By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

So much has changed in our lives and in our world in just one year. With so much uncertainty all around us, many of us just want to hold on to things that are familiar, giving us a sense of normalcy. That includes our homes, our jobs, and our possessions.

And yet, it is also a time that many people are seeing this as the perfect time to make changes in their lives that they have been thinking about for a long time.

It’s as if they are saying, everything else has changed, why not take this opportunity to do something or to make the changes they have been thinking about for a very long time… downsizing your home, changing careers, or starting a new business.

In some ways, the pandemic has motivated many people to say:

  • “Just go for it!”
  • “It’s now or never!”
  • “If not now, when?”

My sister and brother-in-law are a perfect example. They had been thinking about downsizing from their larger home so they can move closer to their daughter and son-in-law. They seized the opportunity to “just do it” and are now settled in their new home just a few miles from their family.

Their thoughts were…

  • “Let’s live our lives without regret. We never know what tomorrow might bring.”
  • “Let’s do it while we are young enough to enjoy it.”
  • “Let’s transition while we can both continue to work from anywhere.”

If you are asking yourself any of these questions…

  • “How do I know if it’s the right time to downsize my home?”
  • “Should I stay or should I go?”

This blog is intended to help you answer that question.

As The Downsizing Designer, I’m asked these questions all of the time.

 

Questions to Ask Yourself to Know if and When Is the Right Time to Downsize Your Home

I.          Assess your current home and living situation

Is your home affordable for you?

A Harvard study says approximately 39 million Americans cannot comfortably afford their home and another 19 million are spending at least half of their income on housing. If you are spending more than you can reasonably afford, it may be time for you to reevaluate if you should stay or go.

Is your home livable for you right now at this stage of your life?

  • Does it satisfy your current and future needs?
  • Is it age-appropriate?

According to AARP, 90% of Americans prefer to stay in their own home as they age, but the question becomes, is it too big for you right now? If your kids are grown and have gone from your nest, people typically only use four rooms of their house. While your home may have been perfect at one time of your life, ask yourself is it still the right home for you now at this stage of your life?

  • Do you have unused areas like bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • How are you using your attic, basement, and garage?

Has your home become a storage place for your kids’ belongings, or for items that you have inherited or accumulated over a long period of time?

Begin to weigh the cost of unused or under-utilized spaces that are costing you money that you could better use on other things that matter to you like travel or learning.

Bottom line: is it cost-effective to stay in your large home at this stage of your life?

Download your free “ABC’s of Downsizing”. Click here.

Is your home navigable and accessible?

  • Are areas of your home becoming more difficult for you to navigate, i.e. stairs?
  • Will your two or three-story home be suitable for you as you age?
  • Is your soaking tub hard to get in and out of, causing a possible tripping hazard?

 

I.          Assess your current life season, life stage, and life circumstances.

Your Life Season

Are you saying any of the following things to yourself or to your significant other?

  • “It’s the right time to let go”
  • “It’s the right time for us to have a new life.”
  • “It just makes sense to downsize to a smaller more affordable, more functional space.”
  • “I am ready for a simpler life, to begin a new chapter.”
  • “I want to be closer to my children and grandchildren.”
  • “I don’t want to grow old alone in my big house.”

Your Life Stage

  • Empty nest: your kids are grown, they are on their own, and it’s time for YOU.
  • Retirement or pre-retirement: where do you want to live, what kind of lifestyle do you want?
  • Elderhood: do you want to live closer to your family or in a community that will help care for you as you age?

Your Life Circumstances

  • You have recently divorced.
  • Your partner or spouse has died.
  • You have experienced a job loss or financial hardship.
  • You have become a caregiver.

 

Bottom line: if you are thinking of downsizing your home, here are some steps that you can take:

  1. Assess your current home for affordability, livability, usability, and accessibility.
  2. Assess your life season, it’s time, it makes sense, or you are ready for a change.
  3. Assess your life stage empty nest, retirement, or preretirement, or aging.
  4. Assess your life circumstances, divorce, death of a spouse, financial hardship, or new caregiving status.

 

If You Are Ready to Downsize Your Home, but Don’t Know Where to Start

You can refer to my previous post, You Are Thinking About Downsizing Your Home, but You Have No Idea Where to Start, where I talk about steps you can take to help you begin your downsizing journey.

Did you know that we offer a full range of downsizing services? Schedule your 30-minute complimentary call, click here.