Downsizing — parting with things — is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. It’s even more difficult if a move to a new, smaller place will follow. That’s a tremendous amount change to cope with for anyone, but particularly for people who’ve owned their things for many decades. Here are a few tips to offer a loved one who must make downsizing decisions about furniture.

  1. Decide what’s absolutely essential for the new place, such as a bed, a couple of chairs, and the television. Measure these items and be sure they’ll fit into the new home. If not, the decisions are made for her. The king-sized bed won’t fit? Then she can’t take it with her.
  1. Prioritize furniture that functions as storage, such as chests, bookshelves, corner cabinets, china closets, and so on, rather than lots of chairs, tables, and sofas. A smaller space means she must find or create as much storage space as possible. Prepare her for the fact that she may need to use storage pieces in new ways. For example, a chest that now holds table linens in the dining room may have to store clothing in the new bedroom.
  1. Choose pieces that meet her body’s needs now. For example, she has some chairs with arms and some without. Take the ones with arms; she’ll need them to help push herself out of the chair.
  1. Choose the safest pieces of furniture. Chairs without wheels are much safer than those with wheels. A high, four-poster bed is dangerous if she can’t get in and out of it without falling or using a stool.

Any other suggestions on furniture decisions? Let’s hear them!