Seniors often find themselves making important lifestyle decisions in retirement. While some
seniors are happy staying put, many consider selling the family home and moving somewhere
else. Downsizing is an attractive way to save money, reduce household chores, and simplify life.
However, there are some important things to keep in mind as you embark on your downsizing
journey. Take note of the following tips to ensure the process is positive and successful.
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Consider Your Lifestyle When Picking a Location
The very first step of downsizing is deciding where to live during your senior years. Although it’s
important to think about factors like city size, weather, medical care, transportation
infrastructure, and safety, your lifestyle should be a key contributor in your location decision.
What kinds of activities or hobbies do you enjoy? Are there any new experiences that you’d like
to try now that you’re retired? Ensure that you will be able to engage in the activities that you
value wherever you end up.
Researching online can help you learn several important things about your top cities, such as
the recreational activities available and what citizens love about living there. Be sure to look up
homes in the city to gauge the affordability of the area.
Choose a Home with the Future in Mind
Although it can be tough to think about your future care needs, planning this far in advance can
be beneficial. If you want to age in place, Building Design and Construction recommends
looking for homes that will accommodate your changing needs over time. For example, houses
with zero-step entrances and wide hallways will be more accommodating for future wheelchair
or walker use than those with more than one floor or tight living spaces. Make sure also that the
surrounding neighborhood is walkable and public transit is readily accessible.
It’s also critical that you avoid purchasing a home that requires a lot of work. Buying a home “as
is” may save you money in the short run, but many of these homes have major problems like
structural issues, mold, and non-functioning systems that will be expensive to repair and make
aging in place much more difficult.
Declutter One Step at a Time
When it comes time to start decluttering, take it slow. Many people make the mistake of
decluttering too much too quickly and end up feeling burnt out. So, to get started, try to declutter
one shelf, cupboard, or storage box at a time. If you’re having trouble deciding what to keep and
what to get rid of, ask yourself questions about each item you’re stuck on. When was the last
time you used it? Do you really like it? Is it still meaningful to you right now? Try not to hold onto
things just because they’ve always been in your life.
Of course, if there are things you really want to keep but simply don’t have room to keep in your
new home, consider renting a self-storage unit until you make a concrete decision. However, it’s
important that you have enough room in your household budget for this additional expense.
Plan Out Your New Space
Use the dimensions of your new home to plan what to do with your existing furniture and décor.
This will help you decide which larger pieces to keep and which to pass on.
HGTV recommends drawing out your new home’s floor plan and cutting out paper scale models
of your furniture so you can move them around. Don’t forget to consider the closet space in your
new home as well. You can visualize your new home’s storage space by taping off your existing
closets based on the dimensions of your future closets. That way, you can see what will fit in
your new home.
Plan Your Move Months Ahead
It’s smart to start preparing for your move a couple of months before your actual moving day.
This will give you plenty of time to declutter slowly, pack up all of your possessions, sell
everything you no longer want, and tackle all of the other tasks that come with moving. Try to
book your moving company as early as possible. Then, create a simple moving timeline so you
don’t forget any essential tasks, like canceling your utilities or notifying the post office.
Downsizing is an amazing way to simplify your life in retirement. There’s just something so
refreshing about decluttering all of our possessions and getting a fresh start in a new home
without all of the financial obligations and chores that drag us down. When you’re ready to start
the downsizing process, follow these tips to ensure everything goes smoothly.