It’s a common situation. As you get older and the kids move out, you end up with a lot of empty rooms at home. Congratulations, you’re an empty-nester!
Without a big family living under one roof, your housing needs begin to change. Many empty-nesters and baby boomers are deciding to downsize. They are selling their larger, more expensive homes in favor of smaller, more affordable living spaces.
It may sound like a downer, but reducing your living space and expenses can lead to all kinds of advantages. Many find it’s not so hard to do after all. As one downsizer puts it, it isn’t so much “downsizing” as it is “rightsizing”
Here are a few reasons you should consider downsizing, plus how to address common concerns and take the plunge.
Why Downsize As An Empty Nester
Less Home Maintenance Work
Lots of rooms require lots of cleaning. Not to mention, there’s a lot of yard work and constant upkeep required to maintain a house. Why put yourself through the trouble when you aren’t even using all that space?
Plus, less housework means you can enjoy your free time more. You can do activities that make you happy like engaging in hobbies you enjoy or spending time with loved ones. Just about anything is better than housework!
Fund Your Retirement
Many empty-nesters use downsizing as an opportunity to upgrade other areas of their lives. By reducing monthly expenses on housing, you can apply these savings to other priorities as you see fit.
Many boomers choose to fund their retirement through downsizing their lifestyle. It’s possible you could even retire sooner! You could also use the savings to launch a second career, a new business, take more vacations, or do other things that are important to you.
Save For A Rainy Day
As we get older, unexpected expenses seem to arise more and more. You never know when you will be hit with bills for car repairs, home repairs, medical care, prescription drugs, and who knows what else.
Selling your house and reducing your monthly costs puts you in a great position to build an emergency fund. Retirement income tends to be fixed, so it’s definitely a good idea to have a cushion for unexpected expenses.
Distance to Needs
Not everyone wants to move to a typical retiree location like Florida or Arizona. Sometimes the right move simply means finding a place to better meet your needs.
For example, some boomers prefer to move to a ranch style townhouse to avoid stairs and yard work. Others relocate to a more affordable cost-of-living area. Many mid-lifers choose to move closer to aging parents or to new grandchildren. Whatever you needs may be, downsizing may provide an opportunity for you to address them.
Common Downsizing Concerns
Downsizing can sound very appealing to empty nesters, but it can also raise some concerns. Here are some common downsizing concerns, especially for well-seasoned homeowners:
Can I live comfortably in a smaller space?
Over the years, you’ve gotten used to living within a certain amount of space. The thought of losing any of that space might make you nervous. But don’t worry! Once you get rid of things that no longer serve you, you may be surprised how much space you actually need.
Keep in mind, just because you’re downsizing doesn’t mean you have to move into a one-bedroom condo or some kind of tiny house. The idea is just to reduce the size (and cost) of your current home. Many downsizers simply move from a three-bedroom home to a two-bedroom home. It’s entirely up to you!
Where will I keep all my stuff?
What about the stuff you don’t want to get rid of? Where will you keep it all after you downsize? Well, you have a couple options. First, you can use your new space as efficiently as possible. Tools for home storage and organization abound! Second, you can use off-site storage space for things you don’t need on hand, but still want to keep. With on-demand storage, it’s even easier than you think.
Is it emotionally difficult to downsize?
It’s perfectly natural to feel emotionally attached to your home and personal belongings. Especially as an empty-nester, there are a lot of memories wrapped up in your home. The thought of leaving may make you feel uneasy or even upset.
To help with the emotional transition, try displaying photos of memories in your old home in your new home. Bringing along the same familiar furniture and decor can help too. Remember, it’s not the house that holds the memories, it’s you and your family. Together, you can keep your cherished memories forever, no matter where you live.
There’s a certain amount of security in living in a large space. You have room for the “just in case.” For example, you probably have a spare bedroom “just in case.” You probably have the space to store extra items “just in case.” But honestly, how often do these cases actually come up?
You may find that the things you are concerned about are not actually concerns at all. Even after downsizing, many empty nesters still have a spare room or even a pull-out couch for guests. Plus, with storage options available, you can still have access to “just in case” items.
How To Downsize As An Empty Nester
1. Access your needs
Downsizing is different for everyone. Only you know what’s right for you. You certainly don’t have to downsize beyond your comfort zone. The key is find the right balance between what you give and what you gain.
2. Get rid of what you don’t need
Be ruthless in choosing what to get rid of and what to keep. Go through your belongings and sort them into categories:
If it doesn’t serve a purpose or bring you joy, get rid of it!
3. Make the move
Now comes the exciting part, pull the trigger! Research low cost of living areas. Find your right-sized dream house. Put your old house up for sale. Join the ranks of many happy downsizers!
How On-Demand Storage Can Help
Downsizing is a big change at any age. It may not be easy for empty-nesters, but many find it’s worth it.
On-demand storage can help. On-demand storage goes beyond regular self-storage services, and it’s especially great for baby boomers:
- No heavy lifting - Fill the bins and our moving professionals will come pick them up and move them.
- Never forget - Use our tracking system to know exactly where your items are at all times.
- There when you need it - Contact us by phone or email 24/7 and we’ll schedule a delivery or pick-up.
If you’re downsizing in the Seattle area, learn more about how on-demand storage can help you with the process.
Find out if Urbin Attic is available in your area and give us a call at (844) 908-7246. We’re here to help make downsizing easier for you