The Upside of Downsizing!
We all hear about downsizing as we enter our “Golden Years” and it’s like swear words, but should you consider it? This is an interesting question, right? So, let’s take a moment to explore all the nuances of “downsizing”.
I’m Not Old, Why Am I Leaving My House?!
Let’s start by looking at downsizing your actual home because that’s what we typically think of. There is no rule that you should have a smaller home just because the kids have grown up. However, there may be some practical benefits to going smaller: Income Changes; Maintenance; Accessibility/Safety; Location.
Perhaps your income has changed or will change soon. Income usually goes down when we leave the workforce, unless you’ve been an investment guru – then, you go girl! Given that your money will change, can you afford to stay in the family home, taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance?
While the home has many memories, will they turn sour if you tie them to a home that is draining you? Will the utilities on your home put the good times in the dark, so to speak? Look at the location of the home; does it make sense for the life you lead now? If you’re hitting the art galleries downtown on the weekend or would like to walk to your favorite restaurants, then where your house is, may not be the best. Remember, the location may not be great for you, but perfect for a family who wants to be close to the things that drew you to buy that house when you had a young family.
I Hate Taking Laundry Up & Down Stairs and… I Don’t Have To!
Besides the cost of the home, what about the space and layout? Do you have rooms that are never used because you don’t need them? Are the rooms accessible for you and future needs? For example, is there anyone in the family in need of modifications or space changes because of mobility concerns? Look at the stairs inside and outside? How many are there and is the pitch of the stairs reasonable for you as you age? Are the doorways wide enough for a walker or a wheelchair, not for you, my vital 60+ woman, but perhaps for an ageing parent that you care for? How about those countertops and cabinets, how do they feel for a person that may be at sitting level when using the kitchen? Can the bathroom accommodate some of the aging in place concerns that you may have if you were to remain in the house? Is the yard manageable for you? These are real questions that you should ask, if you’re going to stay.
The Size of This Place Makes Me Feel Small!
Have you ever thought about downsizing furniture? Does a super long, 6-seater couch with a pull-out bed for guests really suit you now – you have empty bedrooms to put people up, for goodness sake! And speaking of bedrooms, you use one, but you have four, how many home offices and guest rooms do you need? Are you rattling around a place and space that’s simply too big?
Who Says Sportscars Are For The Young - I’m The Spicy Grandma in My Two-Seater!
Does your car need downsizing, too? I’m not only talking about the number of people it can seat, but what about its function, too? Did you choose your car because of its ability to be the “bus” for activities for the family and the kids’ friends – do you still need a car to function in that way? If not, how about that sexy little mini or two-seater that matches your current status of fabulousity! Maybe now you’ve taken up a hobby that requires you to have a vehicle that can move things like your surfboard, skis, camping gear, renovated furniture, etc. Have you seen the new hybrid trucks - sexy, functional and in such fun colors, too! Bessie, the station wagon, bye, bye!
Whaaat? - Downsize My Wardrobe?!
Have you thought about downsizing your clothes? When we were younger, many of us bought clothing that was on trend, we won’t discuss the 80’s neon outfits, though. Is your wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit now, won’t fit in the future and if we are honest, outfits that NEVER fit?! Is your closet full of business suits, but your work doesn’t require those kinds of clothes anymore, or perhaps your world has been affected by the pandemic and you’re working from home, which doesn’t require formal clothes - caution: this is not an excuse to go and get more sweatpants, lol!
Downsize by picking out a few favorite suits and donate the rest to a woman’s shelter or a workforce development program; just think, it could be your old suit that allows a woman to get a start in a new career. Look at your casual clothes, too. Maybe the activities that went with the clothing, you no longer even remember doing, i.e. what is jogging?? Don’t forget those undergarments that don’t suit your needs now – maybe the lace, peekaboo onesie isn’t your vibe anymore, I’m just saying – get rid of it! I have a friend who still has maternity bras from the child that is now 20 years old, but that an issue to be addressed at another time!
Okay, so we started the downsizing conversation, we’ve looked at the house, your car, cleaned out closets, YAY! Even if you don’t move, at least you’ve downsized some unusable items.
When you review your needs and lifestyle options, the answer to whether you should downsize your house or not may be right there in your face! Go forth and live your curated life and create more space for upsizing your new journey with family and friends – remember the memories are in your heart not in the house on 1234 Memory Lane!
Did you think about your space and lifestyle needs after reading this article? Does the word “downsizing” bring up good or bad feelings in terms of where you are in life? Do you feel empowered to take control of your home and your things? What holds you back from making downsizing decisions – is it your children and their feelings? Let’s have a conversation, please share your thoughts…