There is a lot to know and do when it comes to downsizing. Let's talk about 10 important things to know when you are in the process of downsizing and after you move into a new home.
Today let’s talk about 10 things you need to know about downsizing. This is just an overview and a list of things to keep in mind. We will be chatting about them in-depth as the year goes on.
We are embarking in a year-long series about downsizing! There is just so much to chat about and so many savvy tips that will make the downsizing journey much easier!
You might like to read OUR DOWNSIZING STORY before you read today’s post.
And don’t miss all the amazing stories and advice so many of StoneGable’s wonderful readers shared too!
Here are 10 things to know about downsizing! If you have some advice please leave it for us in the comments!
DOWNSIZING DOES NOT MEAN JUST ONE THING
When many of us think of downsizing we may think of leaving the home we raised our family in and moving to a smaller home.
But downsizing can mean so much more. You can downsize by just decluttering your home, or you can make a move to a home that suits your lifestyle better whether it is smaller or even bigger. There is really not a one size fits all definition of downsizing. Just like there is not one downsizing story!
Downsizing might mean moving to be nearer to your grown children or going to a place you have always wanted to live.
This series is about all these scenarios and more! So whatever your situation is or was we have lots and lots of tips and helpful advice for you. And we want you to share your tips and experiences too!
START EARLY IF YOU CAN
I hope there are lots of readers who have just turned 50 or so that are reading this post!
It’s not too early to start thinking about the second half of your life. And think of it in a positive way.
And that includes living options.
You may be in the middle of your children’s high school or college years but you should also start to consider what your life may look like down the road.
It’s good to just think about life down the road because you never know what is around the corner!
Bobby and I could have never guessed that I would have a foot surgery that would leave me with a handicap and that circumstance would eventually pull us away from the home we loved so much!
Let me speak from experience here, we did not start early and our downsizing story started and ended in a matter of months. So all the things we needed to do and all the emotions got squeezed together! If we had had more time to think and plan the move from StoneGable to Tanglewood would have been so so much easier!
DOWNSIZING CAN BE VERY EMOTIONAL
I speak to so many people who are downsizers or who are somewhere in their downsizing journey and almost to a person (especially women) they say that downsizing is very emotional. I’m among that group!
Our homes tend to collect memories and so do our things! And often, it is the thought of letting them go that is often traumatic! There is so much to say about this aspect of downsizing and we will discuss this soon in another post.
Downsizing can be the close of a chapter of our lives. Or at least most of us think it is.
Here are other common reasons downsizing is so emotional…
- loss of things
- loss of home
- close of a chapter of life
- letting go of things that have memories
- the daunting size of the task of downsizing
- fear of the future
- moving from friends and family
- moving closer to family
- living in a smaller home
- moving and setting up another home
- making new friends in a new place
There are probably as many reasons for emotions as there are people in the downsizing process!
Moving from StoneGable to Tanglewood was very emotional for me. Partly because we were moving from a home I loved and partly because it all happened so fast and we had to go through the entire process so quickly.
Blogging was also a huge part of my emotional journey too! StoneGable was my blog and my job and my joy! I was not sure that my readers would like Tanglewood and follow me there.
It took me a while to realize that I can blog and still help readers at Tanglewood. And I should have know my readers were friends and they would cheer me on to a new home!
THE AMAZING BENEFITS OF DOWNSING
Let’s flip the coin from the emotional tole of downsizing and look at just how amazing downsizing can be.
If you have read My Downsizing Story you know just how emotional leaving our beloved StoneGable home was. And at the same time, there was a wonderful thrill of letting go of all the dross and clutter and starting fresh in a much more manageable home.
It is important to think about and even dwell on and dream about all the great and amazing benefits of downsizing. And there are more wonderful things about downsizing than I can count.
Bobby and I are so happy here at our Tanglewood House! We downsized our home upsized our life!
Here are a few great benefits of downsizing. If you have already downsized, are you experiencing any of these benefits?
- less work
- a home that suits your needs
- more financial stability
- lower home bills
- more money to do other things
- new friends
- new furniture
- more time
- reduce clutter
- be near family
- new neighborhood or community
- get to decorate a new-to-you home (for all my decorating friends)
Sometimes as we get older, change is much harder and we get stuck where we are. It’s hard to face the unknown so some of us settle to stay where we are, even though the change would be a better fit and lifestyle for us!
It’s all about mindset, my friend! Of course, downsizing is emotional but make sure to see and enjoy the benefits of the process too! Make a conscious effort to look for and find the wonderful benefits and joys that come with downsizing.
CHOOSING A HOME TO FIT YOUR NEEDS IS THE GOAL
Let’s talk about downsizing to a new home.
When most of us think about downsizing we think about moving to a smaller home because for the majority of downsizers that is exactly what we do.
But we should really look at downsizing as finding the right home for our present lifestyle and beyond.
Again the options are many!
