Steps to Downsize in Retirement

June 6, 2023

Entering retirement is an opportunity to reevaluate what matters most to you. Decluttering and downsizing your lifestyle allows you to focus on priorities like your family, friends and passions. You can also save money and spend less time cleaning. Sounds pretty good, right? See how easy it can be with our list provided below.

30 Things Every Retiree Should Get Rid Of

Use this list to help you start decluttering and downsizing your life. 

1. Your Home

Moving is an emotional decision, but you likely have unused space in your house if you’re an empty nester. Plus, selling your home can save you significant amounts of money. 

2. Clothes

In your new retired life, you won’t have much use for your old work clothes. That collection of suits, blouses and other professional gear will only take up room in your closet. Unless you genuinely plan to wear some of the pieces again, it’s best to donate or sell your work wardrobe.

3. Kitchen Gadgets

Over the years, you’ve probably collected quite a few kitchen gadgets. But how often do you use them? Inventory your kitchen collection and only keep the essentials. If an item has collected dust or has been sitting in the back of a cabinet for years, it’s time for it to go.

4. Extra Furniture

Downsizing your home means you can only take some of your furniture with you. Sell or donate extra guest bedroom furniture and anything else that does not have an intentional place in your new home.

5. Books

Unless you have a sentimental connection with them, there’s no need to bring a collection of books you’ve already read to your new home. Even if you haven’t read your entire library, ask yourself if you’ll ever get around to doing so. If your books have sat untouched for years, they’ll likely do the same in your new home.

6. Old Files

If you review your files, you’ll probably notice a lot of this paperwork is no longer relevant or necessary. If you want to keep copies, digitize the documents so you can always access them without having piles of untouched paperwork in your home.

7. Holiday Décor

You don’t need to become a Scrooge, but you can winnow down your holiday decoration collection to the most nostalgic items. In a downsized home, you’ll have less space to display your holiday décor. Plus, over the years, you’ve probably collected some things you don’t care for anymore. 

8. Sports Equipment

Unless you’re actively and frequently using your sports equipment, there’s no need for the old baseball and soccer gear to move with you. If you ever want to get back into a sport in the future, you can rent or buy inexpensive used equipment.

9. Luggage and Purses

All you need to travel is one suitcase and one duffle bag or carry-on per person. As for purses, keep one for everyday use and a backup for special occasions. 

10. Knickknacks

When looking through your knickknacks, ask yourself whether these items add value, or if they merely occupy space. Only keep the items you see having a valuable place in your new home.

11. Obsolete Electronics

Technology continues to advance, and those old computer monitors and answering machines are no longer necessary. You’re likely not using these items, so they’ll just collect dust at your new home.

12. Outdated Media

Survey your magazine, CD, DVD and VHS tape selection. While you do not have to get rid of the entire collection if you still prefer to watch DVDs or read physical magazines, remember that most of your favorite media are available digitally.

13. Old Board Games

After years of use, many of your board games have seen better days. It’s time to throw away games with missing pieces and damaged parts.

14. Guest Linens

If you currently live in a multi-bedroom home, you probably have linens and towels galore. One spare linen set and a couple of extra guest towels are all you’ll need in your downsized home. 

15. Storage Units

Save money by saying goodbye to your storage unit — or at least moving to a smaller, more affordable one. Take a long look at the items in your storage unit and only keep what you genuinely need.

16. Your Children’s Stuff

Spend an afternoon reminiscing and sorting through your children’s things. You don’t need to hold on to every school art project your child completed, but you can save some of the most meaningful pieces. 

17. Your Car

If you live with a spouse or partner, do you both need a car, or can you share one? Downsizing to one car or switching to a more financially friendly option is an excellent way to minimize your monthly expenses.

18. Home Décor

Moving into a new home is a perfect reason to change your home décor. Get rid of those decades-old throw pillows and accent pieces and treat yourself to a fresh look.

19. Lawn Maintenance Equipment

Depending on where you move, some townhomes or condos may come with lawn care services included. Even if you’re still responsible for your lawn care, you can find a landscaping company to take care of it for you. If you enjoy doing yard work, downsize your equipment to only what is necessary for a small lawn.

20. The Junk Drawer

Say goodbye to everything in the junk drawer. The name says it all — it’s junk! There’s no reason to bring it into your new home. You’ll probably find yourself with a brand-new junk drawer right away, but at least you can make a clean start.

21. Spices

Have you checked your spice cabinet recently? There are likely a lot of expired or duplicated seasonings. Take inventory and keep one fresh container of each spice. 

22. Office Supplies

While some office essentials are always good to have, you don’t need several boxes of pens and pencils or piles of notepads. All the supplies you keep should easily fit inside one drawer.

23. Miscellaneous Chargers and Cords

There’s no reason to keep an untouched or mysterious charger or cord. If you haven’t used it yet, you’re unlikely to need it in the future. 

24. Fine China

Unless you’re hosting weekly parties, your fancy tableware will only occupy valuable space in your cabinets. Pass your collection to your children, or sell it for some extra cash.

25. Missing Pairs

From socks to food storage containers, leave behind anything that does not have a match. After all, you won’t find its mate in your new home.

26. Exercise Equipment

While being active is essential in retirement, you don’t need equipment to stay in shape. Remember, getting fit can be as simple as taking daily walks around the block.

27. Collectibles

Are you passionate about collecting specific items? If you’re not still actively building your collection or it no longer brings you joy, it might be time to say goodbye. Give other collectors a chance to enjoy the products and make some good money along the way.

28. Tools

Sure, a hammer and screwdriver are always good to have around, but do those power tools still need a place in your home? Probably not! 

29. Jewelry

Jewelry can be valuable and hold a lot of sentimental value, so it’s understandable you would struggle to part with it. However, if you have pieces that never seem to leave the jewelry box, it’s time for them to go.

30. Debt

Downsizing your home helps you save more money per month. Put some of these extra savings toward paying off any debt.

Start Your Next Chapter at Garden Spot Village

If you’re ready to make the most out of your retirement, contact Garden Spot Village today. We offer various home styles and an active community full of retirees like you. We look forward to welcoming you to your new home soon.

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