Do you need to downsize before taking the next step in your retirement journey? The thought may seem daunting and the task overwhelming, but downsizing does provide a great deal of benefits for today’s seniors. In fact, many of our residents have found that once they made the decision to sift through old belongings, clear the clutter, and free themselves of the day-to-day maintenance that being a homeowner entails, they were able to focus on what really matters – their health, well-being and care. After relieving themselves of those physical possessions and responsibilities, they realized there was so much more to gain than there was to lose.
As experts in retirement living, we understand the struggles and hesitations of the downsizing journey all too well. The process is inevitable however, and having proper guidance and a strong support system throughout the process is necessary – and that’s why we’re here to help.
Before you take a deep dive into the downsizing process, the first thing to do is plan ahead. Meet with a downsizing specialist, such as Caring Transitions, before placing your house on the market and allow them to develop the road map to get you to the next phase of your life. A good downsizing company will develop a timeline based entirely around your needs, ensuring that the process is as simple as stress-free as possible.
The average timeline for downsizing will vary depending on the work needing to be done. There are packing, moving and unpacking stages. Time will also be needed to provide a liquidation service (through an estate sale or online auction) to prepare the house to be placed on the market.
We all know life can change quickly, and there are many reasons to downsize as you age. Health issues can sometimes develop that require you to adopt a new lifestyle that isn’t possible in your current living situation. Home repairs and upkeep can get very tiresome. You might start to feel socially isolated, which can take a heavy mental and emotional toll on anyone. Making the decision to downsize can help resolve all of these issues.
That’s why it’s important to start this process early. According to John Buckles, founder and president of Caring Transitions, "the biggest mistake is waiting until you sell your home or tragedy happens. A good rule of thumb: start paring down at least one month before you list your current home for sale.” In fact, we often find that the majority of our residents who made the decision to downsize end up wishing they had done it sooner!
When considering your options for moving help, keep in mind that typical movers don’t help with the packing, unpacking, or liquidation processes that are involved with downsizing. You are required to do all that yourself, which can be very overwhelming, especially at an older age. Specialists like Caring Transitions understand the values and memories that are tied to each belonging you own. They take your move seriously to ensure that your items are handled with respect, love and care.
Deciding to downsize also provides huge financial benefits like savings on home repair, maintenance and landscaping. Once you make that transition into retirement living, you have the flexibility and leisure to do the things you enjoy. Downsizing allows you to finally leave the worry of home and yard upkeep behind and enjoy your golden years in the best possible way.
If your main concern is that your new home will feel too small, you’re not alone. We hear concerns like this all the time, which is exactly why prior space planning and taking the “needs” rather than the “wants” are so important. As long as you commit to the process and plan ahead, your new home will feel comfortable and cozy rather than cramped and claustrophobic.
In our opinion, the simplest and best way to save space is to eliminate items in the home that are no longer being used. Start by sorting and removing items that you have not used in the past 3-5 years. Look to get rid of things that are collecting dust, and you will find that creative organization takes a back seat to simple decluttering. These tips will give you a good frame of reference before embarking on this moving journey.
We hope these pointers give you the confidence boost to tackle this life hurdle head on. Whether you just need help getting started or would rather take a hands-off approach to downsizing, don’t be afraid to recruit specialists to assist you. Remember to take it step-by-step so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the size of the project, and it will be smooth sailing.