Empty nest syndrome is a real thing. That sinking feeling when your children have grown and all moved out. The house never quite feels the same.
But before long, those feelings of mourning are replaced with ones of excitement and hope for the future ahead. You've spent your entire life caring for others and now, it's your time!
Is your current house oversized for your needs? Is it getting hard to manage?
This is a common complaint of empty nesters, but don't worry! We're here to help.
Keep reading to discover three downsizing tips to help you close one chapter in your life and begin another.
Downsizing Tips for the Big Move
Nearly 40% of all recent empty nesters plan to move as part of the downsizing process. After all, most couples no longer need a large home with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms.
With declining health and income, a smaller home or condominium is much more practical. Here are a few tips to help you downsize and declutter.
1. Give Yourself Ample Time
Have you lived in your house for 30 or more years? If so, you've probably acquired a lot of stuff. Trying to sort through years of belongings in a week, or even two, isn't reasonable.
To help keep stress levels low when downsizing, start early in the process. Are your kids enrolled in college? Did one of your children recently get engaged?
These are all major life changes that indicate its time to start downsizing your belongings. Dedicate one day each weekend and focus on one room in your house.
This way, you won't feel overwhelmed on moving day.
2. Size-Up Your New Home
The biggest struggle most seniors have when downsizing is fitting their old life into their new home.
The entire concept of downsizing is getting a smaller, more manageable living space. That means getting rid of oversized furniture, duplicate items, or things you no longer need.
Once you've found your new dream space, measure each room. Next, measure your current furniture to decide what can stay and what needs to go.
Don't be afraid to replace certain items
But furniture isn't the only thing you need to measure. Will your favorite toaster oven fit on your new counter? What about your barbeque grill? Consider both indoor and outdoor space.
You can learn more here about sizing these types of items for your residential space.
3. Yes or No and No in Between
It's difficult to know how to downsize, especially if you're sentimental.
So many of your belongings hold special meaning. And while it's fine to hang onto some special items, its also important to know when to let go.
This means making a "yes" and "no" pile and not a "maybe" pile. This third pile will quickly grow and put a wrench in your downsizing plans.
Look at the item in question and ask yourself, "When's the last time I've used this? Do I have something similar? Do I really need this?". Answer these questions and then decide accordingly.
A good rule of thumb is, if you haven't used an item in six months, you won't miss it.
Moving Forward, Not Backwards
Downsizing can seem daunting to some. After all, you're saying good-bye to your past. This can be especially nerve-wracking for older individuals.
But it's important to shift your thinking. Focus on the exciting life that lays ahead, and look fondly on the life you're leaving behind.
These downsizing tips help make this transition easier by showing you how to declutter both your belongings and your thoughts.
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