“It’s so much more than just a move… Making a move at any age can be difficult and stressful. After 30, 40, or even 50 years in your current home, the process of rightsizing and relocating to a new home is overwhelming.” ~ NASMM
I used to assume that people who have downsized to a smaller home, condo or apartment from a larger home that they may have lived in for many years, did so later in life when having a home becomes too much to take care of. Turns out that is not necessarily the case. For example, a friend of mine who is in her early 50’s, sold her 3000 square foot house and moved into a 1500 square foot apartment. After many years of saving and scrimping to have their dream home, she and her husband decided that now that their two girls no longer live at home, they just didn’t want the work and expense of having a large family home. And yours truly recently downsized from a 3-bedroom home to a 600 sq ft apartment, so that got me thinking about the work involved in downsizing and the need to share the following tips with you in case you’re thinking of doing the same thing at some point.
Start early, much earlier than you think you need to. I had one client who started working with me at least five years before she sold her family home and moved to an apartment. This might seem a little extreme, but it allowed us to gradually pick away at her belongings without the stress of a looming deadline and gave her lots of time to prepare for the big day. Believe it or not, she still ended up taking a few boxes of pictures and family mementos that she will now pass along to her children because she doesn’t want to keep them in her new smaller home. It is not easy to give up everything that has been collected over many years in a hurry, so taking your time is a huge benefit.
Buy a lot less in the months leading up to your move. Cut back on stocking up on groceries and other household items several months in advance of your move and try to use up as much as you can. It will be so much easier to stock up again in your new home once you see exactly how much room you have.
Get rid of all of the things associated with maintaining a house. All of the items you need to maintain a house can be tedious and time consuming to get rid of. You’ll have gardening tools, snow removal implements, paint, lumber, tools, and so on and so on. Start selling off or donating these items as much in advance as you can by using services like Kijiji. My philosophy is that if someone will come and take away items you no longer want for free, give them away. If you end up still having them when it comes time to move, then you’ll be paying to have them taken away.
And finally, plan in detail where all of your furniture will fit in your new space. Getting large pieces of furniture into a condo or apartment sometimes proves difficult or impossible and you don’t want this to happen on move day. Also, make note of the amount of storage space you have available and try your very best to only take only what will fit in those spaces.
You will want your new smaller space to feel open, airy and comfortable and you will only achieve this by taking what you truly love, use and need. It will be totally worth it, I promise!
Do you have a downsizing story to tell? What was the outcome? Got any of your own tips to share?