Downsizing is when you move to a smaller home than the one you currently have. This is frequently a decision which is made by those who now have an empty nest, are struggling to deal with the upkeep of their home or are finding the related costs hard to deal with.
Quote Source: Reallymoving.com
Reasons to downsize
It’s not an uncommon situation – downsizing in retirment. That large family home, which suited you when the kids were growing, is not appropriate for your senior years. Too big, too many bedrooms, too much space to clean. But the effort in moving is daunting too, because you will have x years worth of accumulated junk to fit into a smaller space.
This is the challenge – how to downsize and keep your sanity.
Downsizing to a smaller home should produce a number of benefits:
Lower upkeep costs
Less floor space equals reduced furniture, decorations and dust traps. Keeping all those rooms in an occupyable condition takes time and money.
Heating costs money, so heating empty rooms is pointless. And yet, turning the heating down or off in those areas also reduces the overall temperature in the house, and leaves the unheated rooms in a cold and depressing state. Presumably that spare room will be used for something – the occasional visitor, a gym, an office or just storage space. It needs to be kept at a tolerable temperature – an unecessary expense.
Extra space consumes it. The time to clean, cut the grass, sweep the patio. Time is a valuable resource in your twilight years – don’t waste it on chores that can be avoided by living in a small space.
Release of equity
Hopefully your family home is worth something, and many retirees are mortgage free. Either way, selling and buying a smaller space should release some money to fund a better retirement. Or at least one free of financial stress.
Move to an accessible house
If your body is complaining as you age, leaving the stairs behind can be a blessing. You can choose wider doors, lower steps, smaller garden. You can choose the house that suits your senior year lifestyle, not make do with the house that you have lived in for years.
Move to a better location
That might be near family, or near the beach. It might overlook a golf course, or be in the middle of a town with all the amenties nearby. Again, you have differing requirements in your senior years – access to health facilities, shops, leisure activities. And being close to your children/grandchildren means you can help raising your family too.
If you have no family ties (or want to escape them) retirement abroad is an option. A complete change of lifestyle, location, culture – if that’s for you discard your clutter and go for it.
Re-Evaluate What’s Important to You
How easy it is to just let the months and years go by, accumulating clutter and junk. Downsizing is an opportunity to cleanse – work out what is important , donate the excess to family or charity and fill up the local tip with the forgotten contents of your cupboards. What is left will have a value – quite an effort but worthwhile.
Or is it?
Reasons not to downsize
You will have less space
To entertain, or welcome the family for an overnight stay. Or, with a large family, just to find them all somewhere to sit. If you didn’t end up with less space it wouldn’t be downsizing.
Less storage space
Let’s face it, the actualite of sifting through your life’s possessions and deciding which ones make the cut is not easy. But if you’re not ruthless enough, your valuable space will quickly be consumed by the things you can’t bear to part with. Making for an uncomfortable lifestyle, and a wish you hadn’t moved at all.
A house is full of emotions, memories, favourite spaces. Leaving those behind can be a wrench. Ages 65-74 are popular for this activity – leave it any longer and the energy required for the research, packing, stress won’t be there.
It won’t be free. Unless you are reaping a tidy sum in equity, the cost of moving (legal, practical, day to day living) can easily outweigh any profit from the relocation.
Neighbours – always a lottery. If you like the ones you have, that’s a bonus. One that might not transfer to a new home.
Downsizing offers a certain way of releasing equity in your home and enjoy the proceeds. There are benefits for sure, if you can find the ideal location for an idyllic retirement – but it’s not for everyone.
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