A lot of people reach retirement and realize that the home they raised a family in is now more than they need. When it’s just one or two hanging around the house, what’s the point in having multiple bedrooms and bathrooms that all require constant upkeep? When you downsize into a smaller home, you can find something that facilitates the retirement of which you’ve always dreamed. The money you save on living expenses can go toward the things you love. Furthermore, a smaller house is safer and better facilitates aging in place.
Downsizing isn’t always the best decision -- for some people, it doesn’t make financial sense. For instance, if you find that the costs associated with selling the primary home are so high, and the sellers end up not making enough of a profit to roll into their new home. Or, if the property holds sentimental value and is expected to be passed down through generations, downsizing may not be the right choice for that particular family either. There are always exceptions to the rule.
Deciding whether or not to downsize is, in the end, a personal decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But if you do decide that downsizing is right for you, making smart choices along the way will make sure you don’t regret the decision.
Look for a Single-Story Property
In cities across America, townhomes are considered the current “it” properties everyone wants. However, if you’re looking for a house in which you can safely age in place, you’re going to want to skip the trend and look for something on a single-story instead. As we age, our bodies go through a lot of changes. For many of us, our strength and coordination are not the same. While we could bound up and down stairs in our youth, it’s considerably more difficult in our senior years. By avoiding stairs and steps altogether, we remove a considerable risk from the household. Falls are one of the most dangerous injuries for people over 65 and can lead to intracranial trauma fractures and even death.
Give Yourself Time for Downsizing Possessions
If you’re moving into a smaller home, you can’t take all your things with you. Even with all the storage solutions in the world, if you try and fit a large home’s stuff into a smaller unit, you’re just going to end up with a cluttered mess. Give yourself a few months leading up to putting your home on the market to start getting rid of stuff.
Have kids come home and take anything they want. Donate old clothes, toys and gently used items to local charities that can either sell or repurpose them for a good cause. If you want to make a little moving money, consider throwing a yard sale or listing big-ticket items including furniture on Craigslist. The longer you give yourself to do this, the less stressful it will be. Furthermore, you’ll have more time to make the best decisions regarding downsizing your possessions so you don’t end up hastily getting rid of something you end up needing.
Make Moving Day Easy
Another thing to consider on moving day is your precious pup. Having the home packed up and strangers coming in and out taking boxes can cause anxiety in dogs. That anxiety can lead to problematic behavior including dashing out the door. Instead of risking it, have your pup boarded on moving day so he can play and be monitored in a safe and fun environment. You can swoop him up when you’re all done like when you picked up your kids from daycare.
While being young was fun, getting older has more advantages. For instance, while you used to throw your friends a case of beer and some pizzas to help move, as an adult you now have the resources to actually hire professionals who can get the job done. When hiring movers, ask around for recommendations and pick a company that is fully insured not only for movers’ injuries, but also for broken or misplaced items.
Downsizing is a great way for seniors to make life simpler in retirement. When looking for a new home, be sure to pick something on a single story to facilitate aging in place. Give yourself a few months or more to go through items and get rid of things you don’t want to bring to the new home. Finally, make moving day easier by acquiring the help you need to pack safely and soundly.
Content written by Jim Vogel
Photo courtesy of Unsplash