Downsizing in retirement has become a popular choice for many seniors, offering a fresh start and newfound freedom. Whether it’s driven by a desire to simplify, financial reasons, empty nests, health needs or emotional well-being, downsizing opens doors to a more fulfilling lifestyle. But where to begin? Senior downsizing companies help transition to smaller living spaces by assisting with decluttering, organizing, packing, moving and settling into new homes. Consider starting with the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), a network of downsizing companies that offer a range of services. A financial advisor can also help you make critical decisions surrounding your newly downsized financial life.
Reasons to Downsize
There are several reasons why a retiree might choose to downsize. Here are some of the most common :
Simplify your lifestyle. Typically, downsizing allows retirees to simplify their lives. With fewer belongings and a smaller living space, they can reduce the time and effort spent on maintenance and cleaning. Less clutter and fewer responsibilities provide the freedom to pursue hobbies, travel or spend time with loved ones.
Financial considerations. Downsizing can be a strategic financial decision. For instance, retirees can reduce their housing-related expenses by moving into a smaller home or less expensive area, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs. Doing so frees up funds to support their retirement lifestyle, travel plans or other financial goals.
Empty nest. As children grow up and move out, retirees usually find themselves with more space than they need. Downsizing to a smaller home or apartment can help them avoid the burden of maintaining an underutilized property while potentially providing financial benefits.
Health and mobility. Aging often comes with changes in mobility and health. Moving into a home with age-in-place features, such as widened doorways and no stairs, makes navigating and maintaining independence easier as physical abilities change. Additionally, moving to a community with amenities and services tailored to seniors can provide access to healthcare, social activities and additional assistance if needed.
Emotional well-being. Some retirees find that downsizing brings a sense of relief and emotional well-being. Letting go of the physical and emotional weight of accumulated possessions can be liberating, allowing them to focus on experiences and relationships rather than material things.
Where to Start
The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) is an excellent starting point to help with your move. NASMM is a network of top-quality businesses in your area for senior relocation. Companies must qualify to become network members through various efforts, including carrying liability insurance, passing industry-specific examinations and complying with the NASMM’s code of ethics.
Services Offered By Downsizing Companies
If you hire a downsizing company, it usually assigns a professional to your situation. This individual, a senior move manager, will help you resolve issues and overcome obstacles during your move.
Downsizing companies can help with:
Decluttering and sorting: Assist clients in determining what to keep, donate, sell, or discard and providing guidance and assistance in organizing items effectively
Space planning: Provide expertise in optimizing the new living space by arranging furniture and belongings efficiently
Packing and unpacking: Handle the safe and appropriate packing, labeling and transportation of items, as well as unpacking services for quicker settling in the new home
Coordination of moving logistics: Manage the logistics of the move, including hiring and supervising movers, scheduling moving dates and coordinating transportation of belongings for a smooth transition
Estate sales and liquidation: Assist with the sale of unwanted items through online platforms, auctions or estate sales
Donation and disposal services: Arrange for the pickup or drop-off of donated items to charitable organizations and ensure the responsible disposal of unwanted items
Home staging: Offer services to enhance the appeal of the client’s current home for potential buyers if they intend to sell it
Relocation support: Provide emotional and logistical support throughout the relocation process, including guidance, resources and expertise to minimize stress and ensure a successful transition
Cost of Hiring a Downsizing Service
Regarding the prices for senior move managers, considerable variation occurs nationwide, hinging on the scale of the undertaking. For instance, the sheer volume of possessions a senior may need assistance with can affect moving costs. Furthermore, the pricing structures used by senior move managers may involve either a project-based fee or an hourly rate. Specifically, project-based rates generally fall within a range of approximately $3,000 to $5,000. Remember, these figures are approximations, and your unique situation will drive pricing as you gather quotes from companies.
Comparing prices by region shows that the prevailing hourly rates hover between $125 to $150. On the other hand, in the heartland of the country and the South, hourly rates typically span from $60 to $150.
Senior Downsizing Services
Here are 17 companies you can hire to help you downsize:
Moves for Seniors
Moves for Seniors is a highly esteemed company specializing in senior relocations and offers comprehensive support for local and cross-country moves. Their services encompass various offerings, including senior community relocation, downsizing, decluttering and legacy services. In addition, the company caters to individual needs, providing as much or as little assistance as requested. From solely loading and unloading moving vans to managing the entire move, Moves for Seniors assigns a specialist to oversee every detail of the relocation process. Operating in every state except Alaska, the company has established a strong presence nationwide.
Caring Transitions boasts an expansive network of 200 franchise locations across 40 states. The company gives free consultations and offers services in the following categories: relocation and move management, downsizing, estate sales and online auctions. Caring Transitions excels in consolidating belongings, packing/unpacking boxes and drawing up a floor plan for the move. Each client receives a customized service plan tailored to their unique requirements.
Moving Station focuses on assisting seniors in transitioning from their homes to senior-specific communities. With over two decades of experience, the company aids seniors with selling their homes, organizing and sorting belongings and facilitating the actual move. Their detailed list of duties includes:
- Creating a timeline
- Tracking the move’s progress
- Simplifying decision-making associated with the relocation process
Welcome Home Senior Services and Placement Co.
