People downsize for a variety of reasons, including financial and family-related motivations. When you’re contemplating the decision to downsize, the first step is to agree that it’s time to let go of the house and to then create a timetable for moving, packing, and selling the old home. Once you have a plan, it’s time to get to work on sorting items and getting rid of them.
Why People Downsize
Many people who are close to retirement or entering retirement decide it’s time to downsize. To help stretch out retirement savings, people downsize to reduce their yearly expenses. Not only is the mortgage typically less expensive when you downsize, but the property taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments tend to drop as well. Other people downsize to move closer to family, move to a dream location, or to cash in on equity.
Some people decide to downsize because their current home makes them feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s the physical demands of the lawn and climbing stairs or the mental worry over finances, a larger home can mean more stress and issues. Downsizing can also be a good idea if the home is full of rooms that are no longer in use. Homeowners find that it doesn’t make sense to waste money on a mortgage and utilities for unused space.
Sorting Through Items
First and foremost, ensure you have plenty of time to sort through items. You don’t want to rush through it and move with too many items or toss something that was valuable. Instead of viewing downsizing as one big project, look at it as a series of small projects. Begin by sorting through one area/room of the home or one category of items (like furniture, clothing, etc.) and divide them into three piles: keep, toss, or donate.
Downsizing inevitably means getting rid of furniture. Not only does it take up the most space, but it also cost more to move bulkier items. Because fitting furniture in your new space is a practicality issue, it’s sometimes easier to sort these items first. Many times people hang onto an item because they think the item might be useful someday or because they aren’t sure what to do with it. “If you haven’t used it in over a year, or if you see no immediate use for it in the coming six months, purge it from your life,” says Money Crashers.
Sometimes you’ll come across items that you know you shouldn’t keep, but you find them hard to part with. Many times, it’s easier to let go of a possession if you talk about the item before separating with it. You can also take a photo, write down your memories about the item, or record family members sharing their memories.
Having a Yard Sale
If you’ve properly sorted through your items, you should have a pile for selling. While you can utilize pawn shops, consignment stores, and online sources, don’t underestimate the tried-and-true method of hosting a yard sale. Not only will you get rid of your stuff, but you can also earn some cash, which is a great way to offset some of the moving expenses, such as paying for a professional moving company or a senior move manager.
The first step is selecting a day. Try to avoid having the yard sale in the middle of summer or in the throes of winter. People are less likely to show, and those who do will be eager to get out of the weather quickly, so they won’t spend as much time or money. Spreading the word is crucial. Place signs and flyers around the neighborhood, and consider posting about it on social media. Price items low and know that a lot of people will negotiate. When the yard sale is over, donate any remaining items.
Regardless of why you’re downsizing, be sure to create a plan that includes a realistic timetable for moving, packing, and selling the old home. You need to leave plenty of time to sort through your items so you don’t feel rushed. Once you’ve created your piles to keep, sell, or donate, follow through. Moving and sorting can be stressful, but keep the end goal of downsizing and all of its pros in mind.
Author: Michael Longsdon (ElderFreedom.net)