Downsizing Your Home

It's the worst of times, it's the best of times...

Downsizing your home, like most life transitions, has its emotional ups and downs. Feelings of overwhelm and anticipation; eager to get started, eager to be done; the wrench of leaving, the excitement of a new beginning.

Worst of Times

Downsizing usually means leaving a home full of memories, a familiar neighborhood, and friends. It also involves de-cluttering - letting go of furniture, family treasures, and items of sentimental value.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? That’s not my intention. I’m shedding a light on the challenges ahead so you won’t be sideswiped by the mixed emotions when they hit.

Best Of Times

Moving to smaller premises does have its benefits, and there are a variety of reasons for downsizing your home. Are you:

  • An empty-nester and no longer need a large home?
  • Tired of the up-keep of a large house, both inside and out?
  • Wanting to reduce your living expenses?
  • Traveling more?
  • Ready to put your energies in creative projects, not housework?

What’s prompting your move?

The reasons for downsizing your home will help you determine the type of accommodation you need.

Bill and I purposely chose a condominium townhouse because we love to golf in the summer, ski in the winter and don’t enjoy gardening. (Two flowerpots in the front is my limit!) When we travel, we lock the door and know the property will be well maintained while we are away.

Home and Lifestyle

The following questions will help you get a clearer picture of your ideal accommodation and make sure it fits with your lifestyle.

  • Do you want an area for your creative projects? If so, is a basement more suitable than a spare room?
  • Do you prefer the security of a high-rise and the extra facilities it offers – pool, exercise room, sauna, party room, and guest apartment?
  • Do you intend to travel for extended periods?
  • Do you want space to host family dinners and get togethers?
  • Would you like a guest room for out-of-town guests or sleepovers with your grandchildren?
  • Do you want to live near public transportation, grocery store or golf course?
  • Is this your time to move to the country, cottage or back to the city?
  • Have you ever yearned to move to another city or country?
  • What is your budget for your monthly living expenses?
  • What else is important to you?

Once you determine the essential criteria of your new home, you can begin looking.

Starting The Search

If you enjoy going to model homes, open houses, and checking listings on the Internet, you can handle the search yourself. An alternative is to engage the services of real estate agent to do the legwork for you.

If you haven’t used a realtor before, ask friends for referrals. You may want to interview two or three agents to ensure the one you choose is a good fit for you. Always check their testimonials.

Once you have chosen the agent, give him/her the list of key criteria for your new home so they can do the preliminary search.

Your time and energy can then be focused on getting ready for the move to smaller accommodation.

Prepare for Downsizing Your Home

When you have found your new home, measure and decide which pieces of furniture will best fit. Also check the size of the storage space, especially if the new premises doesn’t have a full basement or garage. This will be a factor in deciding what to keep and what to give away.

For furniture that you won’t be taking, remember to ask family members if there are any pieces they would like to have.

If no takers, ask if they know anyone who might be in need of furniture. Perhaps a student setting up their first apartment, a young couple starting out, or someone recently divorced and starting over. Alternatively, check with local churches, immigration centers, and women’s shelters.

It’s easier to let go of treasured pieces when you know they will be used and appreciated.

De-Cluttering

Whether downsizing your home is imminent or a "some-day" thing, de-cluttering is one of the first steps. Click here for tips on de-cluttering.

Preparing For the Move

The moving truck should be booked about two months before your moving date. Decide if you will move yourself, with a little help, or hire a moving company. Weigh the pros and cons. It might be worth the cost to hire a professional mover.

If so, get referrals from friends for two or three moving companies. Obtain written estimates from the companies and ask for current references.

Find out from your insurance agent whether your household insurance covers damage during a move. If not, get an estimate of replacement value insurance from the moving company. Check to see if you save on costs if you move during the week.

Once you’ve made final arrangements for moving, it's time to start packing!

Click here for tips on de-cluttering, a key step in downsizing your home.

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