The Emotional Side of Downsizing: How to Manage the Process

March 4, 2023

Downsizing is a shrewd move for many older adults. It allows you to forgo the time-consuming upkeep and hefty bills associated with a large family house. And it enables you to craft a new space suited to the changing demands of aging in place.

That said, the move can be emotional. Most downsizers leave behind the family home – a home connected with memories, comfort and time-tested routines. Moreover, they are moving to an unfamiliar space, perhaps for the first time in decades.

If you recently decided to take the leap toward downsizing, take a proactive approach to your emotional well-being. In this article, let's discuss how preparation, support, balance and anticipation can help you manage the emotional side of downsizing.

Prepare a Ceremonial Goodbye

Moving homes is a significant milestone. And, like all milestones, we benefit from ascribing the proper emotional weight to it. You wouldn’t let a decade birthday or wedding pass without a party – why let a move come and go without fanfare?

Many downsizers who leave a family home benefit from a “ceremonial” send-off, a meaningful gesture that helps solidify the transition. This process might involve inviting family and friends for one last blowout, where you eat together, laugh together and share memories. (You might even convince your grown-up kids to stay the night – for old-time's sake!).

Find Support Throughout the Process

The technical and emotional aspects of downsizing often go hand in hand. As you wade into the challenging tasks of decluttering, selling, packing and organizing, you might rightly feel the pinch of stress and fatigue.

To manage your emotional well-being, consider compassionate downsizing services. An expert downsizing service will aid in every aspect of the process: organizing belongings to keep, sell, donate or discard; packing, coordinating moving trucks and unpacking; organizing your new space and more. Allowing them to shoulder the technical burden of downsizing frees you up for the next two steps.

Strike a Balance Between Letting Go and Holding on

As you work with a professional downsizing company, you will likely need to make some tough decisions. Because downsizing involves moving to a smaller space, you will need to audit your current belongings to ensure everything fits in your new space.

Strike a balance between letting go and holding on. Obviously, keep the items that bring you joy –items with emotional and personal resonance. Where possible, consider digitizing physical items like photographs and documents to save space. And start early; the process takes time.

Find Joy in Your New Place

As important as it is to honour the memories and resonance of your old home, it’s equally important to give your new home a fair shake.

Go ahead and get excited! Dream up all the ways you can enjoy your new home, whether it's walking to a nearby pond, dinner parties with new neighbours or even sampling new restaurants in the area. Anticipation often breeds optimism.

Likewise, establish a routine when you get to your new home. With the help of professional downsizers, organize your new space as soon as possible to ensure that you start your new chapter on the right foot.

Hopefully, these steps help to soften the emotional weight of your big move. Remember to take your time, find support and stay optimistic.


I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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