In our society, where bigger often means better, downsizing your home may seem counterintuitive. Think of all the TV shows about house hunting. Potential home buyers are always complaining that the houses don’t have enough space. Have you ever heard anyone complain that they had too much? There are, however, legitimate reasons for downsizing your home. If you’re wondering if downsizing is right for you, here are some things to consider.
Who Should Downsize?
You might consider downsizing if you’re at a stage in your life when you’re motivated to simplify things. Empty nesters and retirees often decide to downsize their homes. People who find themselves newly single may not need, or be able to afford, their current home. The environmentally conscious may decide that larger living quarters are not in harmony with their values. And while downsizing implies going from more to less, making the decision to start out small, rather than accumulating and then reducing, could prove to be a wise move. The truth is, downsizing can be for anyone.
Why Does Anyone Downsize?
People downsize for a variety of reasons. You may decide that downsizing your home makes sense when your children move out or if you run into adverse financial circumstances like a job loss or bankruptcy. When you retire and are preparing to live on a fixed income, downsizing is a sound financial decision. Downsizing your home usually means that you have fewer bills, less maintenance, and more time and energy to spend on the things that matter to you.
When Should You Downsize?
There is never a bad time to simplify your life. You can start right now by cleaning out closets and cupboards. If you’re going through a major life change like an empty nest, a divorce, or retirement, it may be a good time to consider downsizing your home. Since many millenials are having difficulty finding jobs and places to live, they may find that starting small and staying small will allow them to achieve their goals. You can begin to downsize your home at any time.
What Should You Toss?
Over the course of a lifetime, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of possessions. While much of the stuff is just “stuff,” there are no doubt also important personal mementoes and heirlooms. You may have antique furniture that you love. Not all of it, however, will fit into your new, smaller space. Sorting through your belongings and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can be difficult and emotional. Think of it as curating your life. The most prized possessions that you cannot find a reason to keep can be given to family and close friends. Remember, you’re making careful decisions about the life you want to have going forward.
Where Should You Go to Downsize?
Once you’ve made the decision to go smaller, the next step is to find the right neighborhood. It’s important to remember the old real estate motto “location, location, location.” Finding a new home that is ideally located in terms of amenities is a very popular choice. People like having stores and restaurants close by within walking distance if possible. Gone are the days of driving the minivan from the suburbs to places across town. Saving money on gas, insurance, parking, and maintenance of a vehicle is part of making life more simple.
Once you’ve decided on a location that meets your needs, you should begin looking for the right home. For people living in large single-family houses, downsizing may mean finding an attached condominium townhouse or an apartment. You might even consider the extreme—a tiny house. Will you need a spare bedroom for frequent overnight guests or will a pullout couch suffice? Are you willing to consider a walk-up or would you prefer something on the ground floor? The possibilities are endless.
Downsizing your home is a major life decision. It is often a sign that your priorities are shifting. For that reason, it is a good idea to give careful consideration to your next move.