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Helping your parents downsize


Navigating the Transition: A Guide to Helping Your Parents Downsize 

With the rising cost of living continuing to be a hot topic, more and more elderly Australians are choosing to sell their homes and move into retirement village living. And, if your parents are part of them, that means downsizing.

A delicate yet necessary process for your parents, downsizing can be difficult due to the deep emotional connections formed with their homes and possessions over the years. 

Luckily, with a healthy dose of empathy, understanding, and some strategic planning, downsizing can be a smooth and stress-free process for everyone involved. 

In this article, we’ll explore practical steps and tips on how to help your parents downsize without leaving behind everything that makes their house their home. 

Understanding the emotional aspect of downsizing

Downsizing is more than a physical transition; it is an emotional journey for your parents as well. They, like many, have spent a lifetime accumulating belongings, each carrying its own sentimental value. 

To ease this emotional burden, start the process by having an open and honest conversation about downsizing. Acknowledge their feelings, concerns, and attachments to their possessions. By creating a supportive environment for them, you’ll pave the way for a more collaborative downsizing experience.

Create a realistic plan

Begin the downsizing journey by developing a realistic plan tailored to your parents’ specific needs and preferences. 

Outline the timeline for the move and break down the process into manageable steps. This will help alleviate stress and ensure a smoother, happier move.

A sensitive approach to decluttering

Helping your parents downsize often involves the challenging task of decluttering. Encourage your parents to identify items that hold significant sentimental value and those that are no longer essential. Create categories such as “keep,” “sell,” “donate,” and “discard” to facilitate the decision-making process. 

Approach this phase with sensitivity, reminding your parents that the goal is to create a comfortable and uncluttered living space in their new village home.

Sorting Personal Belongings

A crucial aspect of downsizing, sorting through personal belongings can also be one of the hardest parts of the process. But it doesn’t have to be!

Start with less emotionally charged rooms, such as storage areas or the garage. Gradually progress to more sentimental spaces like bedrooms and family areas. Get other family members in the sorting process to share the workload and recall fond memories.

Streamline the process by using the same “keep,” “sell,” “donate,” and “discard” categories from your decluttering.

Identifying Essential Items

Identifying essential items that will help your parents adjust to their new home is an important part of helping them downsize – prioritise items like furniture, kitchen essentials, and cherished possessions. 

Evaluate the available space in the chosen retirement village, ensuring that the selected belongings align with the layout and dimensions of the new residence. This prevents the unnecessary transportation of items that may not fit or be suitable for the downsized living space.

Helping with Sale or Donation

Once you’ve got your “keep,” “sell,” “donate,” and “discard” items categorised, assisting your parents in selling or donating their unwanted items will be a big help. Consider holding a garage sale, utilising online marketplaces, or engaging the services of estate sale professionals to streamline the selling process. 

Donate usable items to local charities or organisations supporting those in need. 

Preserving Memories Digitally

Digitally preserving cherished memories is becoming increasingly popular when physical space is limited. Help your parents digitise photo albums, important documents, and sentimental items. 

This reduces the physical clutter and ensures that precious memories can be easily accessed and shared in their downsized living space. 

Downsize your home, not your lifestyle

Helping your parents downsize is a thoughtful and supportive process that requires careful planning and emotional consideration. By approaching the process with empathy, understanding, and practical strategies, you can make it a seamless transition to retirement village living.

While all St Ives Retirement Living homes have been built with ample storage and many feature a lock-up garage and additional storage, most of our residents take this opportunity to clear out the things they’ve been meaning to for years and just bring along the things they truly love. Many of our villages also come with caravan and boat parking so you don’t need to leave your lifestyle behind.

Need more space for entertaining? You can book out the facilities for almost any occasion so you can still keep your crown as the host with the most. The only rule is you have to clean up after yourself


To find the perfect St Ives Village for you, organise a private tour or join one of our regular events and have a chat with the residents.