- apartment living
- retirement community
- over 55 community
- golf communities
- lake communities
- mountain communities
- dessert communities
- urban living
- country living
- single neighborhood homes
- living with children or someone else
It’s not too early to look around the area you want to live in and check out your options for homes.
Bobby and I were not looking to downsize but we found a wonderful home on a country golf course and knew this opportunity would probably not come up again.
I don’t suggest you leave finding a home to serendipity!
Be proactive and enjoy seeing different homes and lifestyle choices in the area you want to live, if possible.
Remember no home is perfect! But be like Goldilocks, find the home that is “just right” for you!
TAKE TIME TO REMEMBER
What I really want to say is you may need time to mourn.
Moving from a home you have a strong attachment to and is filled decades of memories is hard. It’s important to take time to remember all the events that took place in your home. And sometimes in the process of remembering you might feel the loss!
This can be so bittersweet!
For me, leaving StoneGable, if I can be honest here, felt a little like a death. So I went through a mini mourning stage.
Listen, give yourself permission to feel sad or devastated or moody. All those feelings if not addressed will resurface in other and maybe not healthy ways.
I went through my “time of great mourning” as I call it and now I just remember the sweet memories of raising a family in such a wonderful home! And am so grateful.
YOU WILL PROBABLY NEED TO DO A LOT OF DECLUTTERING AND LETTING GO
Of all the things to know about downsizing this is the one most people want to know about!
Downsizing is often about decluttering and letting go of things. And that can be hard. But it is also SO FREEING!
Look for several posts about the best ways to declutter your home as you get ready to move and what to do with all the stuff you can’t take with you!
In a perfect world, you should start to declutter way before you move. However, that is not always the case, right?
This was the hardest part of our move! Getting rid of 24 years of things I had collected and loved. From my children’s school papers I collected to rooms of furniture that had no home in our new home.
Where to begin can almost be paralyzing for many of us. So start with the right mindset. This is really important!!!!!
I love the adage that asks, “How do you eat an elephant”? The answer is so obvious, “One bite at a time”.
And we should do the same when we let go of things in our homes.
Experts say to start the downsizing process by decluttering and to start small. I think this is very good advice. Start by choosing a room (not the basement, garage, or attic) first and go through closets and drawers and any place that has accumulated stuff!
Work all the living spaces first! Then tackle larger areas like a basement or attic or garage.
When I was getting rid of all the clutter and smaller things in our home I also took a little time to let all the memories soak into my heart. For me, this was important!
But I did not dwell on things for long. My mantra became BE RUTHLESS and kept nothing that I could not use or was not beautiful or did not bring me joy. And most of all I took no clutter to our new home! Or so I thought!
We will talk a lot about downsizing decluttering in future posts. And I’m sure many of you have such great advice and tips!
YOU WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO LET GO OF HOME FURNISHINGS TOO
This topic goes hand-in-hand with decluttering. Getting rid of home furnishings and whole rooms of furniture is really hard!
And speaking from experience don’t expect your kids to want your stuff! They probably won’t. Today’s young people have a different style and mindset about what they put in their homes.
I have a relative that collected hummels and Lladro figurines. She stuffed hundreds of pieces in china cabinets and many more were spread throughout her large home. When she downsized she took the Lladro with her and wanted her children to take her hummels. Really, none of her children wanted them but a tender-hearted daughter-in-law took her hummels even though she really did not want them.
I know it is hard to see things we think are worth something or so precious to us go but I think it is such a shame to put that burden on our kids!
We will concentrate on this topic later on in our series.
Here is the bottom line when it comes to furniture, lamps, mirrors, art, or any other large furnishings you want to take to a downsized home…
Only take things that will fit into your new living space. And don’t overcrowd your space.
We will have lots to say about this!
FAMILY AND FRIENDS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU
Family and friends and church family and other people we come in contact with in our world and social lives will need to be told about your decision to downsize.
When to share and how much to share with each person is your decision.
And the people we share our downsizing news with will usually have one of two reactions!
They will be supportive and feel happy for you and may even offer to help or they will be confused and maybe even against your decision.
The first reaction is the one we all hope for and this will make the downsizer’s life a whole lot easier!
The reaction we don’t want to get to our downsizing news is another and much tougher story. It’s best if at all possible, to be sympathetic and listen the concerns of others. In these situations, if you want to preserve your relationships, it is important to muster up as much emotional maturity as you can!
PLANNING YOUR MOVE AND BEYOND IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Know up front that there are going to be a thousand different decisions and tasks and even bumps in the downsizing road! But also know, you will get through all of them and can quickly look forward to enjoying a new home!
Planning is the key to downsizing!
Plan for as much as you can. And be flexible when things don’t go according to your plan!
There you have 10 things to know about downsizing. We will talk about all of them in-depth in upcoming posts.
Now, if you have any tips, advice, or something to say about downsizing we would love to hear from you in the comments.