Tips for empty nesters who are ready to downsize
Many people realize once the kids are raised that downsizing into a home that is smaller and more manageable is the best decision for them. Less house can mean less upkeep, and the right choice will provide you with a healthier, safer dwelling for heading into your golden years. If you’re ready to make the move, here is some great advice for getting into the perfect home that allows you to age in place.
The downsizing conundrum. Downsizing is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. What does a person do with all of this “stuff?” What’s especially hard is dismantling your memories. The decluttering process isn’t easy, and the biggest obstacle is usually an emotional one. But by downsizing into a smaller home, you can make the golden years your best ones.
Start by dividing your things up. The New York Times says to categorize keepers by whether you love something or you use it; the rest has to go, and nothing is off limits. It’s a daunting task, so take your time and process what you really need, then say goodbye to the rest.
Sell it. Selling off some items is a great way to unload things you won’t be keeping, and it can give you some spending money, too. There are lots of options – consignment shops, yard sales, online sales groups on social media, and selling on websites like Craigslist or eBay.
Give it away. Family and friends may want first dibs on some things. What they don’t want can go to charities. If you itemize on your tax returns, donating items gives you a deduction, and if not, you still get to feel good about helping a cause. The Salvation Army offers a handy fair market value guide to help with calculations on donated items.
Throw it out. If you have a great deal to trash, you may need to contact a garbage disposal company to haul things away. Some communities offer municipal assistance with disposing of bulk trash; contact your local service for information.
Hire help. Are you overwhelmed? Considering hiring a senior move manager. These professionals can facilitate the entire process for you, from sorting, to distributing, to packing and unpacking. You can hire a screened, trained professional through the National Association of Senior Move Managers.
Finding the right home. Choose a property that will be comfortable through your golden years. Evaluate the accessibility both inside and out, and consider whether you will need to make modifications if and when your physical ability should decline.
- Experts recommend looking for a home with an open floor plan and at least one bedroom on the ground floor. Uncluttered, hard flooring surfaces are better than carpeting, and look for an easy passage from the kitchen to dining area. Wide doorways and lever-style knobs are best. Kitchen counters should offer two different heights. A bathroom with ample flooring and a walk-in shower is best, and grab bars should be installed. If you are beginning to have accessibility issues, you might be looking at making bathroom or kitchen changes right away.
- Look for easy maintenance, like trim and siding that is maintenance-free and landscaping requiring minimal trimming and raking. The parking area should allow an open, barrier-free walkway to your home’s entrance. Look for walkways that are level or with minimal, if any, slope. At least one entrance to the home should be at ground level.
From empty nest to flying the coop. Moving into a smaller, more manageable home is safer than staying in a large one and can help you live a happier, healthier life in the long run. Hire help to get moved and modify a property if you need to. Downsizing into the perfect home for your golden years is bittersweet, but with proper planning, you’ll be able to enjoy your retirement and age in place.
Thanks to Gene Ramsey at DownsizingDad.com for this information. Visit his website to view more articles about downsizing, and sign up for up-to-date information on the release of his downsizing book.