The Quick Guide to Downsizing in Retirement

The Quick Guide to Downsizing in Retirement

Elderly couple house hunting on a computer as they prepare to downsize

Downsizing for retirement takes planning, hard work, and time. It involves organizing your current home, donating unwanted items, putting your house up for sale, and moving to a new location. Some people hire experts to help, while others rely on friends and family for support. But remember that you don’t always have to move to downsize. Some people will elect to age in place.

Determine Your Reason for Moving

Moving is a stressful experience at any age. Downsizing for retirement carries unique challenges that can be difficult to navigate without help. Hiring an expert to assist with the process can take some of the stress off, and ensure that everything is done correctly. Friends and family can also be a great source of support during this time.

It can be helpful to consider the following questions:

  • Where do you want to live?
  • Do you want to live in the same area or in a different state?
  • What style of home will be practical to navigate?
  • How much space do you need to be comfortable?
  • What sacrifices are you willing to make?
  • How much time and money can you commit to the moving process?
graph showing the percentage of retirees who downsize vs. upsize

Start to Downsize

You’ve decided to move. Now it’s time to start downsizing your current possessions. But where do you start?

It isn’t a simple process. People have created entire careers out of helping others downsize for retirement. It may seem daunting, but don’t let the task ahead overwhelm you.

“Decisions about what to keep and what to do with the rest can create decision paralysis,” Anna Novak, downsizing expert and owner of Simply Downsized LLC, told RetireGuide. “It’s a huge reason people have a hard time getting started.”

Novak and other experts recommend setting goals and timelines. Hold yourself accountable.

Finding a New Home

When you’re looking for a new residence, take time to consider your needs. Make sure the space fits your lifestyle, budget, and level of independence.

You may decide to purchase a new home, move in with family, transition to an assisted living facility, or rent a townhouse or condo. Great freedom in retirement is the chance to live where you choose. You may have bought your former home because it was in a good school district or close to work. Your life is different now, so explore your options.

Look for housing that puts you closer to things you care about, like your family, an airport, public transportation, a grocery store, or your favorite nature preserve. It’s also critical to be realistic about what your physical limitations will be in the future. For example, a one-floor house will be easier to navigate than a two-story house.

Graphic reading, "Quick Guide to Downsizing in Retirement" with a picture of an elderly couple.
Headshot of Ashlyn Cook, UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager
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Ashlyn is a homegrown Iowan (go Cyclones!). She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2023 with a degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Public Relations, and Communications. Now, she serves as UniMovers' Community Outreach Manager. In her free time, she loves to try new restaurants, travel, watch baseball, and spend time with her dog!

To get in contact with her regarding blog partnerships at UniMovers please email

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