Practical Guide to Downsizing for Seniors
Checklists, Step by Step Guide and Tips on Downsizing to a Smaller Home
Leaving a place you used to live in could be a bit bittersweet, especially if all you could ever take with you are the memories you’ve made with the people you hold close to your heart and the moments you’ve garnered with them in it. Moving for retirement is both emotionally stressful and at the same time, elating.
Many older adults decide to sell their current house and move to another place for economic reasons. However, they usually find the idea distressful. From sorting your baggage out, packing, deciding what date you are going to move, and setting up your new home; which I might add, downsizing for seniors is exasperating.
Plus the nerve-racking process of moving to a smaller place since it obliges you to bring only the “essentials”. Due to such time-consuming plan, sometimes, you would end up having second thoughts on leaving. But in spite of the never-ending process, older adults are usually in for downsizing after retirement. With two main goals in mind; reducing such high-maintenance at home and utility costs for the following years.
There are so many benefits of downsizing for seniors who are in the retirement stage For instance, you may have gotten tired of mowing your wide lawn every Sunday afternoon, tired of cleaning such spacious house daily, and you may have noticed how so much stuff in your home attract dust and contribute to clutter.
There have been significant positive feedbacks from seniors saying their life started to improve the moment they began to downsize after their retirement. Unlike before, their life has become much healthier and happier. Plus the fact that their usual expensive way of living few years ago has finally changed, made it more convincing for others to do the same.
5 Tips on Downsizing to a Smaller Home
It has been a year since the day you decided to retire and finally enjoy life with your significant other, family, or with yourself. But something is hindering you, usually questions that are starting with “Where”, “When”, and “How”. Here are some few tips on downsizing to a smaller home for your new yet simpler life!
Timing is Everything!
Just as we thought downsizing as early as possible is a good idea, however, you might consider many factors before doing it so. There are so many factors that you might need to take into account before deciding to downsize your home. These factors may include the current state of real estate market, interest taxes, costs of houses, and most importantly, your lifestyle goals. Your lifestyle goals is the most important factor you badly need to reconsider even if the rest are stable if you are still not yet ready to leave the old routine behind, might as well delay it further more. There’s always a right time for everything.
What Exactly are Your Goals for Downsizing?
You are getting hype about moving to a new place, meeting new people, and living a new life, this might be one of your goals but are these the only stuff you need to establish for downsizing? How about your financial state? Have you reassessed how much money moving to another place could cost you? Why are you moving to a certain place? Does the place could benefit you in certain aspects? Does this place offer free healthcare services? Would this move get you closer to your family and friends? Is it the weather and the routine of the people there you are running after? You might need to keep this all in mind before doing any sort of engagements related to moving and downsizing your home.
Pick up the Best Yet Affordable Place for Your New Home
You have so many ideal places and houses in mind but can either pick one. You are even having a hard time deciding whether to downsize to a town 10 hrs drive from your house or to the other side of the world. You can ask recommendations from friends or relatives, or even to those people you know living to that town/city you are bearing in mind. Or if not, you can surf in the internet and voila! It could help you, too, on choosing the best place for you. Places with the best weather you wanted, with houses near the beach, apartments, the best medical care, affordable community with exceptional homes, and many more!
Discover Various Alternatives
Every night, you keep on thinking of leaving home and moving to another place would be something to look forward for? You start asking yourself whether it’s necessary to leave when you are still engrossed with your current life along the neighborhood? You wanted to travel yet at the same time, you don’t want to give up your house. Explore tons of options! You can definitely travel around the world without the need of selling your house. You can rent it out, save the house and earn money even! You can also downsize your possessions. Although this might be quite laborious since it demands time as well as effort. But before downsizing all the things you own when you are indeed ready to move, make sure to start reducing your belongings ahead of time – more or less 4 months or so. As much as possible, only bring with you the things that really MATTER.
Don’t Overvalue Your Present Home’s Worth
You may be enthralled by what your friends previously said about how expensive their house cost and fortunately got sold. And then you, too, instantly drop few extravagant prices for your own home without reevaluating some “things”. Probably things you fail to see, like for instance, how their house differ from yours in features prospective buyers most value or if the real estate market that time was better or worse than today. You can call agents of your local real estate to help you estimate your home’s current value.
Downsizing could help you for the additional income you normally get from your retirement.however, before deciding to downsize your home consider all the factors and things that might help you find other alternatives to save money.
Stages of Downsizing for Seniors: What Your Checklist Should Look Like
Once you’ve finally decided to move, make sure you include these to-do stuff on your checklist:
Pre-move To-do List
- Get a notebook specifically for moving. Make lists of everything related to your plan to move. Put in it your timeline, your to-do lists, stuff to dispose or keep and other things you may forget.
