Downsizing 101: Guidance And Advice For Seniors

There is a growing trend amongst senior citizens of downsizing their homes during their twilight years. Once the family is out and on their own, there are fewer reasons to keep the old family home. Guests become rarer over time, and living on a retirement fund doesn’t always allow for extra bedrooms and the costs that go along with them.

While the benefits of moving into a smaller home can be obvious to some. The thought of downsizing can be daunting. Leaving behind memories and the years of effort put into your home can be a difficult prospect. However, with proper planning, there’s no reason the transition can’t go smoothly and perhaps even be enjoyable.

How to Downsize

Start Early

Downsizing is not something that you want to try to complete in just one weekend. You should start early and give yourself plenty of time, at least two months if you can afford it. Downsize one room at a time with a checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything. Making sure that you take plenty of breaks.

Going through old rooms and possessions can stir up quite a few emotions, both good and bad. If you go into the task prepared for these reactions, then reminiscing and remembering can be a treat instead of torture.

Get Rid of the Duplicates

If you have several items that are essentially the same, then take this as an opportunity to get rid of duplicates. This is an easy way to sort through the clutter. The whole point of downsizing is to move to a smaller place. Naturally, this means you’ll have less room all-around. Yes, this means storage space too.

All those knick-knacks you’ve been holding onto most likely won’t have a home in your new lodgings. These items can be easily passed to your children or grandchildren. Many times it’s the small, seemingly random things we keep that hold the most value. Your mother’s favorite kitchen knife, your father’s hand-me-down cast iron pot. Passing these items on can turn relocating into an event for the entire family.

Put Things in a Yes or No Pile

You may have been told that if you want to declutter, then you should put things into three piles; a yes pile, a no pile and a maybe pile.

Pro-tip: you do not want a maybe pile. Maybe piles only mean double work passed down the road.

There’s an easy way for you to decide whether to get rid of or keep certain items. If it’s something that you use on a regular basis, keep it. If you haven’t used it in over a year, or you completely forgot the item existed until you uncovered it, discard it.

Get Help

Downsizing is not a task that you want to try to tackle on your own. That is why it’s a good idea to reach out for help. You can ask your children and grandchildren to help. Not only will you get done more quickly, but you will also be able to bond with the people you love while sharing the memories your home holds.  

Benefits of Downsizing

Save Money

If you downsize and move into a smaller house, then you will be able to reduce your monthly payments. Even if your home is already paid off, selling your home and downsizing means the difference in price can be added to your retirement savings, or invested for the next generation.

You may also be able to save money on utilities. Smaller homes generally mean smaller monthly costs. The less you have allocated to monthly expenses, the more freedom you will have with your finances.

More Free-Time

One significant benefit of downsizing is the increase in your free-time. Generally, it is much easier to clean and maintain a smaller space.

Because you will be spending less time cleaning and on home maintenance, you will have more time to do the things you love. That means less dusting and more dancing.  

Reduced Consumption

Clutter comes from buying too many things you don’t need. If you live in a smaller space, you’ll run out of free-space sooner, and you’ll be less likely to buy things you don’t need. Or so the logic goes…

Minimize Stress

Because you will be able to minimize your workload and save money, you can reduce your stress levels. Many people who downsize are happier because they are no longer burdened with the demands of living in a large place.

The process of downsizing can be ripe with emotion and confusion, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be unpleasant. Preparing both your home and your head for the upcoming changes will serve you well. So remember these tips and get ready for the next new and exciting chapter in your life.

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