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How to Downsize When Your Kids Move Out

Downsizing home

The house where you raised your kids is always going to be a nostalgic and special place. But when the kids move out and the extra space is too much or you’d like to cut back in preparation for retirement, downsizing might be your best bet. This requires some strategic planning, but with some help, you’ll be on your way to downsizing in no time. Here’s what you can do:

Determine your exact space needs

Shopping for anything before you really know what you want and need is a bad idea. Do you want a yard? Is a basement important to you? Should the bulk of your square footage be in entertaining or sleeping space? Think really hard about what you love about your home now and where you can make concessions space-wise. This will help you in your house hunt and avoid a shock once you move.

Since square footage doesn’t really sound like how it feels, you should test it out before you start house hunting. One way to do this is divide your current home up into spaces with similar square footage to your downsized home. Live in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom for a day and see if that amount of space would be suitable for you. All moves take getting used to, but making sure you’re aiming for a realistic downsized square footage will make all the difference.

Make a list of “can’t live without” items

Downsizing isn’t just for your home. It also means everything that’s inside it too. While you may look around and think “I can’t leave any of this behind!”, it’s an important step in making sure your life fits into your new, smaller home.

In order to take the stress out of this process, take a pen and paper, walk around your home, and start writing down your most prized possessions that you can’t bare to part with. This will make it much clearer to see the things that you really love and the belongings that you don’t. Which brings us to our next point…

Have a yard sale

Not only will finding loving homes for your belongings make downsizing easier, but a yard sale can also make you some money. If you’re not sure how to price items, ask a friend to help or check out this helpful pricing guide. Once the sale is over, you can also arrange to have a donation organization come pick up the rest of your belongings. This way, you’ll help people in need and save yourself the hassle of trying to move things that you don’t need into your new home.

Measure everything

As you’re looking for a new home or after you put in an offer, you’ll need to visualize what will fit where—or if it will fit at all. Having a measurement sheet for the furniture you own will help determine if your new space will accommodate what you have. This way, you won’t waste money on moving furniture that won’t work and you’ll have the opportunity to sell it and make some money for a replacement.

Scan what you can

We’re lucky. We don’t have to take up space with photo albums or recipe books anymore. If space is going to be tight once you downsize, then scanning and digitizing what you can will make a big impact on space constraints. You can have this done professionally, or try it on your own. Whatever you do, you’ll be amazed at how much paper you can get rid of and how much space you’ll gain.

Stay/Get organized

Smart storage solutions can maximize your space right away. Get a jumpstart on this before you move by organizing items into boxes, cutting down on paper documents, and coming up with storage plans for your new space. Hanging pots instead of taking up cabinet space can utilize unused ceiling space. Hanging spice cabinets on cabinet doors can free up shelf space for a pantry. Just get clever or check out some existing designs that can help.

Get extra storage

A storage space is a great way to keep the clutter out of your new, smaller home. However, if you can avoid holding onto too much, you’ll be able to save on monthly payments. Shop around for storage spaces in your area to make sure you find the best price. Then, try to cut back one more time so you’re not paying for space to house items you don’t really need.

Downsizing can be tough, but it can also be a new adventure and cleansing experience. We hope you will use these tips to get your downsizing process underway and love the next chapter in your new home.

Looking for home insurance for your new place? Talk to an agent now.


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