Before you move into a village you need to do this… 94



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Making the lifestyle change to move into a retirement village can be one of the most exciting times in your life. When you decide it is time to embark on a new adventure, a new chapter of your life that is designed to make you happier, healthier that makes living easier, you have every reason to smile. But as an older Australian, before you do this you need to do one big thing that can often be daunting just to even think about: downsize.

A family home is filled with things that accumulate over the many years you live there. People find family heirlooms, wedding gifts from 40 years ago, children’s school books, photos, a collection of handy man tools, sewing kits and arts and crafts baskets, clothes that haven’t been worn in 20 years, books that haven’t been read for ten and so many other things that are “nice” to have but are completely unnecessary.

Because there is so much of this stuff and a lot of it holds strong emotional ties too, downsizing can be so difficult. As humans we tend to put off doing things we don’t like and downsizing fast becomes one of the things on the “procrastination list”!

The good news is that downsizing doesn’t have to be so difficult. As long as you prepare yourself for the task ahead, have strict guidelines for what is to stay and what is to go and have a merry band of helpers so it’s not a one-man effort, you’ll be cleared out and downsized in no time.

So once you know what kind of home you are moving in to and have an idea of the space and lifestyle, you can get serious about downsizing. To help you, here’s some guidance on how to make it stress free and an easier task than it seems.


1. Prepare yourself

Preparing yourself is often the difficult task – especially for women. To make downsizing a pleasant experience you have to accept parting with some items that may hold sentimental value. There are ways you can take the spirit of these items with you, which can make the transition easier. Old print photos can be scanned to a computer to keep forever. Old books that you might have once enjoyed as your first novel that hold value that you think you’ll still read can be found online and downloaded to handheld devices. Family heirloom furniture and belongings can be distributed amongst other relatives – offer it to the family on a first in first served basis that way you know it is going to a home that appreciates it.


2. Make your guidelines

It’s important to have strict guidelines on what to keep and what to disperse in different ways. Organising and downsizing expert, Rebecca Carlow from Raw Beetroot Organising Consultants told us that a good way to start is with the important things. “Start early and make a list of the items you love and can’t do without, then edit heavily the items with no sentimental value” she said. Then with the “throw out” pile, establish if it is going to charity, being sold through a dealer, Gumtree or on eBay or being given away. Have strict guidelines on what items go where to make sorting and distributing easier.


3. Find helpers

It’s a lot easier if you have help. Friends and family who you trust and can give a couple of hours on a weekend are a great resource – just pay them with lunch! Grandkids make great helpers especially as they can help with cleaning and the older ones can help to lift things and even make decisions about items. If you are worried about what to keep and making the big decisions there is always professional help available, just ask the village if they have an organising consultant they can recommend!


Downsizing is an important step so you want to do it the right way. Tell us, have you downsized? How did it go? What advice can you share to others that are doing it too? 


This article is sponsored by Aveo retirement villages. For more information on your lifestyle options take a look at the Aveo website or call 13 28 36. Please note this article was written independently by the Starts at 60 team as it provides insights to, what we feel is, valuable and relevant content for our community.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I moved from a house to a unit, not retirement village but similar. First was furniture,measure space, don’t be sentimental, sometimes new works well. If you haven’t used or worn in last 12 months you don’t need it. Memories are good digitise, keep one thing for each memory.

  2. I have just down sized at 71 & it’s exciting,sad & an emotional & physical roller coaster.My biggest tip –do it between 50 & 55.

    6 REPLY
    • I had to eIt till 62 when I reignited to move to different area houses just as beautiful but cheaper so we got change..yeah

    • My biggest tip is to constantly do it every year. I am 67 and know within 10 years I will downsize so once a year I do a clean and give away and throw out the things I haven’t used in 2 years – I do this by thinking if my kids were doing this after my death what would they throw out. This year it was all the theatre programs from a trip to the West End in London 23 years ago! It’s hard but worthwhile and it also means well organised cupboards for the next year. Right now I’m sorting photos, labelling them and throwing out the ones that have no real meaning.

  3. We’ll be carried out of here. There is no way we could downsize nearly 40 years of possessions plus our late parents possessions. Besides. He carried me over the threshold of this house when we were newly married. He can’t do that again…. without a wheelbarrow.

    3 REPLY
    • He could talk u over a new threshold u will feel ten years younger,,memories r in your heart they r only possessions.

    • We downsized last year we lived in our house for 44 years we built it
      Had three kids there .one who came back with his wife to live
      It wasn’t easy but it was good to throw out the clutter
      Now 12 months later the new house looks great

  4. Don’t downsize too much! Even after giving away lots of items, still can’t find a place for all the remaining stuff.

  5. Find a furniture builder who specializes in down sizing. We did it and have a six seater dining suite still and a couple of buffets just narrower and bed bases with drawers and be ruthless with your linen. No need for 6 sets of towels or sheets. One on one off is my motto.

    5 REPLY
  6. I downsized when I moved to my little town. Unfortunately, I have managed to collect a whole lot more “stuff” and am back to where I started from.
    I am now attempting to clear out my so called “office” so that all I will have in there is my desk, filing cabinet and computer.

  7. It is frightening for me as I live with a hoarder

    2 REPLY
    • Me too, have been ruthless with my stuff but still he won’t start on his. I’m not moving till he does it.

    • Thank you Linda Carley. I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I’m too ashamed to have people here. We have large verandah all round the house which are covered in rubbish and a huge shed that is full of rubbish and 3 acres covered in stuff. What is also frightening is if he dies first I just couldn’t do it. X

  8. I downsized after my divorce in my 40’s and intend staying put in my own little house till I can no longer cope or drive, if they take my licence away then I will get a mobility scooter and when I can no longer ride it the I may think about going into care but I am going to live till at least to 101 just to be able to tell my children, grandchildren and hopefully great grandchildren, I told you so.

    3 REPLY

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