Is Downsizing Right For You?

Downsizing has become a popular topic of conversation of late, especially with so many Baby Boomers retiring every day. It is important to consider all that is involved before you make the decision to downsize. First of all why do you want to do this? Is it due to financial constraints? Perhaps you lost a job and can no longer afford to live in your home and need to move to a smaller more economical place. You may want to move from a multi-story home to a single story home to prepare for your needs as you grow older. You may want to move to a warmer climate, sell everything and start over in a new location. You may want to sell everything you own to become a nomad and travel the country or the world. You may want to move in with someone else and there isn’t room for both of your belongings. You may need to move to an assisted living facility due to health reasons. (If this is the case some drastic downsizing has to occur to accommodate the small living quarters.) Regardless of the reason it is important to discuss the change with your family to make sure everyone understands your reasons and goals. Do you have family members that can assist with the process? Are family members likely to want any of the items you no longer want? Consider how you feel about your material possessions and how attached you are to them. Are you going to be able to easily make decisions about what to keep and what to not to keep? How difficult or easy will it be for you to let go of your possessions? How will you get rid of items you no longer want or need? Will you want to try to sell things yourself? If so how do you want to do this, online or perhaps through an estate sale? What items can you donate or give away? There are several groups online that will allow you to offer items to sell or give away, such as Facebook Marketplace and Spread Kindness Facebook groups, Nextdoor.com, or Letgo.com How much time will it take? It is better to give yourself more time with the process rather than trying to rush through it, which can be very stressful. Have two sorting piles, one to keep and the other remove. For the remove items decide what to sell and what to donate. Downsizing has advantages, you can reduce the amount of clutter in your home, and simplify your life. It will reduce the amount of time you have to spend cleaning or doing yard maintenance.

Before beginning the process consider your current lifestyle and visualize the lifestyle you want to have in the future. Consider the size of the space you will be downsizing to and the needs you will have. Do you need space for a home office? Will you need space for family or guests to stay? Do you need space for exercising or a home gym? Do you love to cook and want a gourmet kitchen? Do you love to read and need space for a library? Will you need a car or will you be moving to a metropolitan area that provides public transportation? What hobbies or activities do you enjoy? What new hobbies or activities will you be pursuing? For example, if you golf or fish you will need space to store the equipment for these activities. If you like to bike or boat where will you store these things? Maybe you want space to have a workshop or craft room. If you have an RV, where will you store it? How many cars will you have? Do you need extra space to store them?

If you will have a yard will you be doing the maintenance or will you hire it done? If you plan to do the maintenance, consider where you will store the equipment needed, lawn mower, weed whip, clippers, rakes, shovels etc. Organization is key when moving to smaller quarters.

What about clothing? If you are moving to a warmer climate you may not have a need for warm coats, boots, sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves. Do keep at least one set in case of unexpected cold bursts or if you plan to travel. Can you live with a pared down wardrobe? Have you considered the minimal wardrobe trend?

If you love to entertain, where will you accommodate this in the new space? When considering furniture for the new location think about pieces of smaller scale that will fit in a smaller space. Have furniture pieces with extra storage and multi-functionality. Consider beds that come with under bed storage, or a murphy bed.  Think about storage benches and ottomans, and tables that fold down or can be expanded when needed. If you need ideas check out some of the ingenious furniture pieces used in apartments or tiny homes. Ensure items can serve more than one purpose. Many people when moving to smaller homes do not think about storage in advance and this may become a problem. Consider what appliances you will want to use and where you will store them. The best way to prevent clutter is to make sure you have a space for everything, and items you have can serve more than one purpose. Consider vertical space for storage, like taller shelves or floating shelves. Organization is key when moving to smaller quarters.

Downsizing is a big job that will take time. Start small with one room or closet at a time. If you need help there are Senior Move Managers in many communities. You can find out more by visiting the website for the National Association of Senior & Specialty Move Managers at https://www.nasmm.org/. There are also professional organizers that may be helpful to hire, you may find one in your area at https://www.napo.net/ , the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.

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