the furniture and other items that you'd like to take with you to your new address. Transportable storage containers will also provide retirees with peace of mind that their cherished things are being stored and transported with the utmost care, rather than being haphazardly crammed into the back of a moving van.

Another undeniable benefit of these flexible storage options are that they tend to be quite flexible when it comes to their pricing models as well. Unlike fixed storage lockers or storage units, transportable storage containers tend to offer flexible terms for renting either on a short- or long-term basis.

So if you plan on making your move as swift as possible, renting a storage container on a short-term agreement can be a highly cost-effective alternative to hiring a moving van for a day or two.

Decluttering, room by room

To make the transition easier, it may be helpful to approach your decluttering with a structure or plan in mind. We recommend going room by room to help simplify the packing process. Try sorting items into categories like 'donate', 'keep', or 'sell', and make your decisions on whether to toss or not based on what value those items add to your life.

In other words, when deciding an item's worth, you should be sure to consider its purpose and determine if that particular item enhances your life, or contrastingly presents itself as a burden. For those following Marie Kondo's mantra, all of the items that make the cut should ideally 'spark joy'. And trust yourself - once you've decided to part with a piece, do not second-guess yourself.

Once you have sorted all your belongings and know precisely what you're keeping, then all that's left to do is pack these items up into boxes so that they're ready to be transported safely to your new home. Just be sure to unpack those items consciously in your new house, as it's important that each piece finds a mindful place in your new surroundings to provide a fresh start.

Look for practical and space-saving storage solutions

When you move into a smaller home for your retirement years, it's imperative that you make the absolute most of your living space. Thankfully, with the sheer amount of space-saving storage furniture that's available to consumers nowadays, you should have no trouble at all finding some smart additions to your new home that can help revolutionise your own approach to compact living.

Storage ottomans are a particular favourite amongst many apartment dwellers and those living in smaller units or townhouses. Other great furniture items with built-in storage can include beds with drawers integrated in the frame, modular storage compartments or cubbies, and wall-mounted shelving for making the most of your home's vertical space.

Go digital wherever possible

For retirees seeking to downsize, going digital can be a very effective way of decluttering while preserving important memories. By storing cherished photos, home movies, and documents online in a secure cloud server, you won't have to keep physical copies with you, which can take up a surprising amount of valuable space in your new abode.

Digitisation also costs very little and is accessible from any device so long as you have an internet connection. Additionally, digitised items are impervious to fire or water damage, meaning that you won't have to worry about these precious items being damaged; you may even be able to save on your home and contents insurance as well!

Enlist extra support from friends and loved ones

Finally, there's no reason why you have to go through this process alone. Chances are high that your children and other loved ones may be just as invested in the process of cleaning out your family home, which is why you should absolutely seek support from them in the lead-up to your big move.

Your kids may be able to take a few of your items for themselves, meaning that you'll have less to throw out, and may even be able to save cherished items that you may not have any use for anymore, but would still like to see being kept in the family.

Having additional points of view present during the downsizing and decluttering process can also help to identify items that may no longer fit life's changing needs, or provide perspective on objects with greater meaning or sentimentality which should not be let go.


Downsizing and decluttering can be a daunting task for retirees, especially if your home has been filled with cherished possessions for many years. But it's important to note that this process also boasts many benefits, like reducing the overall time and energy spent on cleaning and organising your home to prepare it for the property market, reducing the costs of your move by minimising transportation loads, and allowing you to start this new phase of your life with a fresh slate and an open mind.