Article written by Michael Longsdon (Elder Freedom)
The years bring wisdom, but they also bring a whole lot of stuff. If you’re looking around your house and realize that most of the things you see are never used, it may be worth it to consider downsizing for your retirement. Living with less makes you happier. Reducing clutter can help ease the mind and prevent feelings of anxiety while making you more creative. Meanwhile, getting rid of things and moving into a smaller home for your golden years makes it easier and safer to age in place. As long as it is a good financial decision, most seniors experience a better retirement when they downsize their possessions and home.
10 Simple Steps to Downsizing
Getting rid of items, buying a new home and downsizing are all long-term life decisions and should not be taken lightly. With that being said, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Downsizing successfully can be done in 10 simple steps:
1. Decide the location where you want to retire.
2. Figure out the maximum amount of space you will need.
3. Compare current living costs to estimated living costs when downsized. Note that some areas have become more exclusive over the years. For instance, homes in Tampa, FL, have sold on average for $224,000 recently. You can find average selling prices online.
4. Find the right agent(s). If you’re staying local, a single realtor can handle both the selling and buying transactions. However, if you’re moving out-of-state, you’ll need another agent on the buying end. Some agents may suggests another agent for in-state relocations depending on how far away the move takes you.
5. When looking at homes, picture where items you already own will go with the new floor plan.
6. Organize possessions and pack only the items that “spark joy.”
7. Donate gently used items like books, clothing and toys. Look into local charities and send items specifically to the ones that can use them the most.
8. Sell high-priced items like electronics and designer goods. You can also consider holding a yard sale and donating anything that isn’t sold that weekend. 9. Store anything you’re not ready to say goodbye to in an offsite unit. Over the past 180 days, the overall average price of a self-storage unit booked in Tampa is $92.13.
10. Move into your new home!
Moving Tips for Seniors
Moving to a new home is a long and arduous process, but the end result is worth it. When you’re a senior relocating, it’s important to hire a reputable moving company to do the heavy lifting. Not only does this make the process easier, but also it protects seniors from serious injury that can occur when picking up and handling heavy boxes. Schedule movers at least four weeks in advance and make your moving date during off-peak times -- likely in the middle of the month as people move more often at the beginning or end when leases finish.
When packing your items, don’t be afraid of over-ordering boxes. It’s better to pack less in more boxes rather than stuffing a box to its limits with heavy objects. Buy a variety of sizes and shapes when it comes to boxes. Small boxes - perfect for books, candles and tools - run for about $1.15 each; extra large boxes - perfect for pillows, blankets and linens - run between $3-4.50 each. You can find more options as well as pricing here. You can also opt get creative: for instance, the boxes liquor stores receive their merchandise in are the perfect size and shape for
packing glassware -- they even come with dividers. All you have to do is wrap your glasses in bubble wrap or newspaper and they are safely stowed. Label boxes clearly and on all sides. If any boxes are going to the storage unit, mark them with both the items the box contains and ‘storage’ so it is clear that they should not go to the new house.
Downsizing allows seniors to live in a safer environment that is more conducive to a happy retirement. Shopping for a new home, getting rid of possessions, and moving are all very stressful, but if you break it down step-by-step it’s achievable. Seniors should hire a reputable moving company to help with heavy lifting while going above and beyond when packing to make the entire process easier.