Downsizing in Your Senior Years Can Make Life Sweeter
Sometimes less truly is more. When you’re entering your golden years, having less “stuff” and a smaller home to maintain can be beneficial. Here is how to make your senior years sweeter by downsizing.
Downsizing is sensible. Most of us enjoy saving money, time and energy. As the AARP points out, those are all benefits of downsizing in your senior years. Owning a bigger house than you need costs you more in terms of maintenance and repairs, as well as utilities, insurance and taxes. If you’re on the fence about downsizing, US News & World Report suggests sketching out your space and notating how you actually use it. You may be surprised at how little room you really need.
What to purge. Since less space accommodates less stuff, downsizing means unloading some of your belongings. One of the first places to start is your wardrobe. Try the old rule of thumb that if you didn’t wear it last year, you don’t need it. If you own items in an off-site storage space, edit those as well. Housing them off your property is a good indicator you don’t really need them! Besides, you’ll save the fees for the storage unit rental. Next consider any workout equipment. Did your treadmill become an overgrown coat rack? And delve into your kitchen cupboards while you’re at it! When’s the last time you used an air popper for popcorn or made bread in the bread machine? Take an honest inventory of your small appliances and unload items that are wasting space. Have a yard sale, donate to your local charity, or sell things that you don’t need or want online. Once your own items are thoroughly sorted, talk to your kids about any lingering memorabilia from their childhoods. You may be surprised that the trophies and music posters they once coveted are now no longer desirable or necessary.
Your new home. Finding the right home is your next hurdle. Ideally you’ll end up with a property that will meet your needs as you grow older, allowing you to remain independent and safe in the future. Consider finding a home that is designed for aging in place, or making modifications to an existing property with that in mind. Overall, it’s best to find a home with the living areas on one level.
You should pay special attention to the kitchen and bathroom areas, since they are rooms where you experience higher risk of hazards with hot appliances and slippery surfaces. Look for slip-resistant flooring in both rooms, such as cork, vinyl or linoleum. The bathroom should have grab bars installed in the shower and toilet area. The kitchen should offer cabinets and countertops at heights you can access from a seated position, 30” from the floor. When examining potential homes, you should factor in the costs to make the property accessible. For instance, the average price to remodel a kitchen in Escondido, California, ranges from $21,677 to $43,636; and modifications typically take four to five weeks.
Simplify your move. Even though you won’t need to pack so much after your purge, you’ll still want to be smart about packing and moving. It’s an exhausting process, and you’ll appreciate making it easier on yourself. One recommendation is to put the items you’ll need to unpack first in a clear plastic tote. This would include basics including paper towels, phone chargers and utensils. Another big tip for packing is to label your boxes well. Put on every box what room it goes to and note the contents. Last but far from least, everything should be packed before your movers show up, whether you hire pros or enlist friends and family members.
Less is more. It’s logical to opt for a smaller house going into your golden years. Unload unnecessary items, find an appropriate home, and make your move as easy as possible. Your senior years will be all the sweeter by downsizing!
Written by Hazel Bridges