5 Rules for downsizing

Downsizing for seniors is a stressful and laborious task. Sorting through a household full of possessions and a lifetime of memories is quite a daunting task. It is even more challenging if you need to downsize unexpectedly because of health concerns or other emergencies. Many seniors find it difficult to part with items they do not need. Here are five rules for retirement downsizing with senior move managers.

1- Develop a Plan

A professional move manager will help your downsizing with helpful checklists.A good rule of thumb is to prepare for a move in advance and not wait until the 11th hour to start making plans to move. You should make plans before you list your home or at the first sign of failing health. It is advisable to consult a senior move manager to help you make an efficient plan.

Start with the three main rooms: the living room, kitchen, and family room. These are the most cluttered rooms because they are used daily and have a high emotional value. Separate all the items in four piles- things you are going to keep, items you are going to donate, items you are going to give to your family members, and items you will throw away. After you are finished with these rooms, work outwards to garages, attics, and shades.

It is also good to create a system of downsizing. Some of the standard systems are de-cluttering, donating, and documenting. A senior move manager can help you employ a method of downsizing that is best suited for you.

2- Consider the New Space

It does not matter if you are moving to an assisted living facility, a small apartment, or a family member. You need to develop a plan of where items will go according to the available space. First, determine the amenities that you are going to need. What security measures or physical needs will you require. You should plan your new space based on these accommodations.

It is also essential to consider size. If you are moving from a large house to a small apartment, you will have to do a significant downsizing. In this case, you should consider the most critical aspects of your lifestyle. For example, if you like writing, do not get rid of the desk. Make room for things that matter in your life. It would help if you considered hiring a storage unit for essential items that may not fit in your new space.

3- Eliminate Duplicates

This is very common in the kitchen where you may have several stockpots, different cookie sheets, a handful of spatulas, and so on and so forth. Since you are reducing clutter, you can do with one kind of everything. If you do not feel like donating kitchen pieces you feel are emotionally valuable to you, consider giving them to your child or grandchild.

4- Donate

The best way to make the most out of precious items is to donate them. Donating gives you a feeling of relief, knowing that you are giving back to society. Things like civil war memorabilia are best suited for a school or museum. You may even receive special recognition for legacy gifts in the form of plaque and tax deductions. Items that will Donatoins are a great way to help downsizing with a professional move managernot fetch much at a yard sale should also be donated where they will be more helpful, like at a children’s camp.

5- Make Some Extra Cash Through Sales

Nowadays, it is easy to sell things yourself through online sites such as eBay and Craigslist. There are also Smartphone apps that enable you to make quick sales. Yard sales are a fast way to sell items, but the prices are usually low. On the other hand, Craigslist has a broad audience, and you have a good chance of getting more for your items. Consider consignment for handbags, furniture, and unnecessary accessories. They have reasonable prices and you will be able to get rid of substantial items like furniture. If you are not handy with computers, you can request for the help of your children or grandchildren who may be more computer-savvy and will efficiently market your items through popular online platforms.

In Conclusion

Moving as a senior can be depressing if you are unprepared or cannot let go of your possessions. Many senior people struggle with sorting out what they do not need because they are fond of all their memorabilia and precious items. In such situations, it takes the expertise of a senior move manager to help with downsizing. Some of the rules of retirement downsizing may not be easy to agree with, but they are necessary and help to declutter your home before you transition into a new home. Make sure you consult a senior move manager in advance to help you adjust to the prospect of downsizing and moving to your new home.

 

Baby Boomers Are Downsizing: How to Cope with the Crisis

Baby Boomers are slowly downsizing, but a new crisis is arising in the housing industry since few Millennials want their homes, particularly big and outdated ones. According to a recent report, the housing demand from younger generations is inadequate to fill the void left by the crowd of departing older owners. Overall, seniors are projected to exit more than 21 million homes over the next two decades. As they exit their huge homes and downsize, there is going to be massive investment implications across the country. So, what can you do to cope with the challenges of baby boomer downsizing?

