It was hard enough to speak to your loved one about moving into a senior living community, but now the decision has been made, there is the problem of what to do with all their belongings. They may have lived in their home for years and have items that date back decades, and this is going to take you a while to sort through. Follow this guide on how to de-clutter when moving your loved one to a senior living community and it will make the job a lot less stressful. 

Measure the New Space

It is important to know how much space your loved one is likely to have in their new accommodation and whether any items such as furniture and crockery are already provided. This will give you an idea of what your loved one will need to take with them and what you should get rid of. A good facility such as Belmont Village Senior Living will be able to provide you with a list of things they supply and a list of things your loved one will need. Knowing how much space they will have should give you a good idea of how many personal items they can take with them, and it will give you a discussion point if they do not want to get rid of anything. 

Don’t Do It All at Once

If you can de-clutter in stages, it is better to do so. Of course, this might not always be possible if, for example, your loved one has had a sudden stroke or is told their medical condition means that they can no longer live in their home, since they may need to move quickly. However, any time you do have should be utilized to avoid you and your loved one getting stressed out by trying to do everything at once. Go to their home at regular intervals and de-clutter one cupboard or room at a time. Throw away things they no longer want and make a separate pile of the things they want to give away or donate. Then you will only be left with the things they want to take with them.

Decide What to Do with Unwanted Items

If your loved one is quite sentimental, they may get upset at the thought of having to get rid of anything. However, as the accommodation they are moving to is likely to be a lot smaller than the one they are moving out of, it is inevitable that a lot of things will have to go. Your loved one may have an idea of where they want some of their belongings to go. They may have promised a prized treasure to one of their family members, for example. 

Once you have re-distributed promised items, it is time to decide what to throw out, donate, sell, or keep. Throw out the things that are no longer fit for purpose, such as a broken kettle, and discard anything that your loved one has not used in the last six months. If they haven’t used it in their home, they won’t need it in their new community. 

Your loved one may want to donate unwanted items to a charity of their choice as this will give them the reassurance that their belongings will go to someone who needs them, and that they will be used again. If you want to get rid of a lot of things this way, it is worth contacting the charity to see if they can collect the items. Some of the larger charities will offer this service for bulky or substantial items and it can save you a lot of time and effort if you don’t have to make multiple trips to a drop-off point. 

If you are selling items, then a garage sale is a fantastic way to do this as it means that you can get rid of all the unwanted items in one day. This will save you the trouble of having to list everything individually on the internet and store it until it sells. You can still reassure your loved one that their belongings went to good homes, and they might make some money out of it too. 

Decide What to Do with Valuables

Your loved one might not want to take a lot of valuables with them to their new home and this is understandable. However, it does leave you the issue of what to do with these items. If your loved one does not want to give them away at this point, then storing them is the only option. If you have the space and the desire to help out, you could store them yourself. However, you should be aware of what you are storing and how valuable the items are. This could make a difference to your home insurance premium, and you will need to let your provider know what extra valuables you have taken in as they might need to be listed separately on your policy. 

If you are unable to, or uncomfortable with the idea of storing these belongings, there are plenty of secure storage facilities that can be rented to keep them in. You will have to shop around for a good price, and this will be dependent on how much space the valuables will take up as well as their value. 


Store important documents securely and separately and know where they are. You may need to find documents such as your loved one’s birth certificate, will, or power of attorney documents in a hurry, so you will need to be able to locate them and access them easily. Your loved one’s bank may be able to offer a storage facility, otherwise there are companies that specialize in document storage. 

Moving your loved one into a senior living community can be stressful for everyone involved. Follow this guide if you want to get organized in advance and make things easier when the big day arrives.