Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by ashley.davis
Downsizing for seniors is a common, yet emotional choice many seniors make when they consider their living options for their Golden Years. The home you live in may have housed an entire family at one point, and once they’ve all left there is no practical reason to keep a large home. You simply don’t need as much space. Some of other the common reasons a senior may choose to downsize include:
- Housekeeping: It becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with all the responsibilities of a home as people age. Minor home repairs, lawn maintenance, and other general chores can be a huge burden – especially in a multi-floor home.
- Cost cuts: Many seniors, especially those who live on a fixed income, need to budget carefully throughout their Golden Years. Selling a home in favor of a small home, apartment, or Assisted Living facility makes sense financially for many people.
- Simpler lifestyle: You might have had a lot of things like a pool, lawn, or home theater when you were young. But as you grow old, it becomes difficult to maintain them on your own. Downsizing helps you to remove the unnecessary things from the house. As a result, your life gets simpler and you have less things to worry about.
- Medical requirements: As you grow old, it is common to experience various health issues. As a result, you might need to move closer to your family or an adult day care. Or, family members and caregivers might need to be with you at all times. Downsizing helps you to stay in a minimize the extra stuff to make room for medical equipment, family members, and caregivers.
- Taking care of the logistics: As we get older, things like stairs, several floors, out-of-date restrooms, and long roads and walks become more hazardous. Moving to a one-story, easy-to-navigate location can help you grow old in one place.
What Are the Financial Advantages of Downsizing in Retirement?
The financial aspects of downsizing is highly beneficial for seniors after retirement. This is one of the major reasons behind downsizing your home in retirement. Below are some financial advantages of downsizing for seniors:
Cost cuts in cleaning and maintenance
Americans spend a massive amount of money every year in renovating and maintenance works for their home. Downsizing will let you cut this cost greatly as you will move to a newer property. You will also be able to cut costs in terms of hiring professionals for house maintenance.
Better flow of cash
When you sell your house before moving to a better and smaller setting, it will bring you more money. Your expenses will be lesser than before. And the extra money from the house sale will allow you to save up more.
Lower utility bills
Moving to a smaller space will mean cutting on the utility bills as well. A newly renovated home or apartment is usually energy efficient. As a result, you might be able to save more money from this area.
Moving to a smaller and more efficient home means the costs are low from every angle. This includes mortgage payments as well. You can save money from here and use that for senior-friendly vacations.
7 Great Downsizing Tips for Seniors
Going through a whole household of possessions and memories can be daunting for both seniors and caregivers, but sticking to this essential list can help keep the process smooth and simple. Some helpful downsizing tips to consider include:
1. Decide what your sorting system will be ahead of time
Figuring out how you will work through your possessions can help you stay on track and make sure nothing is overlooked. One good strategy is to start big. Move through every room – beginning with those you use the least – and get rid of the big items you know you will no longer need in your new home. This helps to clear out space so you can more systematically and more easily address the smaller clutter in each room. Throw away items that are not useful to you and hold no sentiment, and donate items you think somebody else could use. Make sure anybody who is helping you donate understands the types of items you plan to keep, toss, or donate.
2. Take your time
Sorting through your possessions and getting rid of things is not something you should expect to be able to accomplish on a random Saturday. The process takes time and thought – and you will feel much less stressed if you leave yourself with plenty of time. You will need to consider the schedules of the people who are helping you get rid of bigger items. You have to account for the time it will take to get items to the dumpster or charity drop off-center. Not every item in your home will fall cleanly into the “keep” or “toss” categories – you have to give yourself time to reflect.
3. Start with the unused parts of your home
Begin with spaces where you don’t live, such as extra bedrooms, the attic, or the basement. These areas generally include a variety of items that you don’t require and were unaware of. Another good place to start is the garage. Moving stuff out of this space may be physically easier.
4. Give people a chance to keep some of your belongings
Just because you won’t have room in your new home for something doesn’t mean someone in your family couldn’t use it. This is especially true for items that have been in your family for several generations. Ensure your children or loved ones have a fair shot at taking things that they want from your possessions before you trash or donate them.
5. Get yourself a floor plan of the new place
If you know the place you’re moving to, getting a floor plan would be highly beneficial to plan things ahead. It can assist you in judging the room spaces you will get. Thus, you will be able to figure out what things you can keep and take with you.
6. Be prepared to feel emotional
Last but not least, you need to be ready to deal with some intense emotions throughout the downsizing process. You might be surprised about the things you find while sorting through your possession and the feelings of sentimentality that could pop up. All the small things you’ve kept that summarize your life can hold deep power. That’s why it’s important to leave yourself time to savor the memories and reflect before you decide if you’ll keep things or toss them. In many cases, downsizing can be a very emotional process for everyone involved.
7. Move in and settle down
Moving in to a new place doesn’t mean just going there and living. You can take some time to get used to the environment and places around the new home. You will get familiar with the people to feel more relaxed and comfortable. But make sure to regularly connect with your family members and friends.
Downsizing and Decluttering Checklist for Seniors
Having a checklist in your hand while you declutter can be extremely helpful. So, keep this checklist in your hand to make the transition easier.
1. Starting early
It takes a lot of time to process the idea of downsizing. And if you are switching from a bigger place to a smaller one, it can take months. So, our suggestion for you would be to start at least 3 months ahead of the preferred moving date.
2. Finding and keeping the floor plan
Having the floor plan of the place you’re moving in can help you know the size and shape. As a result, you can decide what things to take and what not to.
3. Starting small
Start with the necessities, such as bathroom and kitchen supplies. Save the large, personal items for later. After you’ve established a routine for allocating the basics, you may find it easier to make decisions on the emotional items.
4. Avoiding multiple things
Aside from clothing, aim to keep only one of each item. Also, set a restriction for large-volume items like clothing. I
5. Creating a digital folder
Memorabilia such as photos, artwork, and letters take up a lot of room. You don’t have to get rid of everything. Take images or pay a firm to scan your favorite photos and films onto a tiny device that you can view whenever you like.
Dealing with the Emotional Aspects of Downsizing
Changing from one lifestyle to another is difficult. Everyone struggles with it. And when it comes to a new lifestyle for seniors, it can be even more challenging to stay positive while downsizing.
But you can always figure things out and we are here to help you through the process. The first thing to do is to give yourself enough time to think about every memories. Try to reminisce completely about the times you spent in the house and enjoy the moment with your loved ones.
When you are ready to shift, it is not the end of everything. We suggest for you to take a trial run. This means that you stay in a community for a few days or weeks first and then decide whether to permanently move in or not.
Getting help from someone can almost never backfire. There are professional movers to help you out. But having family members or friends beside you throughout can be more comforting. So, reach out to someone you love and maybe make a new memory over moving day.
Finally, engage with community people ahead of time. You can join different senior classes or clubs in the community and start meeting like-minded people.
Get Ahead on Researching Living Options
One of the most important things to think about when you consider downsizing is how you would like to live the next part of your life. Retirees have a few Senior Living options, and the most suitable option for you will depend primarily on your health and personal needs. Reviewing living resources tailored for older adults, like BoomersHub, can help you sort through your choices when it comes to successful downsizing, it’s all about minimizing stress, maximizing productivity, preparing yourself for the emotions you might experience, and researching the next steps. Happy packing!