Aging in Place vs. Downsizing

Many baby boomers wish to retire by the age of 60 and settle closer to their children or grandchildren, but finding affordable houses to downsize to is a huge challenge. As a result, there is always a tug of war between staying put or downsizing. So, which is the better option?

According to a 2018 Survey of Home and Community Preferences, AARP revealed that 76 percent of Americans aged 50 and above prefer to remain in their current homes, and 77 percent would wish to live in their current neighborhood for as long as possible. On the contrary, just 59 percent of older Americans envision the possibility of staying in their community, either in a smaller home within the area (13 percent) or in their current home (46 percent).

Baby boomer downsizing is faced with several challenges as many boomers enter their golden years with substantial mortgage debt. Much of the mortgage borrowing is carried by households with no pension and below-median incomes and assets. This is perhaps the reason why many baby boomers opt to remain in their current homes. Other factors, such as living in familiar territories, retaining home equity, or a lack of affordable housing options, may also drive the decision to stay put.

Aging in place, on the other hand, can be harder to achieve if the home isn’t equipped to meet the future needs of the boomers. There is a close linkage between housing and health care, and making your house accessible for in-home health care is of paramount importance. However, this can be a big challenge in lower-density areas with limited transportation and accessibility to medical practitioners.Organizing and packing for a downsizing boomer

The Solution!

As a baby boomer stuck in this dilemma, there are multiple options you could explore to cope. They include:

1- Tapping Equity to Stay Put

Mobility and health issues are the biggest retardants for seniors looking to stay in their current homes. You may need amenities such as bathroom grip bars, wheelchair ramps, walk-in showers, and wider doorways and hallways. However, such home improvements can be costly. Fortunately, if you own your home outright or have adequate equity, you can borrow some cash against your home’s equity to help pay for the modifications. Some of the best options to consider include home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOC), VA financing, and reverse mortgage.

2- Tapping Equity to Stay in your Community

The increasing shortage of affordable housing coupled with skyrocketing mortgage rates creates a significant barrier to baby boomer downsizing. However, higher rates create a huge mobility barrier to all cadres of the society, including the millennials. If you have significant equity in your current home, you have an upper hand in competing for smaller, less expensive houses, thanks to the inflated appreciation.

Instead of trying to relocate to more expensive neighborhoods to be closer to family, you can look for a smaller home within your community and tap into your current home’s equity to raise funding.

3- Thinking Outside the Conventional Housing Box

In many communities, the limited housing options complicates everything for baby boomer downsizing. Surprisingly, some older folks are devising more creative solutions that buck tradition. According to an AARP survey, adults aged 50 and above are today open to new housing alternatives. To be precise, 32 percent prefer home sharing, 31 percent are open to building an accessory dwelling unit, while 56 percent prefer living in villages that provide services that support aging.

Whether your aim is to gain companionship or attain economic viability, you can think outside the box and opt for unconventional housing solutions. The “Golden Girls” system of roommates is one example of shared-housing arrangements that are gaining steam. As the affordable housing crisis continues to brew, unconventional solutions are increasingly becoming less taboo and more accepted.

Another alternative is to build an accessory dwelling unit that suits your senior needs. An accessory dwelling unit is simply a smaller, secondary building that attaches to your primary home or situated on the same lot. Think of it as a mother-in-law suite or granny flat that offers a livable solution for seniors. It’s a great option if you wish to age in place while generating extra rental income from your main house. However, check with your local zoning or building authorities if it’s possible to get approval for an accessory dwelling unit in your region.

Final Thoughts

Whether your plan is to downsize or stay put, housing expenses will undoubtedly play a critical role in your overall retirement plan. It’s important to craft a financial plan for retirement. Talk with a financial advisor or a mortgage lender to figure out what options will help you live comfortably without jeopardizing your retirement income. Other than affordability and having a comfortable place to call home, baby boomer downsizing should be informed by accessibility to family, doctors, hospitals, transportation, and social amenities.

