Five Factors to Consider When Downsizing – Revisited

Welcome to February and a revisit of one of our posts from last February.  Usually we do this on the first day of the month, but we wanted to give you a tour of Mom’s new family room in yesterday’s post.  So, today we are revisiting five factors to consider when downsizing.  If you are thinking about moving to a smaller home, this is a good post to read first.  My parents downsized, realized they needed more space after all, and recently upsized.  If you have any other considerations to add to the list, please mention them in the comments.  Enjoy the revisit……

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.


Townhouse Great Room - The 2 Seasons

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.

Townhouse kitchen

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.

Townhouse kitchen - The 2 Seasons

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.

Townhouse great room - The 2 Seasons

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.

Townhouse guest room - The 2 Seasons

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.




  1. Judy Williams says

    Another factor that should be considered is “would your downsized home be comfortable if/when one of you is alone”. My husband and I downsized to a cluster home in our early 50’s and we were a little paranoid about what happens with “boomerang” kids and we picked a lot that would have a walk out basement and we ended up with 3600 SF of finished space on three floors, but with 1800SF on main level. Fast forward 18 years later, I am now an early 70’s widow in good health and I have two houses (one in the north and one in NC) and I have to deal with decisions and disbanding one house, or perhaps two and buying another. I do not want to be a downer, but I believe thinking about would either of us be comfortable in this house by ourselves is an important issue to consider. On a cheery note, both of Janette’s empty nester homes are absolutely beautiful!

    • says

      (This is from Janette) Judy, that is a good point. I do know that there are several ladies living alone on our block in their townhouses. I am sorry you are dealing with these life changes.

  2. Patty says

    I am trying to convince my husband that it is time to sell. We have 5 bedrooms for only the two of us. My husband is in remission but I have cancer (again) and am undergoing more radiation treatments. We live about 1/2 hour from the hospital and will be going there the rest of our lives so I would like to move closer. We have children but no grandchildren – and we never will – so I don’t need to worry about that. It is getting rid of all the stuff I have.

    • says

      This is Janette. Patty, I am so sorry you are having health issues. Downsizing could definitely relieve some of the stress you fill with the many spaces there are to take care of. I have to say that it is a lot of work to move at this age with all of our stuff to go through, but it’s worth it in the end. Good luck to you and thank you for reading our blog.