Downsizing for the Next Chapter of Your Life
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Fewer rooms to vacuum, more time to enjoy your priorities, and the opportunity to live closer to your grandchildren, the beach, or a dog park -- whatever makes you happy. What’s not to love about finding your next dream home? Finding the right place for your golden years can also feel overwhelming when you’ve got to downsize and decide what to do with a lifetime of accumulated stuff. Read on for tips on how to downsize and find the right home for this next chapter of your life.
Decide on your new what and where. You’ve worked hard and have enjoyed raising a family in your home. Now that your kids are grown, do you really need all that space? What do you want the next decade or two to look like? Whether you’re in your mid 50s or late 70s, ask yourself what you need at this stage in your life. A warmer climate? A single-story house to make your knees happier? While you may have needed four bedrooms and a basketball hoop at one time, does it make sense now? Where would you live if you could live anywhere? Have you always had a longing to live near water, or are you yearning to live near your grandchildren?
Get a feel for areas where you might like to live by researching them online. After deciding where to move, you can get a feel for the prices of homes that are the right fit for you. For example, if your heart is set on moving to Northridge, a little research will show you that homes there have sold for a median price of around $619,000.
Make a plan for all your belongings. The smaller the home you choose, the more downsizing you’ll need to do. Where do you even begin? Take it one room at a time and one object at a time, taking lots of breaks in between. Start in an area where there’s a minimal emotional attachment, like your laundry room. Base your decision by your needs. If you’re moving into a studio apartment in Manhattan, you’ll no longer need six sets of sheets. Follow a strict yes/no policy, where no “maybes” are allowed! As you sort through your belongings, force yourself to choose if the item is going with you or not. From the “no” pile, decide who you will give it to -- be it a friend, family member, or Goodwill. Another option is to sell the item on eBay or at a yard sale. If you’re not going to sell or give away the item, it goes in the trash right then and there. The feeling of freedom you’ll gain when you free yourself from clutter will be worth it. When it comes to treasures like your children’s artwork, love letters, etc., consider archiving them digitally.
Get ready for a smooth move. Hiring professional movers comes with so many benefits. They can pack your belongings and accomplish in a few days what it might take you weeks to do. Plus, your belongings are much less apt to break due to insufficient packaging. Moving is stressful enough without having to do the heavy lifting too, right? According to HomeAdvisor, the average national cost to hire movers runs from $504 to $1,400.
Be sure to prepare an “open-me-first” box for the day of your move. You’ll definitely minimize your stress if you include:
Toilet paper, a few towels, and toiletries
Bedding and pajamas so you don’t have to hunt for them on your first night
Coffee and a coffee maker
Whether you choose to live in a beach cottage on the Outer Banks or a high-rise condo in Chicago, welcome to this new chapter in your life. In a TED Talk by Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, she shares that research shows that the happiest people on earth are older than 55. As you hit the “refresh” button on your life by identifying your needs and downsizing in order to live your priorities, you’ll be joining this trend. There may have never been a better time to reinvent yourself!
Article Written by Mr. Michael Longsdon