Whether you’re planning to downsize or are still deciding, these great tips will help you stay sane in what can be a challenging and bittersweet time. Whether you’re an empty-nester, a retiree, or someone just looking to lead a simpler life, you may have considered downsizing your home and purchasing a condo or smaller property. In fact, 51% of adults over 50 plan to move to a smaller home for convenience.
Whether you choose to stay in your home or downsize, housing increasingly becomes more important as we age.
We all know that decluttering and paring down our belongings can be a freeing feeling, even when you’re not moving. It can also be emotional and a little stressful, especially if you’ve lived in the same home for a long time.
WHEN WILL I BE READY TO DOWNSIZE?
Deciding when it’s right for you is a very personal decision. But here are some questions you can ask yourself.
- Do you have a lot of equity in your home?
- Are you still able to maintain your yard & home?
- Do you have unused rooms in your home?
- Are you overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have to manage?
- Do you feel isolated from friends and family?
If you’re dealing with a lot of wasted space or clutter in your home, or if you’re feeling separated from the people and places you love, it might be a good time to consider downsizing.
SOME OF THE BENEFITS TO DOWNSIZING
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MARKET
Right now is an incredible time for seniors looking to sell their house and move into a smaller one. Many buyers are hungry to move into an established, mature neighbourhood and are willing to pay you a premium for your home. Just imagine what you could do with all that equity.
CUT YOUR MONTHLY COSTS
Generally speaking, a smaller home means lower monthly bills. If you’re on a fixed income, mortgage payments, home insurance, and property taxes may can reduced and it can also mean lower utility and repair bills.
LESS HOME MAINTENANCE
You may have enjoyed your sprawling yard and swimming pool for many years and perhaps your grandkids still love it but having a large home and property is a lot to maintain. Smaller backyards and less property to maintain is the goal of many long-time home owners.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, things like staircases, long driveways and sloping hillsides can become a bit of a burden as we get older whereas a main-floor lifestyle can be very appealing to senior Canadians—whether it’s in an apartment style condo or bungalow floor plan.
Most grandparents would agree, it’s lovely to watch your grandchildren grow. The idea of moving to a home that’s closer to where the kids live is as great reason as any to consider home downsizing.
WHERE DO I BEGIN?
The easiest way to start the process of downsizing is by letting your mind wander to where you’d ideally like to end up living. Are you considering a condominium? Do you want live in a smaller house? Maybe you’re interested in exploring an adults-only community? Before you choose, try talking to your friends and family about your ultimate goals and see what kind of input they have to offer. Once you’ve decided, it’s time to get your plan in motion.
ENLIST THE HELP OF OTHERS
Friends and family are great help when it comes to sorting, lifting and packing. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Remember, your REALTOR® will put you in touch with junk removal and cleaning companies that will help you get through this process as seamlessly as possible.
AVOID THE DUPLICATES
Other than your clothes you should try to keep just one of each thing. You don’t need 3 sets of measuring cups—pare down what you don’t actually need and set a limit on what you actually do need.
ENJOY THE MEMORIES AND TREASURES OF YOUR HOME
While packing up may seem bittersweet, take time to talk about and share memories of your treasures in your home. Giving sentimental items and furniture to your loved ones can also make you feel good knowing that they’re going to someone who will appreciate them.
Memorabilia like photos, letters, and collectibles can take up lots of space. Sort what you’d like to keep and give away what you don’t think you need anymore. Take photos of these things, or hire a company to digitize your favourite pictures and videos that you can look at any time.
DOES IT SPARK JOY?
When in doubt, remember the words of the professional organizer Marie Kondo. She says, if you haven’t used it in a year, and if it no longer sparks joy for you, maybe it’s time to let it go. The message is, some belongings are quite sentimental, but if it’s not, and it’s no long serving you, don’t be afraid to let it go or give it to someone else. We’ve put together a moving day checklist that will help you get properly organized for the big move.
Change can be tough, and you may have some rough days. In those cases try to think about how your life will improve with these changes and tell yourself that you’ll be just as happy at your new home too. Just think of all the extra time you’ll have to enjoy your days and family instead of doing lots of cleaning, property maintenance, or just trying to find things. This is a fresh start—a new adventure with amazing new memories to be made! If you live in Brantford and are thinking about downsizing your home, I’m available to help you get started and help you through every step of the way.