By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer
Over the last several months while we were sheltering in place, I’ve had the opportunity to have many conversations with clients, colleagues, family, and friends of all different ages. Our conversations were about how our lives have changed since Covid and whether our homes are “working” or “not working” for us, given all of the lifestyle adjustments we’ve had to make during the past year. As an example, we’ve learned to cook most of our meals from home, adapted to one or two people working from home, and learned how to home school our children or grandchildren.
Many of you have adapted to what you thought would be short-term adjustments, but now realize these changes will likely be long term.
Many of you are taking a closer look at your homes and seriously considering whether to downsizing or right size to a home that better suits these new lifestyle demands.
If you are thinking of downsizing or right-sizing, but you have no idea where to start, I have created a new series of blogs and videos dedicated to that topic and for anyone questioning:
- Should they downsize or renovate their existing home?
- What is the downsizing process?
- How they can develop their own downsizing plan and strategy?
This is the first of that series.
Where do I start?
Begin by asking yourself a series of questions.
1. Why do you want to downsize or right size?
- For example, if you are an empty nester, your children are grown.
- There’s no need for the extra bedrooms, the big yard, or the three-car garage.
- There’s no need to be heating and cooling unused spaces.
- There’s no need to be struggling with the upkeep and expense of a larger home.
When a larger home becomes too much work and not as much fun as when your kids were at home, it may be time to downsize or right size because the home no longer works for you.
- Another example is, if you are a couple working from home and homeschooling your children or grandchildren:
- There’s not enough dedicated space in your current home to perform those activities well.
- There’s no place for you to get away and have much-needed respite.
- There’s no way for you to properly divide your large open plan home to accommodate the multiple functions that need to take place day to day.
When your current home is no longer accommodating the many demands of your new lifestyle, it may be time to start looking for a home that better serves all of your needs.
2. Start noticing how well you are using the space you already have… this is a reality check for many people.
- How many rooms in your home do you actually use?
- Most Americans use only 5 rooms on a daily basis kitchen, family room, bathroom, bedroom, and home office/den.
- How many of those rooms are you NOT using?
- But you are heating, cooling, and storing things in them. Just name a few of those areas: i.e. guest bedrooms, living room, and dining room.
- How many rooms are being used to store your extra stuff?
- For example, your grown children’s stuff, inherited items, or your excess accumulations.
- If you have grown children, has your home become a storage area for their stuff?
- If you’ve inherited furniture, artwork, memorabilia, etc. from deceased family members, your home is a storehouse for those items until you chose to deal with their stuff.
3. What are some of the ways that your current home is NOT working for you?
- You don’t have dedicated office space for two people.
- You don’t have a separate area for homeschooling your children.
- You don’t have a way to divide your spaces for the necessary flexibility.
- You don’t have enough privacy or ways to close the noise from other activities.
4. What kind of house would work better for your current and future needs?
- A house similar in size to what you now have, but with a better layout out to accommodate your multiple and ever-changing needs?
- A smaller home that is easier and less costly to maintain.
- A home that is one floor living to safely age in place.
5. What is the cost of selling and moving?
- Analyze all costs associated with selling your existing home and moving to a new home.
- Consider whether you should buy or rent.
I recommend you spend some serious time answering each of these questions. Be honest, because the decision to downsize, right-size, or not is one that will impact the quality of your life for the next 10, 15, or 20 years.
No matter what stage of life you are in, Covid has impacted the way our houses work for us.
The decision to downsize or right size is a process. It takes time, but it is well worth that investment. Make sure that your home is working for you.
THE DOWNSIZING DESIGNER
I invite you to get your Free ABC’s of Downsizing Download. Click Here to Download Now!