Based in Florida, Welcome Home Senior Services and Placement Co. offers comprehensive support in helping seniors find assisted-living communities tailored to their situations. During in-person consultations, Welcome Home Senior Services will consider a client’s income, assets, required level of care, desired setting (such as spaced-out individual homes or a bustling campus), proximity to family and more. The company aims to pinpoint communities that meet both financial and lifestyle requirements. To that end, the company provides clients with a list of communities in their target region, plans and accompanies seniors during community visits and coordinates the eventual move. In addition, they’ll help you understand how your possessions will fit into your new home.
MaxSold specializes in relocation downsizing and estate sales, with team members operating in 20 states across various regions in the United States and Canada. From Georgia to California and Ontario to British Columbia, MaxSold offers support to retirees, with prices ranging from $300 to $700 and a 30% commission fee.
Gentle Transitions has been in business since 1994 and works throughout the state of California. The company provides comprehensive move planning, coordination and supervision. As a result, they’ll cover every aspect of your move, such as sorting belongings, professional packing/unpacking and resettling. Going the extra mile, Gentle Transitions ensures their clients feel at home by making beds, hanging pictures, organizing clothes in closets, connecting televisions and removing all shipping boxes. A dedicated move manager oversees and guides each move from start to finish.
JK Moving specializes in senior and accessible-living moves, with expertise in helping customers with disabilities. In addition, the company offers a range of support services, including downsizing, moving to adult- or assisted-living communities and personalized planning and management of all relocation details. Customers who want to move across town or the entire country can hire JK Moving for help.
Senior Move Masters
Senior Move Masters, based in San Diego County in California, provides professional relocation support to seniors. Their services include planning, packing and unpacking seniors in their new homes. The company assists clients in evaluating which of their belongings to get rid of and which to hold onto. In addition, the company offers personalized timelines and move checklists. This way, you’ll plan how to utilize your new space, hire a moving company, label and pack household possessions and arrange items in the new home.
Sage Relocation Services assists seniors in Ontario, Canada. Their offerings encompass move management, downsizing, decluttering and packing/unpacking services. First, clients receive a complimentary in-house consultation to define their needs. Then, the company creates a customized project plan, including timelines and pricing. Plus, the company finds new owners for discarded possessions.
The Move Managers
The Move Managers offers robust support to seniors in California, including Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita and southern Ventura counties. Their services address a move’s emotional and physical challenges. The company categorizes and organizes belongings to determine what will be kept, donated, discarded, sold or given to family and friends. The Move Managers also have relationships with reliable moving companies and professional packing services. Lastly, they’ll clean the former residence and ensure it’s ready for the next inhabitant.
A Move Made Easy
A Move Made Easy specializes in assisting seniors and individuals with disabilities in relocating to South Florida. The company’s connections with retirement communities and healthcare facilities help it excel in the industry. In addition, it collaborates with companies across the United States to direct long-distance moves. The company has senior move managers and personal move coordinators who handle various tasks, from packing possessions to organizing the new home.
A Move Handled with Care
Serving the Denver Metro Area, A Move Handled with Care has been a member of the NASMM since 2007. The company offers a comprehensive range of services supporting moving, downsizing and aging in place. The company, which offers free consultations, can aslo:
- Develop customized move plans with detailed tasks and timelines
- Catalog belongings
- Organize important documents
- Facilitate communication with family members on behalf of seniors
Changing Places, based in Westchester, New York, has been helping older adults and their families since 2005. Professionals from the fields of social work, nursing and project management run the company, which has an A+ Accreditation from NASMM. Its services cover various aspects, including creating customized floor plans, organizing, sorting, downsizing, auctioning/selling items, unpacking and resettling seniors.
Soft Landings Services
Soft Landings Services, based in Beaverton, Oregon, has also earned a NASMM A+ Accreditation for its exceptional senior move management services. They provide many amenities, including move management, estate services, finding an affordable future home and creating income projections for retirees.
Golden Bridges, operating in Missouri, assists with packing, moving and selling belongings. In addition, the company manages the move by vetting moving companies.
Easy Living Solutions, by Ginny
Virginia’s Easy Living Solutions serves Beaufort and Jasper counties in South Carolina and Chatham County in Georgia. In addition to decluttering and downsizing, the company implements a discard-and-donate program to help customers prepare their homes for the market.
Caretaker is helpful for seniors needing to quickly exit a lease, especially for those with health conditions. The company specializes in terminating leases promptly, facilitating moves with urgent timelines. It does so by taking over the lease and paying the rent, ensuring a legal and seamless transition. This service costs a one-time fee, typically ranging from 100% to 150% of one month’s rent, depending on the circumstances.
Downsizing offers several benefits for retirees, including simplifying their lifestyle, addressing financial considerations, adapting to changing health and mobility needs and promoting emotional well-being. The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) is a valuable resource for finding reliable downsizing companies. These companies provide a range of services, including decluttering, space planning, packing/unpacking, coordination of moving logistics, estate sales, donation and disposal services, home staging and relocation support.
Downsizing Tips for Seniors
- Although retirement means leaving the workforce, it can leave you juggling a host of responsibilities – and downsizing is just one of them. Managing your finances, including optimizing income streams for tax purposes and affording healthcare, is also a top priority. Fortunately, a financial advisor can customize a spending plan to make your resources last throughout retirement. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Downsizing is supposed to make life more affordable – but this isn’t always the case. For more, here’s a guide on the hidden costs of downsizing.
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