The thought of moving to a smaller home, at certain stage in life most likely, will make a lot of sense logically but it can be difficult – both emotionally and physically. After many years listening to our clients going through this process, we have created this small guide with hopes that it can help you. The most important thing is to get you into the right mindset and trust the process.
#1 – The Reason and it’s perks
Moving into a smaller space can be challenging – therefore it’s important to identify the reason(s) why you’re doing it and understand it’s perks. The perks are what will get you through this process, giving you that extra fuel to get it done.
- Equity release – Probably your home is your biggest asset (or at least one of them), and as you enter retirement, getting yourself some good extra cash in your bank account can be VERY appealing as your steady income will be less than before.
- Getting help – Assisted living may be necessary or just appealing to you, as you’re getting older but still want some independence.
- Reduce the Living Costs – getting a smaller space means less cleaning, maintenance, utilities payment and in some cases taxes.
- Emotional healing – Maybe you’ve suffered a bereavement or become and empty nester; moving to a smaller house might help by not letting a big house overwhelm you and it comes with a change on scenery.
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#2 – Downsizing Your Stuff
This is key and can be really hard to accept. Intellectually you know that downsizing your home means downsizing your belongings – but emotionally it’s a different ball game. Since, we already have listed the perks, this is when you cling on to them and get totally on board with the concept of downsizing, trying to make this process as exciting as you can.
Elsie was frustrated with the property maintenance, upkeep, and cost. She no longer needed that size of a home and the running cost involved with maintaining the home. Facing the day-to-day financial stress of having to carry the cost of such a home she decided to simplify and not continue worrying about expensive house payments. We were able to close on the home sale with cash preventing her from facing foreclosure, she instantly received a sense of relief.
#3 – Declutter Your Belongings
Downsizing means decluttering, there are no ifs or buts. Start with the simple: get rid of things you no longer need, use, and/or broken things (yes, we all have things that we say, we will fix and never get around to do it). To keep you focus on the perks: the more you get rid of, the less you have to move!
Categories of things you should get rid of:
- Duplicate Items
- Items from past hobbies
- Items or files from your past work.
- Broken / Damaged Items
- Items you never use
- Excess furniture and/or outdoor equipment – moving to less bedrooms, you won’t need all the beds in your current house, or probably your gardening will be as good with less equipment, etc
- Nostalgic Items that can be stored somewhere else– if you have adult children that have their own homes, they can store majority of that memorabilia.
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#4 – Downsize Your Stuff
After decluttering, take a closer look on what you are keeping and your next home. It is very important to understand this concept, because it might sound a repetition from the last tip but it’s not.
For example, if you are moving from a big house to an assisted living facility or an apartment, chances are that some of your furniture might be too big and then make your new place feel cluttered or even uncomfortable to move around.
In order to do this successfully, you may want to ask for a copy of the floor plan of your new place, with the dimensions of the living space and the square footage. This can help with planning things out in what will be a smaller property, knowing the space well, and understand it better.
Once you have settled what will make sense to move, all your unwanted items (including furniture) in good condition can be sold on Facebook marketplace or Next Door, also you can hold a garage sale on your neighborhood – that way you can allow people to come and pick up the items directly from your house which will save you a lot of hassle and time.
The key is to think about what you truly love, and what you really need. That’s all you should be taking with you.
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#5 – Get Family Members Involved
Trusted family members can help you in many ways through this process, specially when we are referring to nostalgic items and family heirlooms. You may well find that these close family members will happily take a few items that remind them of special loved ones to treasure in their own homes.
Also, who said heirlooms need to only be given away after you pass? If you already know what you would like your children/grandchildren to have as an heirloom, why not give them to them now, or let them make the decision whether they are kept or not. Most of the times, giving these heirlooms while you are still on earth, makes them even more special.
When referring to nostalgic items, you need to think about what memories the item evokes, and how important it is to you. If it doesn’t make the cut, then find a way to repurpose it, or give it to someone who would love and appreciate it.
Tips for Nostalgic Items:
- A memory box is a good idea if you will like to contain things within a certain amount of space.
- A photo book with pictures of all the sentimental stuff so you can look at all of it whenever you want, but they take up virtually no physical space at all.