Downsizing is a common trend among seniors who are looking to focus on the more meaningful things in their lives. In fact, 60 percent of seniors say that they have more possessions than they need. Finding a new, smaller home for your retirement years is a great way to cut down on clutter, clear your mind, save money, save time, and accommodate any medical conditions that may be limiting your ability to maintain a large yard or climb staircases. Keep reading so you can avoid common downsizing mistakes that cause regret, frustration, or exhaustion.
Start Your House Hunting Online
Starting your housing search online is a great way to get an idea of the smaller homes available in the area where you want to move. This can help you come up with a realistic budget for the size and location you’re aiming for. Use websites like Redfin to discover useful information about the prices and square footage of housing in your area. For example, homes in Robbinsville, New Jersey, have sold for an average of $335,000 in the last month.
Go Through Your Possessions Slowly
Many people make the mistake of going through all of their belongings at once. This can get overwhelming, especially when you’ve lived in the same house for decades. MoneyCrashers recommends downsizing your larger items and taking all of your small possessions with you. Just make sure that any furniture you keep will fit into your smaller space — this is where it’s helpful to obtain a floor plan and measurements of your future home. For the smaller things, you need plenty of time to go through everything. This will keep you from getting rid of the things you need in your new home or sentimental items that you’ll regret throwing away.
Designate a Place for Each Item You Keep
Even if you have enough time to go through all of your things before moving, it’s still difficult to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. To help you out, think about where each item will go in your new home. If you can’t find a place for it other than storage, it may be time to say goodbye. Think about entire rooms you have in your current house that you won’t have in the next one, such as an office, garage, or guest room. Then, you can get rid of most everything in those rooms, packing a few of the items that you can still use.
Sell Whatever You Can
You have several options for selling your valuable items. Depending on how much stuff you have, you may want to consider getting your belongings appraised — your antiques may be worth more than you think! Books can be sold on Amazon or to local bookstores, and electronics can be listed on eBay or Craigslist. You may even want to hold a garage sale to see what you can get for miscellaneous items like children’s toys and clothing.
Approach Moving Day with a Solid Plan
Moving day can be stressful, so make sure you have plenty of assistance. Book a moving company at least four weeks before your move after finding movers that you can trust. If you’re having trouble getting rid of things, rent a self-storage unit so you aren’t left cramming boxes into your new place. That way, you can deal with your items later when you have more time.
Remember to update your address with various government services, utilities, magazine subscriptions, and credit cards companies. Check out this list by Lifehacker to ensure you don’t forget anything. If you have pets, arrange for a family member or pet sitter to take care of them during moving day to prevent them from feeling stressed out.
Downsizing your belongings and moving into a smaller space can be one of the most significant changes you make in your life. You can never go too slowly when it comes to large life alterations like this. Throughout the process of downsizing, keep your end goal in mind so you can stay motivated. Before long, you’ll be well on your way!