Do you want to know a secret? The number of Americans downsizing their homes every year is skyrocketing. Whether it’s due to retirement, kids leaving home or another reason, it often makes financial sense to find a smaller and more economical place to live.
As freeing as downsizing can be, there are several things you need to consider for the process to be successful. We have spoken at length to the experts over at Caring Transitions of South Florida, a Florida business that specializes in helping seniors declutter their lives, who have shared some tips on the steps you should take before downsizing. Read on to learn more!
Take pictures before you begin
This may seem like a strange piece of advice, but there are some very good reasons to photograph your rooms before being paring down. The first is that it can be fun to look back at your old home once you’ve moved out, but the real reason is that it can help you choose what to take with you. Casually look at the pictures and see what draws your attention – those are the things that you really want to keep. We’re sure you’ll agree that’s quite a nifty trick.
Keep the things that you want, need or like
That might seem obvious, so we asked for more details. What this means is, you should keep the things that make your house a home. This can be little sentimental knick-knacks or the art that you hang on your walls. What isn’t included in this are the chipped mugs and other battered items that line the bottom drawers or the back of closets in most households.
Don’t over-save for the next generation
Most people like to save possessions to pass on to their children or grandchildren. This isn’t always a good idea. You might feel that your grandchildren might want your dining room suite, so you put it in storage. The only problem is, your grandchild is still a toddler, so won’t be needing that mahogany dining table for quite a few years yet. Instead, why not save the money you would have spent on storage and put it into a bank account instead. That way, when the time comes for the grandchild to buy a dining table, you can give them the funds to look for one they want.
Take only the favourites from your collections
If you collect shot glasses, you’ve probably been gifted a lot of shot glasses over the years. You don’t have to take them all with you. Only keep the ones you like to look at, and give the others away. Downsizing is also the perfect opportunity to get rid of the ‘guilt gifts’ you’ve been holding onto just because you feel you have to.
The one in and one out rule
Downsizing is not the time to accrue new things. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t buy new things for yourself. Instead, introduce a system where you will get rid of one old item you no longer need for every new item you buy.
Don’t take anything that doesn’t have a designated place in your new home
You won’t surprised to learn that we all tend to collect quite a few items throughout our life. However, when downsizing to smaller living quarters, there is obviously less space to store our odds and ends. You will need to ensure you have enough storage space for everything you take with you, so get rid of the clutter at least 90 days before your move day.
Purge your paperwork
We’re all guilty of it. We tend to keep paperwork like bank statements and warranties for way longer than we need them. When downsizing, you’re going to have to get rid of tons of paperwork, so why not start now? Get rid of tax returns after seven years. Don’t keep bank statements you can access online. Be ruthlessly selective about which papers you keep.
There are many other ways to prepare for downsizing that we might cover in a second part of this article. In the meantime, if you need advice on downsizing, get in touch with the friendly staff at Caring Transitions of South Florida today.