Downsizing? Five Questions to Ask Before You Move

Organizing for a downsize

We’re about to enter March, which means graduation season is around the corner. We’ll see another wave of kids enter adulthood and head off to college, leaving some with an empty home and too much space. With fewer bodies living in a home, some empty nesters are selling furniture, donating clothes and passing down assets to prep for a smaller home. But before you put the house on the market, and start selling off your valuables, ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Will you be happy living in a smaller footprint? Think about this from a physical space perspective – will I truly be able to live in this space? – and emotional perspective. Some people identify with the idea that you are judged by the size of your home. There is nothing wrong with this, so you shouldn’t neglect this thought in the decision-making process.
  2. What will you miss about the larger living space? Think through your and your partner’s living habits. Do you have a craft room? Does your significant other have an office? Do you have different sleeping habits? Do you need a quiet room while your partner is watching TV? You really need to think about what you are willing to give up in terms of the number of rooms you need for your lifestyle.
  3. Are you willing to sell your stuff? When you go through the process of downsizing, this also means living with fewer physical assets. Will you be happy living with less? For example, if you have a large kitchen, and like to cook, will you be able to cook comfortably with fewer kitchen appliances in a new, smaller kitchen? If you have a lot of antique and sentimental furniture, or you okay with leaving them behind? Or, you may have to switch from a California king size bed to a queen-size bed due to the size of the master bedroom. Additionally, consider the cost associated with buying smaller furniture.
  4. How will you dispose of the unwanted items? After you’ve decided your comfort level with shrinking the number of household assets, you’ll need to think through how you’ll go about disposing of these items. There are many ways to go about this including donating items to charity, having a yard sale/estate sale, and giving items to relatives.
  5. What do you want your lifestyle to be when you downsize? We’re seeing more couples downsize from their suburban homes and buying a condo in the city. Even though you are going to less space, think about the other costs associated with this kind of a move. For example, living in the city you’ll likely need to pay for parking and condo fees, and you may incur higher living taxes. Also consider your comfort level with taking public transportation and living alongside a younger demographic.

Downsizing is a big choice for you and your partner, and these are just a fraction of the questions you need to ask yourselves. Are you thinking about downsizing? If so, share your questions and concerns in the comments below!

Photos: Sixty and Me

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