For many empty nesters there becomes such a thing as “too much house”. You’ve raised your family there and it served its purpose, but now there are unused rooms, dysfunctional spaces and more belongings than you need. Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve compiled a list of things to consider and steps to take when it’s time to downsize!
1. Start Early and Take Your Time Downsizing, especially after years or decades in one home, can be one of the most overwhelming tasks many of us face! This isn’t a “do it in a day” project. If downsizing is on the horizon for you, start thinking about it now and start slow. When you come across items you no longer want or need, there’s no need to hang on to them until moving day. Start browsing towns, neighborhoods or buildings for your next stage of life. No need to make a decision right away, but it’s never too early to weigh your options.
2. Find the Right Future Home
Talk with your family about what you’re looking for in your next home and consider your reasons for wanting to downsize. Are you wanting to cut costs, simplify your life, be closer to family, enjoy nicer weather, or find a home that better fits your needs at this stage of life? Will it be a single-family home? Ranch or two-story? A high-rise condo or stand-alone condo? Consider how long you plan on staying in your next home and if something like main level living will be valuable in 5-10 years. Will you host family gatherings and need guest bedrooms? Do you want to be responsible for lawncare and snow removal? Knowing where you’re going also helps when decluttering and packing up your current home so you know what you have room for. Hire a trustworthy Realtor (like the Hansen Home Team!) to help you find your next home and to sell your current one.
3. Declutter, Donate & Divvy Up
If you’ve lived in one spot for several years, it’s easy to accumulate more stuff than you know what to do with. And if you’ve raised your family in that home, chances are you’ve collected your children’s items over the years too. Go through room-by-room and determine if each item is still useful or necessary, or if it can be thrown out, donated, sold, or given to a family member. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your children during this step!
4. Hire Movers
Downsizing can be a stressful enough process on its own – the last thing you need added to that process is doing the moving yourself. Find a reputable moving company to load up your belongings (or at least the big items) – you’ll thank yourself later!
5. Make Home Feel Like Home
Once you’re finally in that new space, make it feel like home! After years or decades in one house, one of the hardest parts about downsizing can be the emotional side to it. It’s a lot of change all at once! Make sure you pack up family pictures, furniture and décor from your old home to make your new space feel like home.