The Art Of Downsizing
Whether it's because the kids have gone on their own and you want a smaller home, or because downsizing is something you have to do, downsizing can be good for you.
When the kids have left the nest and you're on your own you might realise that the house you live in is just too big to handle. Or perhaps you need to make a change to save some money. Whatever the reason for downsizing, think of it as more of a gain than a loss. The first step in downsizing is to realise that living with less can sometimes make you happier.
Don't let downsizing be an upsetting experience - There are plenty of advantages to it as well!
IT'S A LIFESTYLE CHANGE
Downsizing is a huge change to make to your lifestyle, it's one that more often than not means that you have to let go of things you love and move somewhere new. But before you sink into a depression you should know that you're not alone. More and more homeowners are downsizing, especially since home builders are designing smaller homes than ever before.
In today's economy, homeowners aren't looking to go bigger anymore, they are looking for a home design that is compact and practical - one that offers more living with less space - a kind of lock-up-and-go lifestyle. Over and above that, downsizing means you have to pay less on rates and taxes and it costs less to maintain your downsized home, whether it's keeping up with home repairs or day-to-day cleaning tasks.
DECIDE ON A PLAN
If you know a downsize is on the cards, take the time to prepare yourself for the change. Moving from a large house to a smaller one will mean have to part with some of your furniture. If the change is a temporary one that only needs to be done for a certain period of time, you could consider putting excess furniture and belongings into storage, but a permanent downsize will mean having to sell or donate items that will no longer fit into your new home.
But before you do that, know where you are going to be moving to and ascertain what will and will not fit into the living spaces. The last thing you want to do is fill your new - smaller - house with stuff and end up feeling claustrophobic with no room to move around. That is defeating the entire purpose of downsizing. Be prepared to let go and free yourself of excess belongings in return for a new lifestyle.
Take only those items that will have a place in your new - downsized - home.
TAKE CLUTTER OUT OF THE PICTURE
If you want to enjoy downsizing, you are not only getting rid of excess furniture but also items that won't have a place in your new home or will no longer have a purpose. Identify those items that make a house a home or treasured pieces that have sentimental value. If items are too large, take pictures of these that you can hold close to your heart and let them go.
Talk to your family while going through the process of cleaning out. Perhaps you have been saving special pieces to pass on to someone you love, children or grandchildren for example. It might be hard to hear it, but the younger generation is more concerned with life experiences and may not appreciate an antique sideboard that was handed down from your parents or grandparents. In this instance, perhaps someone else would be appreciative of what you have, or perhaps someone is waiting for such an item to go on sale - a special piece that they have been wanting.
• Sort through your clothes
We all have clothes and accessories, and some more than others. You probably still have a few items tucked away somewhere from when you were younger, perhaps even a wedding dress or items you bought for a special occasion, and many of us still have a few skinny clothes from way back when. These are items you need to admit that you no longer need. These items will only take up valuable space that you are going to need.
• Downsize your book collection
Many of the older generations will have some sort of book collection, whether it's a small bookshelf or a huge selection of books collected over the years. Unless you have a built-in bookshelf ready and waiting for this, it's time to donate or sell and invest in a Kindle or tablet on which you can read books. Not only can you adjust the text size on a Kindle, but you can also purchase a model that lets you read at night or one that lets you watch videos or surf the net.
• Free your music
CDs and DVDs are other areas that you will need to clean out, especially if you have an overly large collection. Nowadays, you can download an entire tower or CDs and DVDs onto a USB drive that takes up no room. Keep your favourites and downsize the rest. Having said that, if you enjoy your movie collection, invest in a TV with a USB port that lets you watch your stored movies or sign up for a subscription to Netflix or a movie channel.
• Clean out the garage or spare room
Gym equipment accumulated over the years tends to get put away to collect dust, either in the garage or in a spare room. With a bit of cleaning up, you should easily be able to sell online and have some extra cash to spend on your new home. Don't let stuff you no longer use take up space in your life or your home. Take out a gym membership or sign up for a local walking group to stay fit.
• Ditch the gadgets and appliances
Remember that foot spa you bought 10-years ago and only used twice? Or what about the amazing kitchen slicer that only lasted a couple of months and got tossed to the back of the cupboard? Take stock of the useless gadgets you have accumulated over the years and the appliances you never use and get rid of these.
Rather than seeing downsizing as a negative in your life, rather focus forward on how downsizing will reduce your monthly expenses and give you more time to live your life.