The Best Advice for Happily Downsizing in Your Senior Years

December 18, 2018 | By Three Stones Residential at Keller Williams

The Best Advice for Happily Downsizing in Your Senior Years

Is it time for you to downsize?  Many of us consider going into a smaller home with easier upkeep for our senior years.  If your nest is empty and you’re interested in making life a little simpler, it can be the smart choice for your future.

Research the market.  Being familiar with what is available can give you a good starting point for making your decisions.  Think about how much space you really need, what you want to spend, and exactly where you want to live, and then do some window-shopping. To help with your search, you might want to create a list of your must-haves in the new place, or you can print a house-hunting checklist.  Knowing the market will help you make informed decisions. For example, the average price for homes sold in Arlington, VA, was $525,000 last month. 

Less is more.  Moving into a smaller space can be challenging, but once you determine where you are moving, it’ll help you formulate a plan.  Study the how the space is laid out in your new home, decide where things will go, and decide what you won’t be able to accommodate.  Items you have multiples of or that are outdated can all be rehomed or discarded.  For those items that no longer fit or you’re on the fence about, consider renting a nearby self-storage unit while you’re in transition.  To give you an idea, booking a self-storage unit in Arlington, Virginia cost an average monthly price of $123.20 during the last 180 days.  Remember, downsizing is challenging, and it can be hard envisioning what is going to work in your new space.  Your overstuffed sofa, the L-shaped executive desk, or the California king-size bed might be too big to make the cut, so stowing them while you make up your mind is a smart solution.

Aging in place.  For most seniors, finding a home you can enjoy throughout your golden years is an important part of the downsizing picture.  AARP suggests keeping certain aspects in mind when looking for a home for aging in place, such as one-floor living, threshold-free entrance and doorways, and open floor space throughout the home.  Remember many things can be easily added to an otherwise desirable home, such as higher toilet seats, easy-access cabinetry, and bathroom grab bars.  Unless you’re up for major renovations, though, make sure the bones of the house meet your needs.  

Pack carefully.  Packing properly can be a challenge at any age.  The kitchen is the most difficult room in the house to box up, with the many breakables, sharps, and items with moving parts, so take your time and do a careful job.  Along those same lines, your home office can be a cluttered nightmare when it comes to packing, and boxing your jewelry and toiletries present their own world of problems.  Liberty Mutual offers some clever packing hacks to help with boxing these difficult sections of your home.  Packing always seems to take longer than expected, so allow plenty of time for boxing everything up. If packing is too difficult, you can even hire a professional. The average cost of hiring a packing specialist is around $60 an hour.

Smart moves.  Preparing for the physical part of your move requires some careful planning.  First, you need to decide if you want to move your things yourself, and if so, who will be available to help.  You’ll likely need someone to drive the moving van, and assistance for loading it and unloading it.  Able Moving suggests reserving the truck or trailer at least four weeks before your moving day.  If you decide to hire a professional moving service, make arrangements at least four to six weeks ahead of your move.  Hire a mover who has insurance, and ideally a representative will come to your property to look over your belongings and give you a written estimate.  

Downsizing can be fun and exciting if you make good choices.  Do some research to find the right home for you, then pack and move carefully.  Moving isn’t easy, but with wise planning, you’ll soon be happily settled into a smaller, more manageable home.  

Guest Blog Post By: Michael Longsdon