What is rightsizing vs. downsizing?

What is rightsizing vs. downsizing?

The choice to consider your next move “rightsizing” or “downsizing” is really up to you.

Downsizing is more a straightforward and circumstantial approach, and basically defines the process of getting rid of furniture and other household items that you don’t need or that won’t fit into a new space. Rightsizing seems to be more of a cup-is-half-full type of idea. It’s about customizing your space to align with your goals, aspirations, needs — and the way you want to live right now.

Your move could mean that you’re choosing the simplicity, convenience and opportunities that come with being part of a senior living community like Spring Harbor at Green Island, or it might mean you’re just adjusting to a smaller living space, condo or apartment closer to family. Assessing your needs and thinking mindfully about your desired situation is the best way to start planning your path forward.

Why Rightsize or Downsize?

The idea of rightsizing is more like adjusting your perspective and realigning your space to meet your current life's needs while downsizing seems a result of a change in circumstances —like when the kids leave home. Whichever term fits you best, you’re the one who needs to define what’s really important to you.

Ask yourself a few questions to help assess your needs and wants. The idea is to find your optimum living situation with the right combination of services, amenities and lifestyle to support your changing needs.

Ask yourself the following questions to rightsize your home:

1. Do you want to be closer to family?

2. What’s the main reason for the move — medical, financial, maintenance-free lifestyle?

3. Without the time-consuming chores of homeownership, what would make life more fulfilling — lifelong learning, volunteering, pursuing fitness goals, and attending cultural events?

4. Are you thinking about a senior living community with Independent Living, Assisted Living and Continuing Care?

5. If you are thinking about a senior living community, what types of services, amenities and lifestyle would suit you best — now and for the long term?

6. What size residence and floor plan would work for you — a lock-and-go apartment or a Garden Villa?

7. There’s something for everyone out there, so define your budget?

Tips on how to downsize and stay positive

Once you have your optimum living situation defined, it’s time to make a plan. Moving isn’t easy and you shouldn’t consider doing it all by yourself. No matter how long you’ve been in your house, it can feel like an overwhelming task. You might not even know where to start. With a little help, it’s easier to get going and stay motivated. It can help make the process of downsizing and rightsizing your space a positive experience.

Now is the time to look at the big picture and stay upbeat about your plan. Here are a few ways to ensure positivity during an often stressful decision making process.

  • Try it before you buy it. If you're looking at a senior living community like Spring Harbor, ask if you can stay for a few days to try it out. Check out the amenities, relax in the common areas and meet some potential new neighbors.
  • Focus on your new happy place. Change is hard, and there will be tough days ahead. But think about the new “happy place” you’ve defined and all the extra time you'll have when you’re finally living there.  
  • Make future plans to look forward to. During and after your move, plan to meet or chat with friends and family. It’s nice to think that some things won’t change. You’re not alone.
  • Talk to others who have done this already. Those who have already downsized can be a great help and provide the support and encouragement you need. Some communities have special moving managers that can help with specifics.
  • Get help and laugh often. Even if you hire a professional moving manager, there's a lot of detail in downsizing. Invite friends and family to help, maybe share a glass of wine, take time with your treasures, and just laugh at those old photos from the 70s.

Preparing to downsize and rightsize 

Expert shave defined a step-by-step approach to downsizing a lifetime’s worth of treasures, belongings and stuff. The moving pros say to start early and move through it methodically to ensure your smooth transition. All the while, keep imagining how great it will feel in your new happy place. With lower stress levels, maintenance-free living and more time on your hands, the resulting peace of mind is totally worth it. 

The National Association of Senior Move Managers is a not-for-profit, professional association of organizations dedicated to assisting adults and families with this process. With extensive, practical knowledge and expert organizational skills, the NASMM recommends ten ways to prepare to downsize your current home in order to make your future move easier:

Start Early—End Happy: It’s never too early to begin the downsizing process. Begin by focusing on typical problem areas such as the attic, basement, garage, closets, and file cabinets 

Get Generous: Since you can’t take everything to your new home, now is the time to make arrangements to “gift” some of your treasures to special people in your life.

Save Your Memories: Consider ways to preserve family photos and stories, with a customized process of audio and video recordings called Life-Storing. Copy special photos on CDs or try scrap booking.

New Looks for Books: Downsize your collection. Consider donating to libraries or senior centers, or sell to used bookstores.

Use It Up … Don’t Move It Out: Take an inventory of your canned goods, frozen foods and paper products. Plan to use as many of these products as you can before moving, or think about passing them on to a local food pantry.

Recycle the Toxins: Take time to put household, yard and automotive cleaning products in a box and visit for more info on hazardous collection in your area.

Don’t Lose Touch: Create a list of people, places and utilities/services that need to be notified of your upcoming change in address.

  • Post office
  • Credit cards
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment/retirement accounts
  • Medicare and Social Security
  • Voter registration
  • Family and friends
  • Driver’s license/car registration
  • Newspaper/magazine subscriptions
  • Social clubs and places of worship
  • Notify broker, lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, and anyone else

Space Plan Ahead: Most Senior Move Managers can provide you with a customized floor plan of your new residence. A floor plan will help you determine the pieces of furniture that will fit in your new home, and the best location of each.

Pack a Go-Bag: Put together a bag for move day. It might include personal needs (medications, eyeglasses, toiletries, change of clothes, important papers, etc); kitchen needs (snacks, drinks, folding chair, disposable cups and plates); basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, flashlight, tape, etc); cleaning supplies (sponge, roll of paper towel, soap); and payment for mover.

Ask for Help

Don’t be too shy to ask for help. Moving is not easy and you shouldn’t do it all yourself. But don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help. Some of these downsizing steps require weeks to months to accomplish.

Conclusion: Rightsizing is a welcome relief at any age.

Decluttering, downsizing and focusing on rightsizing are some of the best things you can do for yourself at any age. Many people say, “I should have done this years ago!” Of course it’s best when it’s a personal decision, so it’s important to ease into the idea with family members who seem reluctant. Keep the conversation open — especially when it’s time to shovel snow, rake leaves or seed the lawn. Visit some potential places and check out the easy and fun lifestyle. Simplified and happier living is a welcome relief at any age.

Schedule a time to tour our stunning community, meet the vibrant residents, and let us answer your important questions. Once you step into our world, you’ll understand why so many seniors happily call Spring Harbor home.


Visit Spring Harbor at Green Island

Schedule a time to tour our stunning community, meet our vibrant residents, and let us answer your important questions. Once you step into our world, you’ll understand why so many seniors happily call Spring Harbor home.