When it comes to retirement, one thing many soon to be retirees consider is downsizing to a smaller home that will better suit their needs. They may look at a variety of retirement communities, a location with warmer weather or a location that is closer to family during the downsizing process.
However, making the actual move is often a decision that many retirees will delay. Reality sets in and those who want to downsize think about all of the possessions they have accumulated, repairs that may need to be made and how to price their home. All of these thoughts can be overwhelming and often the soon to be retirees have no idea where to start.
We have compiled a list of five steps that will help make the process of downsizing much easier.
- Start Immediately: Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your move. Starting sooner than later will help the task become less daunting. Try to remember, the physical process of moving can be done by others. Perhaps family members can help, or you can hire movers. Make your primary role to be the one who organizes, cleans out and direct the processes. Here are some excellent questions to ask yourself in order to get started: Where do I envision myself and what options are there that fit my vision? Think about your goals during this step. What goals do you have for your next chapter? Do you want less square footage, a more affordable home, a home that is move-in ready or one that you can make small repairs to your liking?
How big is your new home? Once you have decided the where and what aspirations you have for your new home, you will want to consider the size. This will help you determine what furniture you currently have that you should keep or if you should sell those items and purchase new ones.
Will your move be difficult? Heavy furniture or boxes of books can be too heavy and cumbersome to move easily. It may be time to clean your home out and purge unused items that are large and inconvenient to store or move.
- Make a List: When it comes time to clean out and purge, homeowners often get stuck in the process. When you aren’t sure what to keep or what to get rid of, a list can really help. When you aren’t sure about an item, add it to a list and then ask yourself some questions. For example, can you live without this item? This will help you determine if the item is worth keeping.
- Get Your Children Involved: In some cases, retirees are cleaning out and preparing to give items to their children or grandchildren. If you get your children involved in this process you may actually find out that they do not really want what you thought they wanted. Invite your children over to help your sort through and find out what they do actually want.
- Sort in Large and Small Categories: While sorting through your things, keep the size of your new home in mind. In addition, consider the style you wish for your new home. Will this item in question fit in storage, in your new layout or will the style work? Smaller items are harder to decide whether to keep or not due to their size such as kitchenware or pictures. Just keep in mind organization in your new home while sorting through smaller items.
- Donate, Sell or Toss: Once you have sorted through your belongings, you should categorize them into three options. Some items will not be worth selling and a great item for donating. Of course, there may be items that just need to be thrown away, so sort carefully and use your best judgment during the process. There are many ways to sell your goods either by garage sale, estate sale, local selling websites and consignment stores are all great places to start.
Remember, when downsizing, you can start the process early to make it easier. Don’t hesitate to start cleaning out before selling your home. Organize your storage belongings as soon as you can, sort through and determine what will be done with each item. Downsizing can be a fun adventure if you start early, stay organized and ask for assistance where needed.