Downsize your home – not your lifestyle. Top tips for stress-free downsizing to your new retirement home.
Downsizing used to be simply a solution for empty-nesters approaching retirement living with the need for less space as their children had left home. But these days it can be a practical and advantageous option for many seniors for a wide number of reasons. Downsizing into a new home can have a positive impact on your lifestyle. Downsizing in space doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or lifestyle. Moving into a retirement community village you can feel comfort in the fact that you are safe and secure while enjoying independent living within an active and dynamic community with a whole range of activities and programs on offer to live life to the full.
There are many positive advantages to downsizing into a new home. With a smaller house to maintain, you could have more quality time to spend with friends and family or your leisure activities. With fewer rooms you may have smaller annual household bills allowing more money in your bank. And with careful research and planning you may make a profit from downsizing your house that can be used to improve the quality of your life.
One thing that seems to come up regularly, when discussing downsizing, is how to dispose of unwanted items such as furniture, clothing, tools, gardening equipment, books etc. This seems to play an important part in the decision making but it needn’t be overwhelming.
Over the years, items accumulate in attics, garages and cupboards. The first step is to get organised. Sort items into three piles (or write three lists): items to be kept, items that will be disposed of and the “maybe” pile for those items you are undecided about. We have some tips to help you with the decision process.
1) Assess your needs
Take an honest look at your daily routine and activities and assess items that are already part of your lifestyle. Take your time walking through your home and really consider whether items are necessary.
2) Tackle all your storage areas
Go through all your storage areas (garages, cupboards, shelves, the attic). Put aside the things you don’t use and consider when was the last time you used it. Be honest with yourself and decide whether it holds sentimental value or whether it is really useful for your lifestyle today. Check whether items still work. If you find boxes of items that haven’t been opened in years there’s a reason for it ... You don’t need them.
3) Measure your furniture
Consider the furniture you are taking to your new home. Measure it all carefully and compare it to the floorplan of your new home. This will give you a good idea of whether you should keep it or not.
Go through your wardrobes and consider when was the last time you wore an item, whether it still fits, do you like it still and is it comfortable.
Once you’ve decided what to keep for your new life, you need to work out how to dispose of your unwanted items. Some things can be thrown away or recycled if possible if they are in poor condition or inoperable. There are different options for the rest of your items.
1) Try selling them to raise some extra money. Try using an online selling site such as eBay, Gumtree or Trading Post or failing that your local newspaper or noticeboard at the grocery store. Or have a garage sale. When holding a garage sale or selling items online that will involve the buyer collecting from your home, it is important also to think of personal security. Don’t do it alone; make sure you have other members of family or friends around to protect your safety and reduce the chance of theft.
2) Donate goods to a local charity. If you have a few things they may even collect.
3) Give sentimental or other items to family and friends.
Storage solutions can be useful also for organising all your items in your new home. Space saving solutions such as underbed storage boxes, vacuum space bags, hanging racks, and storage cubes can be a great idea to maximise your space.
Then relax and enjoy.