Deciding How Much to Downsize

Man and woman with facing away, standing at a stove in a large house

The Time to Downsize Has Come

The time to downsize has come but how do you go about it? Downsizing usually occurs after the kids move out. Retirement is also a great time to move into a home that fits your new needs better. Regardless of the reason, your lifestyle is about to change. That means deciding how much to downsize will be an art as much as a science. Your new home is a chance to envision your new future.


Separate the Past from the Present

Take a look around your house and consider how you use it. The combination of the great room, the dining room, the family room, and the playroom all used to make perfect sense. However, they’re probably not getting the same use they saw in the past. Measure your activities against the spaces you actually occupy. You are probably under-utilizing your home. Are the kids’ former bedrooms becoming partially used storage spaces? When you’ve made the decision to downsize, you need to look at those spaces with a new set of eyes. If you’re not using those rooms to their potential anymore, your next home can do without them.


Downsizing the Garage

The garage should get some attention all its own. When was the last time you used your workbench? How much of your garage is used purely for storage? How many cars do you have compared to your space? Are you planning to keep them all after the move? Going from a four car garage to a two car garage can bring big changes, mostly in the form of storage and recreation. The Downsizing Diva has some great ideas to help you decide what you need based on how you actually use the garage. You might be surprised at how much of that space is just not necessary.


Downsizing Office and Hobby Rooms

Do you have an active home office? How about a hobby room? If you have both, perhaps you can combine them. That might mean getting rid of a lot of stuff, but if you are downsizing that’s a major part of the game. Make a judgement call on how much you use those spaces. Perhaps your new home won’t even require an office. If your needs have changed significantly, a desk against the dining room wall might suffice.


Accommodating Visitors in a Downsized Home

One of the considerations for downsizing after the kids move out is what to do when they visit. Do they all come at once or do they tend to visit one at a time? Are you still going to be the one hosting the holiday gatherings? Imagine where they will sleep or where you will seat them for the big meal. Choose your new home with those thoughts in mind.You still want to have family around. You just need to arrange your new home to best suit your new lifestyle.


Efficiency of a Downsized Home

Imagine the AC and heating you are pumping into the rooms of your home and realize your new, smaller home will be more efficient. You might even prioritize efficiency when you decide on how many rooms you will need. The savings from a smaller home usually brings a smile.


Let the Kids Help Out

Are you considering storage for the things that won’t fit in your new home? This is not the best option. Things in storage don’t get used and, accordingly, have less value. If you are planning to leave them as an inheritance, it might be time to ask the children to either take them or part with them. According to Lifehack, faced with a choice of adopting or losing, kids will usually show up to take those things off your hands.


The Upside of Downsizing

It can be hard to decide how much to downsize. Everything you give away or throw out has a little bit of history attached to it. Keep in mind those memories exist in you, not in those objects. Most people feel much better after they have cleared out their homes. The key is to assess each old room and decide its true need and yours. Move into a home that allows you to live the life you desire. Include the things you love most and create spaces that will accommodate your cherished visitors. Downsizing can be an uplifting time and a fresh start. It’s something to get excited about!

Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash