When we downsized seven years ago from the family home in the suburbs to a townhouse in the city, we thought about it long and hard for over a year. My husband mentioned the idea of downsizing to me, and at first, I was absolutely insulted. How could he even think that I would consider moving from a home that held so many memories and that I loved so much? Why would I possibly want to give up a yard that overlooked a small lake, my flowers, the space, and our neighbors? On the practical side, though, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. A smaller house would mean less upkeep, and living in a townhouse would mean no lawn work. For two people who travel as much as we do, those to factors helped me buy into the idea. After all, I love change, I love an adventure, and taking on a new lifestyle would offer both of those things. Over the course of a year, downsizing started to seem like a good idea. Why hadn’t I thought of it? We decided we would only move if we found a place we both really liked, and we also decided to not force the process. We would just let things fall into place, and they did. We put our house on the market and had a contract within two weeks. We found three townhouses that we liked and rated them from favorite to least favorite, and we were able to buy the favorite. It all just happened very smoothly. Now, if you have been thinking about down-sizing, there are a few factors you need to consider before taking the plunge.
Are You Ready for Downsizing?
This is a question that all people involved need to ask themselves, and here are some points to consider? Are you at a point where you are ready to simplify your life? Are you empty nesters? Do you have frequent out-of-town guests who spend the night? Do you have hobbies that require the space your current house offers? Do you enjoy gardening and doing lawn work? Do you travel a lot? Do you like to entertain large groups? Do you have a lot of grandchildren who visit frequently? The answers to these questions might make you realize you need to stay where you are. On the other hand, they might tell you it’s okay to move to a smaller location.
Are You Ready to Get Rid of Stuff?
No matter how much you love your stuff, some of it has to go. Part of downsizing is getting rid of items that won’t fit into your new place. For instance, if you have family heirlooms, would you be willing to give them up? Would you be willing to sell things or donate them? Do you have family members who will take the extra stuff? For me, getting rid of stuff was very liberating. I love an empty drawer, and having less belongings to deal with made me happy.
Are You Ready to Get Rid of Memorabilia?
Downsizing requires more than just getting rid of stuff. It requires getting rid of memorabilia that has no financial worth but means the world to you. Have you saved your children’s school work and art projects all of these years? If you downsize, you will have to let go of those things. You will say good-bye to your children’s bedrooms, the growth chart on the closet door, the trophies and game balls that they earned. Perhaps your children will want some of those items. Let them take what they want, and then get rid of the rest. By all means, don’t rent a storage space so you can keep the stuff. Part of downsizing is simplifying.
Are You Ready for the Work?
Downsizing is a lot of work – both physical and mental. When we downsized, we also decided to completely remodel the townhouse before we moved it. That meant we had two moves. One from our house to an apartment during the renovation, and then one from the apartment to our townhouse when the remodeling was complete. It was a lot of work. To help save money, I did all of the packing so we only had to pay movers. It took hours and hours. The mental part for me was living in limbo for a while. I am a nester, and living in a furnished apartment with things that didn’t belong to me was a mental challenge, but I made it. Knowing it was temporary really helped.
Is Your Family On Board?
Although this should not be a determining factor, your life will be a whole lot easier if your family is on board with your decision to downsize. They will be letting go of memories, too. So, it might be easier for all of you if you first let them know you are thinking about it rather than just springing this big move on them. Our children were all for our decision. On the other hand, my mother, who was 85 at the time and lives eight hours away, was totally against it. She is a woman of the Great Depression and couldn’t understand why we would move from something big to something small. She created a whole lot of unnecessary stress for me because she didn’t want me to let go of things even though the move didn’t affect her at all.
Although there might be other factors to consider if you are thinking about downsizing, these are the biggies. You all have been along for the ride when we moved in to our townhouse (we had just started the blog back then), and now again when we are moving to another. Let us know if you have considered downsizing and what factors are helping you make the decision to go or to stay where you are.