Downsizing leads to freedom and financial flexibility. Whether you're a baby boomer or simply looking for a lifestyle change, it might be time to move on from the chores and upkeep of that large suburban home and spend more time and money doing the things you enjoy without the hassle. But downsizing isn’t always easy and can take a lot of work. Here are a few steps and tips to help you along the way.
1. Assess your Actual Needs: Is a large home still necessary and does it cater to your lifestyle? Perhaps your children have purchased their own homes and they can begin to host Christmas and big family get-togethers. Or perhaps you'll be spending a few months down South and you no longer want to worry about your pipes freezing and whose going to look after your house while you’re away. If you find that you’re no longer enthusiastic to look after your home, it’s likely time to consider downsizing.
2. Plan It: You may not be ready to downsize right away, and that’s okay. Often times, the process can take up to 2-3 years. Your family home likely holds a lot of fond memories and it may take you a few months to come to grips with downsizing. Also, getting your home ready to sell takes time and effort.
3. Go Through Your Home: It takes a lot of work, time and patience to downsize. While some people can downsize quite quickly, most cannot. You have to go through the shed, garage, crawl space, attic and even more tedious cabinets, shelves and closets. The more you go through and organize now the better off you will be later in the process.
4. Give to Charity, Family or Sell It: Plan a big garage sale for the Spring or Summer, donate your clothes, jackets, shoes to charities and that old comic collection from your teenage years, perhaps it’s time to pass it onto a niece, nephew or grandchild. For diplomas and professional awards, scan it, digitize it and give away the frames.
5. Organize New Space As You Unpack: In many cases, your new condo or dwelling will be approximately 40-50% of the size of your old home. Each person will prioritize their new space differently but as long as you unpack and organize as you move in, you'll be fine. Automating also helps, downsizing is not just about getting rid of items, but also cutting costs. An automation system for your lighting and heating can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over time.
6. Relax & Enjoy: Remember this is meant to be a positive experience. Downsizing is not about letting go and forgetting. Rather, it’s a new chapter or lifestyle where you can use the addition of time and money to pursue the activities in life that make you and your family happy. You've earned it.