How to Downsize a Home

Downsizing your home may sound counterintuitive, but for a lot of people it’s a great option. Smaller houses often amount to smaller mortgage payments, less chores, and less stuff. While downsizing is not for everyone (for example those who are starting families will be looking for larger homes), it can be a great option for some.

Downsizing can be seen as the opposite of what we should want. We grow up always wanting to upgrade to something bigger or more expensive, but there are some huge advantages to downsizing.

The biggest drawback that people think of right off the bat is that they have too many items to downsize. Their house isn’t big enough as is to hold everything! But once you learn why and how to downsize a home, it will make more sense.

However, most of us tend to keep a lot of things that we don’t use. We will cover how to tackle this problem in a section below, but keep in mind that we tend to buy more things with the more space we have. We expand our belongings to the amount of space available around us. You didn’t start out with all those items in your household and chances are, you don’t need most of them.

So regardless of whether or not your personal items are holding you back, let’s tackle the reasons why downsizing might be an option for you. Everyone is different and many life changes tend to lead to downsizing. Some are in our control and some are not.

Why Should You Downsize?

There are many different reasons for someone to downsize their home. Families that are experiencing an empty nest may no longer want the extra rooms and space in their home. Others may not have time to keep up their house or yards. Maybe they are busy with work, perhaps they are traveling all the time, or they simply may not enjoy owning a home as much as they thought.

Death of a family member may also cause someone to downsize their home. Or even older family members that can’t take care of their homes anymore. If you are helping your parents downsize their house due to an illness, death, or if they just can’t keep up their house anymore, then read this post. I went through this process in my family and can offer advice on how to gently handle this experience.

Try to be proactive about downsizing. Don’t wait until you’re forced to downsize. If you do, you’ll be rushed and you may not choose the right home for you. Have a plan for where you want to be and how small of a house you want that will still be enough room for you.

You want to plan enough time to get your current home on the market. Since you will be selling your home and buying a new one, talk to your realtor about a timeline so you aren’t rushed through your selling and buying process.

The realtor you choose will be with you through this entire process. Make sure that they have the experience to help you sell your home and buy a downsized house so that the transition is easy.

Downsizing Your Belongings

When you downsize your home you will also have to downsize your belongings. This may seem scary, but think of all the things you have accumulated over the years that you either don’t ever use or forget that you even have! This is the perfect time to clean out everything and get rid of the items you no longer need.

You can purge a lot of things that you still just keep around but don’t use. Read this post on decluttering your home. It will help you sort your belongings into piles of things you no longer what that you can sell, donate, or throw out. There’s a lot to learn on how to declutter your house.

A big space that usually has a lot of our items is the garage. It becomes a catch all or even our own storage space in the home. You’ll be amazed at all the things you have in your home that you never use. An easy way to get started is to look at things you haven’t used in a year, those items you only use once a year, and then items you use monthly and every day.

Once you start going through everything with a new intent, you will find that you no longer need a lot of the items you have. Focus on your new home and your new lifestyle. Take the things that fit with your new life with you. This is your chance to remove a lot of unnecessary items behind.

Keep in mind the huge advantages to downsizing: your mortgages will be smaller, you will spend less time cleaning, less time doing yard work, and you can focus more on the lifestyle you want. Understand that when you leave your current home there will be some advantages you may leave behind. Just don’t forget about the positives.

What to Look for When Downsizing

The location and neighborhood you want to live in will probably be the most important factor to you when you downsize. Decide what kind of lifestyle you want in the future. Downsizing isn’t just about your home, but what kind of environment you want to be in.

Decide if you want to still have a backyard or if doing yard work is too much for you. If you love gardening, then be sure your new home has an area for you to garden in. If one of the reasons you are downsizing is to get away from yard work, then look into buying a condominium.

Condo living can be a great option for empty nesters or those who are busy with work and travel a lot. If you are thinking of buying a condo, look at this post that weighs the pros and cons of condominium living.

Don’t forget that if you buy a condo, there will be HOA fees associated. Make sure that you know the total cost you’ll be paying each month if you’re downsizing to save money. You don’t want any hidden costs to be a problem after you downsize.

Another thing you’ll have to consider when downsizing is what to do with all of your belongings. Like we mentioned above, you most likely need to get rid of a lot of your items. You could consider a storage unit, but monthly fees can add up easily. So calculate how much you would be paying a year for a unit and see if that’s something you’re willing to do.

You will also need to keep your furniture and appliances in mind. Can you fit the items you still want to use in your new, smaller space? Make sure you have a plan for all the larger items in your home. For the items you can’t take with you, either try to sell them, give them to a friend or neighbor, or donate them.

Moving into Your New Home

Now that you have a plan, you should have less items to move and you will be certain that the furniture you do take with you will fit in your home. Unpacking should take less time and you should be able to organize your house more easily since there are less items to work with.

If you want some great moving tips, read this post. It will cover ways to prepare for your move and tips to make packing and unpacking easier. Now for the fun part! Downsizing should be celebrated just like any other milestone.

Now that you have made the move, it’s time to celebrate your new home and lifestyle with friends and family members! Invite your new neighbors as well since this is a good time to get to know them better. Enjoy your lifestyle change and your new downsized home.