Tips on downsizing your home for retirement

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Posted on: 24 January 2019 by Mark Burns

Downsizing is often associated with retirement and finding your “final home”, but these days, it can actually happen at any stage of life for a whole number of reasons. For example, students may need to downsize when they move out of the parental home and into halls or shared flats and young adults may need to downsize when a new baby comes along and they need to find space for baby paraphernalia.

With this in mind, here are four tips for downsizing your home.

Try to give yourself at least three months to downsize

While it can be helpful to have a deadline, leaving downsizing to the last minute can make it a very stressful experience, which is particularly sad given that, done properly, it can actually be pleasurable. Allowing yourself a reasonable amount of time to go through your belongings mindfully can both alleviate any sense of stress you feel and enable you to do a better job.

Ask yourself if your possessions bring joy into your life

Regardless of how much space you have in your home, there are really only two reasons to hold on to any given item. The first is because you want it and the second is because you need it. Marie Kondo’s famous question “Does it spark joy?” is actually a very good test of whether or not you actually really want to keep an item in your home.

If the answer is yes, you then need to determine whether it is the item itself which sparks joy or whether it is the memories attached to it. In the former case, the item is a candidate to be kept, in the latter you may wish to look at other options, such as photographing it, to keep the memories alive without using up the storage space. On that note, if you are still holding on to the likes of physical photographs, audio tapes or video tapes, now would be the perfect time to get them digitised.

Be honest about whether or not you really need something

If an item is functional, however, then the issue of whether or not it sparks joy may not even be relevant let alone helpful. Practical items you use on an everyday basis generally deserve a place in your home (unless your lifestyle is likely to change significantly), but when it comes to items you use less often, than your decision is likely to turn on the inconvenience it would cause you to be without the item if you needed it.

For example a fire extinguisher is something you may never use, but would definitely benefit from having to hand if you needed it whereas a simple kitchen utensil is something you might benefit from having but could probably work around, borrow or, if necessary, buy again.

Remember you can give away items charities won’t take

It may be worth your while to try to sell some of your belongings, but that may not be feasible and if it is then it may take time. Donating, however, gets items out of your house quickly and easily. Charity shops are the obvious places to take items you no longer need but if you want to give away electrical items and/or bulky items which might be difficult to take to a shop, then you could just advertise them as being free to collect on your local Gumtree or Facebook market.

If you are thinking about downsizing then following the above steps will help, however it is also useful to understand the current market value of your home in order to see how much equity you could release by downsizing. A current market value can be achieved either through a traditional estate agent or by using an online property valuation tool to assess the current market value of your home.

 

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