Smart Organizational Tips for Downsizing to an Apartment

Smart Organizational Tips for Downsizing to an Apartment

Downsizing to a smaller apartment can be overwhelming. But, if you plan ahead and take it one step at a time, you’ll find the entire experience not only enjoyable, but also cathartic as you begin the organizational process to simplify your life.  

Renting a smaller apartment comes with plenty of benefits, from lower utility bills and rent to less space to clean and keep organized. A smaller space can even be a simpler way of living, while also allowing you more time and money for yourself. 

But, before you get started, check out the tips below that will relieve some of the stress associated with downsizing and keep you on track for a smooth transition. 

Preparing Your Belongings

Downsizing is always about boxes, packing them and then unpacking them. Pack by room is the best.Start preparing for your move in advance, perhaps even months ahead of time. If you know you want to downsize, begin working on the following now. Doing so will help you tremendously when the time comes to start packing.

  • Keep Track of How Often You Use Things

You probably notice these things every day, but don’t give them much thought. When you’re deciding what to wear, what plate to eat on, what glasses to drink from, and other small decisions like these, you always lean toward certain things. So, start keeping track of the items you use every day and those that you only use once a week, once a month or not at all. Then, track these habits on a piece of paper to visualize the usefulness of your items. This will make it easier to discard some of them when it’s time to pack for a new place. 

  • Find a Use for it

Sometimes, you keep things just because. Although it’s important to have personal trinkets and items you treasure — even if they’re not particularly useful — be careful about becoming an emotional hoarder. That means being unable to get rid of things with which you are emotionally connected. In time, they’ll pile up and you’ll have boxes upon boxes of memories that you just can’t give up. If you have a hard time letting go, ask for help from professionals and check out our guides for coping with hoarding.

So, while it might be tough, try to find the purpose in all of your things. Does that picture make you feel something or is it filled with emotion? If so, then it’s probably something you want to keep. On the other hand, if it’s just something you’ve had forever that doesn’t really speak to you, then it’s probably time to let go

  • Discard Unused Items Regularly

Sometimes, we buy stuff we think we’ll use, but then we never do. These items often include kitchen tools that are too complicated or a hassle, or spur-of-the-moment purchases for that new hobby that we never actually begin. If it’s something you’re keeping just in case you’ll want to pick it up some day, you should probably discard it.

Preparing for the New Apartment

Now that you have a basis for your organization, you can start to prepare for your move.

  • Measure the Space 

Once you’ve decided on the apartment you want to rent, go for a visit before you begin packing. Check everything out, measure the space and write down the dimensions of all of your rooms. As you wander around the apartment, visualize your things in each room and how you will interact with them. You might even want to write down the main items you want in each room. At the very least, have a mental image before you start bringing in boxes. That way, you’ll know what to put where and unpacking will be much easier.

  • Pack by Room, not Item Type

Making lists for downsizing is highly recommended, particularly for boomers.Group your items by room, not by type. For instance, if you’ve visualized a small library in your living room, but you also have some books you like to keep close to your bed, then don’t be afraid to separate those. The same goes for everything else — from pillows to artwork. 

Note that you don’t have to keep the design from your previous home. This is crucial if you downsize. With fewer rooms in your new apartment, an exact transition might be difficult. So, when you pack, think of the new apartment, not of the old one. Having the list from the previous section will make the transition simpler. Additionally, remember to label your boxes and drop them off in the appropriate room.

  • Adapt for Your Lifestyle

Finally, know that there’s no such thing as the perfect recipe for downsizing. It all depends on your lifestyle and choices. Although guidance is sometimes necessary and welcome, no one can tell you exactly what to throw away, what to donate or what to sell, because you’re the only one who knows that. Try to detach for a bit and imagine your life with or without certain things. Then, see how that affects the way you live every day. It’s a process you have to be ready for, so make sure to prepare mentally, as well. 

Downsizing is not a burden. It’s a purge and a path to liberation. Embrace this change and remember that it’s not permanent. The choice will always be yours.

About the author: Mihaela Buzec is a passionate reader and writer with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.

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