How to Effortlessly Downsize as a Senior

While some seniors prefer to live in group environments, such as assisted living situations or group homes, many seniors are choosing to live independently. Science has begun to back up the benefits of this, saying that independent living helps seniors build confidence, self-sufficiency, and a sense of purpose. Sometimes, though, your old home may be too large for you to keep up on your own. Downsizing can be a great option if you want to continue living independently without having to deal with the maintenance of a larger home. Here are some tips you can follow as you look at the housing market with an eye for a smaller home.

Research Your Ideal House

As you look for a new home, keep in mind your needs as the years pass. You may want to consider a single-story home to avoid having to climb stairs. Similarly, homes with carpet can prevent falls better than a home with wood or tile floors. Choose what is important to you — if you have always wanted a large kitchen, choose a house with the appropriate amenities in your price range. Depending on your location, the purchase price of a house can vary greatly.  Always research online through websites to get a feel for the price of homes that are your preferred size, in your ideal location. For instance, homes in Roanoke have sold for a median price of $162,000.

You’ll also need to factor in the cost of any modifications you may need to make to your home for accessibility. If you’re just looking to make some simple changes such as adding grab bars to your bathroom, you can hire a local handyman (in Roanoke, you’ll likely spend $167 – $633 for these services). But if you need to make major modifications like a bathroom remodel, this could cost you anywhere from $19,000 to over $61,000, depending on the type of work you have done.

Downsize Your Belongings First

However, the first thing you should start to think about before you even find your smaller home is what you plan to do with all of your belongings. Over the years, many people accumulate a large number of possessions that have an accepted official place in their current home, but may not necessarily need in a new space. Deciding to go through your things is also a practical decision. By moving to a smaller house, you are guaranteeing that you will need to unload some of your things; otherwise, you will have trouble fitting them all into your new home.

The challenge then becomes what to get rid of. While the answer to this problem is very personal, there are certain general rules you can follow. Start with your closet and get rid of anything you don’t wear at least semi-regularly. Unless you are a heavy reader, you may want to do the same with your books. If you have stacks of albums or CD cases, back them up to your computer and sell the originals. It may be a little more difficult to go through your knick-knacks and decorations. Some people like to adopt an entirely new design scheme when they move to a new house — this would make it easier for you to get rid of your current trinkets.

If, however, you like your current design, try selecting 10 to 20 of your absolute favorite pieces, the possessions you can’t imagine not having in your home. Follow this process in each room of your house to downsize your possessions quickly.

Enlist Help on Moving Day

To make the moving process go more smoothly, ask your family members for assistance packing and moving. It may be easier for you to hire a moving team — that way, you won’t have to worry about lifting boxes or taking apart your bed. Start early in the day so that you can have time to drive to your new home and still be able to unpack before dinnertime.

If you have been considering downsizing to a smaller home, now is a great time to do it. The process will be much easier if you go through your things early on, take into account your needs in abilities, and enlist assistance on moving day.

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