10+ Best Downsizing Tips for Seniors
Getting ready for retirement? Need all that space? Or can you save money by moving? There are our best downsizing tips for seniors.
When it comes to space, sometimes less is better. Less space means less to fill. Less stuff means less money spent, less clutter, and less moving expenses.
Moreover, it means more freedom. Freedom to travel, create and do whatever will make your retirement truly happy and enjoyable.
We spend the majority of our working lives accumulating and growing. Retirement gives you the opportunity to slow down and decide what is necessary for your happiness and what is just clutter.
Downsizing in America
By the year 2030, there be about 73 million people in the U.S. aged 65 and over, and many older Americans tend to move into smaller spaces as they age, according to an article in Press Connects. If your plan is to downsize, there’s a lot to accomplish before you can start enjoying your new lifestyle.
If you are looking to save money in retirement, downsizing will do wonders for your budget. This is especially true if you still have a mortgage to pay while retired. Depending on your home equity, downsizing could allow you to buy a paid off smaller living space, or significantly reduce your mortgage.
10 Best Downsizing Tips for Seniors
Downsizing your living space is one of the best ways to not just save money in retirement, but also to give you a fresh start. Here are the best downsizing tips for seniors as you enjoy retirement.
Here are a few tips to make the adjustment go smoothly:
Tip 1: Give yourself plenty of time
It’s best not to rush the downsizing process. Give yourself several months to go through your possessions and decide what you want to do with them. Usually that means deciding to keep them, sell them, donate them or throw them away. It’s best to start this process well before you move everything to a new place, so you don’t have to end up doing it twice. Consider how much you own, what your current schedule is like and how much you’ll need to downsize when you’re coming up with a timeline
Tip 2: Set small goals
Downsizing is a big job, so it’s best to tackle it in small steps. This can mean deciding to clear out one room of your home at a time, or donating a certain number of boxes to your local thrift store each week. Regardless of how you decide to measure your success, be sure your goals can be easily accomplished within a few days so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Tip 3: Have a vision for your new home and lifestyle
If you want to retire to Florida, don’t hold on to all your winter coats. Or, if you know you’ll be traveling more, consider getting rid of large pieces of furniture that you probably won’t be using that much. Just because an item is serving you well now, doesn’t mean that it will be practical for your new life in retirement.
Tip 4: Start by getting rid of duplicates
Who needs three pairs of tweezers? We can accumulate a lot of random things over the years, and sometimes we end up owning duplicates of the same items. Choose the one that’s in the best condition and donate or sell the rest.
Tip 5: Try the Marie Kondo method
If you’re not sure whether to keep something or not, take a note from professional organizer Marie Kondo. She recommends only keeping items that “spark joy” in you. If you see an item and it floods you with happiness, or you’re excited about finding it, you should keep it! On the other hand, if an item just doesn’t excite you, you can get rid of it without feeling much guilt.
Tip 6: Set a day aside each week to downsizing
You’ll never get all your downsizing done if you don’t give yourself time to do the work. Try setting aside one day each week to work on your downsizing project. Invite people to come help you, or set up arrangements to have some items hauled away. That way things are done all on one day instead of disrupting your weekly routine.
Tip 7: Take note of things you’ll be moving
If you have items you know you’ll want to take with you, be sure they’re properly labeled and packed. Invest in good quality storage containers and labels so things are easy to find and stay safe through your move. This will come in very handy if you need to keep more things in storage when you move to your smaller home.
Tip 8: Give yourself mini deadlines
Hold yourself accountable by giving yourself deadlines. For example, give yourself the goal of having the garage cleaned out by September, or get your washer and dryer donated by the end of the weekend. This helps keep things moving in small, easy-to-manage steps.
Tip 9: Keep it fun
Moving is never really all that fun, but you can still find ways to make it a little entertaining. Maybe you can give yourself time at the end of the day to reminisce over old photos you find, or let yourself take a break and enjoy an old record you forgot you owned. There’s nothing wrong with taking a few breaks here and there to relax and enjoy the process.
Tip 10: Don’t get discouraged
If you feel like you own too much stuff, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, 60% of seniors said they owned more things than they need. The same survey found that 75% of seniors felt somewhat or very reluctant to move due to the number of things they own. It’s certainly not an easy process to downsize, but simplifying your life can open you up to entirely new possibilities in the future.
Bonus Tip: Becoming a minimalist
It is never too late to change your relationship to your possessions. Minimalism is a movement that goes hand-in-hand with downsizing for seniors. Moreover, older people all over the world are embracing minimalism.
- We have a great article on Minimalism by Generation – I highly suggest reading it now as a complement to your downsizing journey.
Conclusions on Downsizing Tips for Seniors
Moving on to the next phase of your life is exciting, but no one ever tells you how much work retirement is. Taking your journey one step at a time, and being kind to yourself will go a long way in helping you reach your goals.
Extra Ways to Save Money In and For Retirement
Cash flow is king in retirement. In addition to downsizing, check out these other articles offering ways to save money, and earn extra money, in retirement: