The Case for Downsizing in Retirement
As we grow older, we begin to realize that all the things we have may not be necessities anymore. Over the years, we accumulate clothes, knick knacks, decor, souvenirs… all stuff that doesn’t add to our overall quality of life. Because of this, many retirees choose to downsize their belongings and even their homes to make sure their golden years are their best years.
- When you spend less on a mortgage, you have extra cash to do the things you love.
- Fewer rooms means less cleaning.
- A smaller home means lower utility bills, which is both budget-friendly and eco-conscious.
- Owning less helps you focus on the things in life that actually bring you happiness: family, friends, and joyous experiences.
- Clutter and mess bombard the mind with excess stimuli and distractions. When you get rid of it, you’re making a change that leads to a healthier, less stressful life.
Downsizing and Aging
As you grow older, the benefits of downsizing only increase. A smaller home is easier to navigate as mobility becomes an issue. Many seniors prefer downsizing to a one-story home, especially if they already notice discomfort as they climb up and down stairs in their current situation.
Other accessibility features to look out for include:
- Plenty of natural light as well as multiple fixtures to make it easier to see around the house.
- Wider hallways and doorways — they can be a huge asset if you end up needing a walker or wheelchair.
- Safety features in the bathroom mean you can age-in-place without worrying about accidents in one of the most dangerous areas in the house.
- Yard work is just that — work. It’s not always the most exciting chore, and it doesn’t get much better as mobility becomes a problem. Your new home can have a smaller yard that needs less mowing, pruning, and trimming or even a natural, eco-friendly yard that is as low maintenance as it is gorgeous.
More Tips for Downsizing
One of the most difficult things about downsizing is deciding what can stay and what has to go. Konmari is a popular organizational method used around the world to make homes tidier and life less stressful; the tactics taught by Marie Kondo are perfect for those looking to downsize as well.
- Go through each area in the home individually when deciding what to get rid of (books, documents, clothes, etc…).
- Pick up a single item and ask yourself if it “sparks joy.” If the answer is no, thank the item for its service and separate it to be donated or disposed of.
- Keep what you love — not what you think you need. If you really need it, you can always buy a new one.
- Only keep what celebrates who you are in the present, not the past. The past lives on in your heart and memories, not through material possessions.
Downsizing has many benefits for everybody — not just seniors. A smaller house costs less and encourages a stress-free lifestyle. However, if you’re approaching your golden years, downsizing can also mean finding a place that facilitates aging in place. Look for features like ample lighting and a low maintenance yard to make life easier in retirement. It may be difficult to let go of some of your prized possessions, but remember the end goal. Things don’t make you happy, experiences do.
Article provided by Gene Ramsey from DownsizingDad.com.