Today, many seniors are recognizing the advantages of downsizing. After a lifetime of work, raising children and a number of other responsibilities, choosing a smaller dwelling space in retirement can reduce housing costs, eliminate many maintenance tasks and free up time to enjoy your passions and pursue new hobbies.
But let’s face it; preparing to move to a new and smaller home can feel overwhelming and stressful. How do you know when it is time to downsize? Here are a few tips to consider when you or an aging loved one decides to move to a smaller home.
When Should I Consider Downsizing?
While it’s not always easy to know when to downsize, there are a few signs that suggest it is the right time to consider a move. Ask yourself these questions to help determine whether now is a good time to downsize.
- Am I retired or approaching retirement?
- Is my house too large for my current needs?
- Is housekeeping and maintenance becoming dangerous or difficult?
- Is my house becoming a financial burden?
- Do I need a different layout, such as a single-level floor plan?
- Would a smaller living arrangement reduce my stress and workload?
Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, you will need to take steps to make the move as smooth of a transition as possible.
- Start early. If you think moving to a smaller space is in your future, don’t put off sorting your things and organizing your belongings until the last minute. The sooner you can start the process of downsizing your possessions, the easier the transition to a smaller living space will be when the time comes to move.
- Create a plan. Once you’ve decided to downsize and you know where you are moving, create a plan to help simplify the process. Start by understanding the layout and dimensions of your new home, room by room. This will help you determine which of your current items you can fit, where they will go and what belongings you should part with.
- Declutter and organize. One of the most overwhelming tasks involved with downsizing is going through your possessions and deciding which ones you’ll take with you and which ones you won’t. One helpful strategy is to sort everything into one of three categories: keep, sell/give and trash. Sort through one room at a time until all your possessions have been categorized.
- Enlist help. Downsizing requires some tough, emotional decision-making, and you don’t need to do it all by yourself. Ask family and friends to help you. To simplify the process, ask yourself these questions about each possession.
- Do I need it or want it?
- Does it have sentimental value?
- Do I use it frequently?
- Do I have another item that serves the same purpose or function?
Bottom line: Sorting a lifetime of belongings and memories can feel overwhelming. But with a well-thought plan and a lot of support from family and friends, the downsizing process can be a positive experience for everyone involved.