- Ask moving companies for their price and estimates. Once you’ve compared their estimates, make a decision to call the company that meets your qualifications.
- Mark you moving date in the calendar.
- Find a New home fit for your lifestyle and specific needs as an older adult. Once you chose a home, make a floor plan or template of the new home. Based on the floor plan, plan where your current furniture will got to once you start moving them. This way, you can estimate if all your stuff are going to fit in the new home and have enough time to pick which ones you’re going to keep and discard or sell.
- You can also look for and hire a moving manager to do all the planning for you. Moving managers can help you pack, sort, decide on which are important stuff to keep, hire staff to move your stuff, arrange the move with the moving company, arrange events to sell or disclose your stuff like a garage sale, charity or auction and they can also help you to arrange furniture in your new home.
- If you have pets, make sure they have space in your new home.
- Make a stop at your local post office to change your address to your new home.
- Update your address in your personal records including bank accounts, credit cards, voter’s registration, investment/retirement accounts, Medicare & Social Security, driver’s license/car registration and newspaper/magazine subscriptions.
- Notify your family & friends, social clubs, churches, lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, etc of your address change.
Sort Your Stuff
- Sort your stuff one room at a time. Mark them into four categories with designated color stickers:
- To definitely bring (red)
- To maybe bring (orange)
- To sell, give away or donate (blue)
- To discard (black or brown)
- Make a list of people who you would gladly give your stuff to.
- Make a list of items that have sentimental value and photograph each of them so if ever they do not fit your new home, you’d still have the memories that the item elicits with you.
- Pack, do not sort, your paperworks and photos in a box to definitely bring with you.
- Reduce kitchen items, just bring the essential pots and cutleries enough for you to make a regular meal.
Pack Your Things
- Ask relatives, friends, adult children and neighbors to help you with packing. The labels will be their guide in packing and sorting stuff to bring and discard.
- Be sure to label every box and where they will go – charity, your son’s home or your new home.
- Some moving companies offer special containers such as boxes for clothes and furniture.
- Make and label an “Open first” box where you will put essential and immediate items like soap, toilet paper, sleeping bags, toiletries, night clothes, plate, towel, spoon and fork, flashlight, scissors and tape.
- Put in a bag some paperworks and items that you’ll probably need in the process of moving such as keys, residence or new lease contract, medicines, legal documents, cell phone, address book, extra cash, checkbook, first-aid kit, your relocation notebook.
- Items with high value such as jewelry should be placed inside safe-deposit boxes packed inside a regular box to divert it from prying eyes.
Items to Dispose
- Items to dispose should be disposed properly.
- Invite people on your list to give your items to.
- Sell items of value to respectable thrift shops and antique stores. You can also look for experts to appraise your items for what they are worth before actually selling them.
- Organize a garage sale or auction or to dispose of your furniture and items which still has value. You can also sell items online (but this would take a lot of time unless your item is in demand).
- After you sold almost everything, remaining items can go to charity.
- Make sure that you have a written and signed contract with the moving company in case of damage and loss of your possessions during the moving process.
- Always check the list of inventor.
- Make sure of their mode of payment (cash, credit, or check)
- Track their movement and their timeline when your things got to the new house properly.
- Make sure that your moving manager (with a copy of your key) meets the movers in your new home.
- Check the whether the boxes are complete or not.
- Open the “open first boxes” so you can set up your essential things, bedroom and bathroom first.
- Set the first three to five days in your new home dedicated to unpacking, assembling and organizing your stuff in your new home.
Tips & Tools for During and After the Move
- File Folders– Keep broad categories for files. If your categories are too narrow, it will feel like a burden to file.
- Nice Boxes– Store items you want to keep in great looking boxes that can be displayed labelled and stacked.
- Trash Bags– Collect items you plan to discard or donate in trash bags. Next ensure that all the bags actually leave your home.
- Label Maker– When you get drawers labelled, you not only inform yourself what it contains, you are actually informing the entire family.
- Act on Your Decisions. When you are trying to get rid of clutter, don’t look at an item, think about it and put it on hold. If you hate a vase, why store it in a closet? Get rid of it if you hate it.
- Not on the Floor. It is not an option to store items on the floor. Visual clutter is created by boxes that permanently live on the floor. Instead, create a more serene looking room by stowing items inside a cabinet.
- Like Items with Like. When it comes to supplies, having different locations for like items will create chaos. Instead, do the opposite and store like items with like, such as all light bulbs together.
- Stick to a Routine. Every time you go about your day, do things the same way. Put your keys in the same place and your purse in the same place. When you need it, it’ll be there.
- Do the Hardest Task First. You know that space that drives you craziest? This is the hot spot you need to do first. Before you start anywhere else in your house, you need to do this one first. You will feel a lot more motivated to do another room and your angst will lessen.