Moving to a smaller home in retirement is a powerful choice. It gives you the ability to redefine your space according to the life you’d like to live in your golden years. Aging in place, for example, is much easier when you’re already in a senior-friendly home. You can decorate your house to encourage hobbies, art, cooking – whatever you want to spend your time doing.
Moreover, it gives you a chance to let go of the parts of the past that weigh you down. We’ve all accumulated more stuff than we really need over the years. Going through and downsizing requires thinking critically about what you really need, and frees you from the endless cluttering-tidying cycle we’re so often stuck in.
Here are some tips for making the downsizing move go smoothly.
Research the Market
First, do plenty of research to get an idea for how your market is currently holding up. Now’s the right time to connect with a talented and experienced real estate agent.
On one hand, this may be an advantageous time to buy, thanks to low interest rates. Buyers looking right now are serious, and with fewer options on the market, things go quick. That’s why, unless you’re able to make a cash offer, you absolutely must have a pre-approval letter on hand before you start looking.
Plan Moving Day
Start by setting a firm moving date for all large and heavy items so that you can hire movers. Remember, the cost to move will depend on many factors, from how much you’re moving to the time of day you want things picked up. Planning for movers early gives you an opportunity to find the most affordable options. You should also look into a company that specializes in senior moving services, so that all your needs are met.
It also gives you plenty of time to figure out other details for your move. For example, do you need to schedule a pet sitter for moving day? Are there any repairs or updates you want to make to your new home before you move? Do you need to schedule a donation pick up for the items you’re not bringing with you? With a good window for lead time, you’ll avoid getting overwhelmed by all the little to-dos.
Make Updates to the Home Ahead of Time
As we’ve mentioned above, you’ll want to schedule home repairs and updates ahead of time so that you’re not feeling overwhelmed after moving in. Focus on the absolute musts first; for example, you might want to consider changing out the locks to protect your new home and yourself. A good locksmith can easily be found by searching for “local locksmiths near me” and accessing company profiles and reading reviews. Be sure to budget wisely for the service; it can cost from $50 to $150 to have your doors re-keyed, but the actual service charge will depend on the business you choose.
Letting Go of Excess
Once you’ve set your move date, it’s time to start packing and downsizing. Resolve to only bring the items you need and love with you to your new home. Look at items individually and ask yourself, “Do I use this?” If not, donate it, recycle it, or throw it away.
If you have sentimental items sitting around in boxes, you don’t have to just get rid of them for your move. However, you should try to find ways to make them more functional. For example, you can make a project out of filling up an album with old photographs, or you can fill a display case with heirloom jewelry. They’re not doing you any good boxed up: If you can’t find a way to use them or show them off, seriously consider whether they’re worth keeping around.
When you’re all moved into your new home, you won’t long for the basement filled with dusty appliances or the spare rooms you weren’t using. You’ll be relieved and excited to enter your next life stage in the home you deserve. Stay informed while looking, and plan as much as you can, as far ahead as possible. Soon, you’ll be living the retirement you’ve dreamed of!
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