Downsizing Tips for Retirees

October 6, 2021

As you approach retirement, you might be interested in downsizing. Let’s take a look at the benefits, what it means for you and your family, and some tips to help you get started.

What is downsizing?

Typically, downsizing means selling your large family home in order to move to a smaller one. For example, you might sell your four bedroom house and move to an apartment or a home with one or two bedrooms. 

You can also downsize other parts of your life, like trading your larger car for one that’s more compact, reducing the amount of furniture you have, cutting down on lawn care and maintenance expenses, etc.

Downsizing can help you start a new chapter 

As you start your next adventure in retirement, you might have big goals. Maybe you’ve always wanted to move to a different part of the country or live somewhere cheaper so you can travel more. Downsizing will make this easier. Having a smaller home with fewer possessions will make the moving process more manageable and will give you more freedom in your choice of location. 

Some people use retirement to work for fun or start new hobbies. Downsizing can give you more time and energy for realizing those dreams. With less clutter to manage and less space to maintain, you’ll have more time to pursue your dream employment or new hobbies.

How can downsizing reduce my retirement costs?

By downsizing to a smaller home, you’ll reduce your property taxes, mortgage payments, home insurance costs, and monthly utility bills. Depending on the condition of your current home, downsizing might reduce your maintenance costs too! 

By downsizing your car, you can choose a newer model that gets better gas mileage. Reducing the amount and size of your furniture could also reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do, so you’ll save money on cleaning supplies and services. The list goes on and on.

How can downsizing benefit me in my daily life?

Downsizing gives you the opportunity to choose a home that meets your needs, rather than the needs of your family. If you have mobility issues, choosing a home that is more accessible could help you enjoy your home more and continue to live independently. Opting for a house without stairs may reduce your risk of accidents at home. 

When you downsize, decluttering is the top priority. You may be able to sell some of the things you won’t need anymore, and you can use those earnings to buy furniture with better storage options. As you choose your new home, you could look for homes with bookcases, better kitchen cabinets, or other storage features you’ve always wanted.

With fewer things to organize, it will be easier to find the items that are important to you. The improved storage systems and furniture in your new home will allow you to display treasured objects and keep other items out of view.

Will downsizing benefit my family?

After you downsize, you won’t need to spend as much time cleaning and organizing your home. You will probably have more time to spend with your children and grandchildren. Since it will be easier to keep your home neat and tidy, you might even be able to have your family visit you at your new home more often than they did at your previous home. If your family members live far away, your newly downsized home will be the perfect place for video chats on the computer.

Downsizing helps you identify the possessions you truly cherish. By taking your most cherished possessions to your downsized space, you’re helping your family understand which items are most important to you. Together, you can all use this information to make decisions about heirlooms and sentimental pieces that should remain in the family. As part of the downsizing process, you can also begin a conversation with your family about any items that you’d be willing to sell or donate.

What are some of the most effective tips for downsizing?

To make the downsizing process as easy as possible, it’s helpful to start as early as you can. Depending on the size of your home and the amount of clutter you have, you might want to start as early as one year before you intend to move.

Begin by decluttering one area or one room at a time. Make separate piles or bags for items you’d like to keep, donate, and toss. First, ask your family members if they would like to have any of the items in your donation bag. If not, consider selling the items online or at a consignment store. Donations can be given to thrift stores and charities, and you may be able to get a tax deduction.

If you need extra support with the downsizing process, consider hiring a professional organizer or a moving manager. These individuals can make it easier for you to decide what to keep and toss, and they can help you complete the downsizing process quicker.

What else should I remember when downsizing?

As you downsize your home, don’t forget to check your Medicare options, especially if you’re moving to a new city or state. You might need to purchase a different Part D plan for coverage in your new area. At SmartMatch™, we can help you sort through your options before the move so that you won’t have to worry about coverage while you relocate. Our Plan Comparison Tool can help you see prices for plans in your new area at a glance. Contact our friendly team today!

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