There are many advantages to downsizing your home if you are a senior. First and foremost is the financial savings. A mortgage that is significantly smaller means less financial stress. The utility bills will certainly be easier for someone managing a limited budget. Less repairs, fewer rooms to repaint, savings on floor covers, all means more money in your pocket.
Downsizing for Seniors
Now that we have established the significant savings you will be experiencing. We can now discuss what you can do with the new found funds. To begin with, $500 a month extra in your pocket is not unreasonable, if you are downsizing for the reason of too much living space. If you put this money under your mattress every month for a year, you automatically will have $6,000. If you invest in the stock market, and it happens to be in your favor, this same money could be over $100,000 in 15 years. I am one for saving, and having a big fat bank account for emergencies; but there is no reason that this extra money that is not going into a large, mostly unused home should not be used to celebrate your new found financial freedom. This may be your opportunity to travel, go on a shopping spree, purchase theater tickets, or season tickets to attend your favorite sporting event.
We are giving you plenty of reasons to celebrate this new and exciting chapter of your life. Since the term “downsizing” can have some negative connotations; we are re-naming this process “right-sizing”, because you are making changes that will better accommodate your current lifestyle.
The daunting tasks of packing, deciding what to keep, donate or trash can be an overwhelming task. Break it down into manageable parts would be your first step. Start in the room that is used the least.
This is a process that should be done when you are still mentally able to make personal decisions. You don’t want someone else making the decision on what is deemed valuable (sentimental or antique). You want to give your family the opportunity to choose something that you owned, for them to cherish and continue to pass on to future generations with the wonderful stories and family history attached to a particular item.
Here is a list of questions that should be considered before you begin the sorting process:
1. Does anybody in the family desire to have this item?
2. Can I photograph this item instead of keeping it?
3. Can someone use this item more than me? (Examples would be pots and pans for local soup kitchens, linens for a hospital or an animal shelter).
4. Hum? I didn’t even know that I owned this? (If you haven’t used it or realized that it was in your home – it goes – no more questions).
Next you need to create different categories, such as: “Trash”, “Save”, “Donate” and “Sell”. Using different colored stickers can make this process so much easier. The colored stickers can also be used for each family member. Allow them to tag what they want to have and rejoice in the fact that your possessions will stay in the family.
As mentioned earlier, start small; go through a drawer in your bedroom bureau. Empty everything out and sort according to the categories above, and then re-arrange what you are keeping back in the drawer.
This will be a long process, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful or daunting one. It can be fun in reminiscing; provide a good feeling about donating to someone in need; or make some extra cash by having a yard sale.
If you are “helping” a senior with this downsizing project, you MUST keep in step with their pace. This is a very emotional ordeal for these homeowners, and you must consider this or you will be of no help at all and add unnecessary stress to the situation.
There are organizing professionals, relocation experts; and estate sale agents that you can hire in the case that you need assistance.
It is never too early to begin this process; live in a less cluttered space is a freeing experience. Keep in mind also, that the best gift you can leave your family is an organized home.