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Tips for Downsizing Your Home and Life

Updated on October 28, 2018
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A typical tale about downsizing might begin with empty nesters in search of a smaller home after sending the last of their offspring into the world. However, that’s not the only reason for downsizing. There is a movement afoot espousing the virtues of living small as a way to simplify life, limit consumption and reduce one’s impact on the environment. Whatever your motivation, it’s best to consider all the variables before putting a downsizing plan into action.

When to Downsize

Retirement is a milestone synonymous with downsizing. A small home, apartment or loft that offers little or no maintenance, affordability and easy access to amenities and services is nirvana for many retirees. Even if retirement is way down the road you might want to consider living small as a way to eliminate debt and minimize the accumulation of personal belongings.

Conversely, watershed moments like divorce, the death of a spouse, the loss of a job or failing health often necessitate downsizing. Finding a smaller home becomes a matter of self-preservation rather than personal choice.

Senior apartments complexes have services and amenities to make life much more convenient.
Senior apartments complexes have services and amenities to make life much more convenient. | Source

Benefits of Downsizing

Downsizing to a more affordable home offers up a number of benefits besides obvious financial savings. Whether you decide to purchase a tiny house, a manufactured home or decide to rent an apartment you stand to reap benefits far beyond the financial.

  • Less maintenance is required—fewer square feet to clean and depending on the type of home there may be no exterior upkeep.
  • Less stress—a small home if done properly leads to personal freedom and a minimal lifestyle. You’ll feel uncluttered, unfettered and may even sleep better at night.
  • Less energy consumption—if you’re considering downsizing you’re well aware of how much it takes to run a large home. A small domicile will give you the personal satisfaction of reducing your carbon footprint as well as your monthly utility bill.
  • Less stuff—you have to be willing to sell off furniture and possessions to pare down your life but furnishing a smaller home will afford you the opportunity to splurge on a few key furniture pieces. Less clutter leads to more creativity when it comes to making the most of space. Downsizing will help you organize the essentials.

Moving into a small residence will help reduce maintenance, energy consumption and furnishings.
Moving into a small residence will help reduce maintenance, energy consumption and furnishings. | Source

Downsides of Downsizing

Is your house an extension of your personality? If you feel your current home is part of your identity and a reflection of your status within the community, maybe downsizing isn’t right for you. That’s something you really need to be honest about.

If you look at downsizing as a new adventure and liberating experience then by all means give it a try. Just make sure everyone involved is on board with sharing intimate quarters. Another thing to think about when downsizing is the cost.

Any move involves a number of hidden expenses. Don’t forget you may have to buy furnishings that fit the scale of your new, small digs. Expect to pay more for the move itself. Some utility companies charge deposits and connection fees to new residents.

If you’re selling a home to finance another the proceeds must be enough to cover the purchase price or down payment and closing costs. Even if you are simply moving from one rental unit to another make sure you have enough savings to pay for things like moving expenses, deposits and several months of rent.

Having to furnish a home with smaller furniture pieces may cut way into your budget.
Having to furnish a home with smaller furniture pieces may cut way into your budget. | Source

Choosing the Right Home

You’ve finally made the decision to downsize and are excited to find a home that fits your reduced family size, independent lifestyle and/or limited income. So, what are the options?

Attached housing like an apartment, condo, townhouse or loft hits the no-maintenance jackpot. In this type of urban housing you share walls and common areas with your neighbors. You could pay a monthly homeowners’ association fee which covers grounds and exterior maintenance. In the case of an apartment all regular maintenance (interior and exterior) is taken care of by the management company.

Looking for something a bit more compact and unique? How about building a home from shipping containers or purchasing plans for a “tiny house” that comes in at about 200 square feet—so compact it can easily be moved from location to location on it’s own custom-made trailer. These homes are perfectly suited to rural parcels and RV parks.

A tiny country home may just be the right fit for you.
A tiny country home may just be the right fit for you. | Source

Downsizing for Seniors

© 2018 Linda Chechar

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      3 months ago from Arizona

      Dianna Mendez, over the years we've eventually gone from a 2500 sq ft home to one that is at 800 square feet. It works well for us. It doesn't require a lot of furniture and it's easy to maintain. We've pared down our belongings which makes me feel much lighter and unhampered. I'm thinking we may want to downsize even more!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 months ago

      Personal freedom and minimal lifestyle, that is what I seek as we downsize our home. I wonder if a tiny house would fit our needs? May have to look into that.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      3 months ago from Arizona

      Emmy, you're right. It is difficult for some seniors to let go of memories and their homes but downsizing is the best way to enjoy life and save money. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      3 months ago from Egypt

      I sometimes see some people as they grow old do not leave their big homes, because they have the most beautiful memories and their whole lives in this house but I think it is better to move to a smaller house because of the reasons you mentioned. Thanks for the tips.

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