Empty Nesters | How to Downsize your Home
It’s a fact of life that our homes just don’t stay the same size as our families change. When the kids move out (here’s to you empty nesters!), it’s time to downsize. Too big of a house, moving closer to family, or simply wanting to live a more simplified life are all great reasons for empty nesters to consider downsizing their homes. However, if you’ve lived in a home for 20+ years, you probably realize how much physical stuff you have accumulated. Where do you even start? How do you downsize your home and get rid of all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years?
Here are some tips on downsizing your home as empty nesters:
Make a list of Need vs. Want
Make a list of what you need vs. what you want. This is a great exercise to do with your spouse or partner. Make two columns and label them “need” and “want.” Be honest with yourselves and only put items in the “need” column that are absolutely essential. Everything else goes in the “want” column. This will help you start thinking about what’s really important to you and what you can live without. In all honesty, this is probably the hardest step of the process. Either you can do this or your kids and/or heirs will. If you’re lucky enough to have lived a full life to date, you probably have alot things that represent your life journey.
Go through each room in your house and declutter. This is probably the most daunting task on the list, but it’s also the most important. You need to get rid of all the stuff you don’t use or need anymore. Start with one room at a time and go through everything with a critical eye. If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it. From artwork to vases to silverware, you’ll be shocked at the amount of things you’ve accumulated. Tackle this head-on and don’t outsource this to anyone – after all, this is your life.
Donate Items & Hold a Garage Sale
Have a garage sale or donate items to charity. Once you’ve gone through your house and decluttered, you’ll likely have a lot of stuff that you don’t want or need anymore. One option is to have a garage sale and try to make some money off of your unwanted items. Another option is to donate them to charity. Either way, getting rid of this stuff will help make your move much easier.
Hire a Professional Mover
Hire a professional mover. This is probably one of the best empty nester downsizing tips out there. Hiring a professional mover will take a lot of the stress and hassle out of your move. They can help you pack, load, and unload all your belongings, which will save you a ton of time and energy.
Figure out your Finances
Figure out your finances. This is probably one of the most important things you can do. How much money will you need to live in your smaller home? What other expenses do you have to pay? College tuition? Vacations to knock items off your bucket list? Retirement? Get a clear understanding of your finances and what you can afford before you make any decisions.
Look to the Future
Consider your future needs. One of the great things about downsizing is that it forces you to think about your future needs. Do you want to travel more? Spend more time with family and friends? Start a new hobby? Whatever it is, downsizing gives you the opportunity to really think about what you want out of life and make changes accordingly.
Time to Downsize your Home!
Downsize to a smaller home. This is the ultimate goal of downsizing as an empty nester. Once you’ve decluttered your house and hired a professional mover, you’ll be ready to downsize to a smaller home. This could be a retirement community, a condo, or even just a smaller house in general. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the right fit for you and your lifestyle. You can find a smaller a home in the same neighborhood (maybe even a single story home), you can find a condo in your area which would allow you to keep your same social circle while not worrying about the maintenance of larger home, you can find a 55+ retirement community where you can live permanently in a resort-like environment 24/7.
Downsizing your home as an empty nester can be a big challenge, but it’s definitely doable with some planning and effort. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to downsizing your home and simplify your life. We’ll all approach this eventually – it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about the future now.