Homeowners decide to downsize to a smaller house for many reasons. Some downsize after their children grow up and move out. Some want to move for retirement. And some homeowners just want to simplify their lives.
If you’ve lived in a house for years, you may be overwhelmed by the idea of having to cut back on your possessions. You may worry that you won’t be able to adjust to living in a smaller home. Yet more homeowners are starting to realize the benefits of downsizing.
Benefits of Downsizing Your Home
Living in a smaller home offers great benefits. Rather than thinking of moving to a smaller home as having to give up certain things, think of living in a smaller home as gaining freedom from:
- Cleaning all those rooms
- Paying heating and cooling costs for rooms you rarely use
- Spending weekends doing yard maintenance
- Spending more money to buy things to fill the space
- Collecting more and more belongings that end up in storage
If you’re worried it might be too big of a transition to move to a smaller home, track your own use of each room in your house. Most people actually spend their time in just a couple of rooms. Ask yourself: is most of the square footage of my home used for storage or living?
Make Your Downsizing Plan
- Start visualizing where you’d like to live. Make a list of “must-have” features you’d like in your new home. For instance, you may require single-level living, or proximity to public transportation.
- When you begin the process of getting rid of things that won’t go to your new home, start with the basement or attic, where many items are probably already in boxes. From there, go to the rooms you use the least, and begin sorting through items to donate or sell.
- Don’t try to do everything in one weekend. Set a realistic schedule of how much can be done in a couple of hours over the course of a few weeks or months.
- Choose which items will go with you to your new place. If you can’t bear to part with something, talk with members of your family to see if they will take it for you or help you sell it.
- Paper can take up a lot of room. If you have too much to shred, hire a shredding company to get rid of documents you no longer need. Recycle magazines and newspapers. Scan photos to save room.
- If you get stuck and start to feel it’s taking too long, clean out one drawer. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment and motivate you to keep going.
Remember to allow yourself enough time. Even if you are planning on downsizing your home in a couple of years it’s not too early to start the process.