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Downsizing a Home: Knowing When You Are Ready

Most seniors know that there will come a day when they'll have to downsize their home.  Some recognize it sooner than others and take immediate action, but for some seniors it may not be so easy.  Having a strong support network is important - family, friends, neighbors or caregivers who can help you through the transition process - can help make this change in your life a positive one.

Here are some downsizing considerations to help you with your decision:

Timeline and Planning

  • Who will be helping you move to your new home? Consider hiring a professional organizing company and moving company.
  • Will you be giving any of your belongings to family members or close friends? Will you be donating clothing, shoes, etc.?
  • Do you have any special collections or memorabilia items to take with you? Any items to donate to a good cause? Will you need to find a consignment store or antique dealer?
  • Consider having a private or public estate sale to sell items you no longer need.

Space and Belongings

  • What does the layout of your new home consist of?  Is there enough space for your furniture and personal belongings? Which rooms in the home do you lose or gain space?
  • Will you have someone to help you sort through your things to determine which items you are keeping and which items to toss? Consider getting rids of things if there is no real need or space for them in your new home.
  • Is storage going to be an issue?  Do you need to rent an off-site storage unit?  If so, what size and how long will you need it?
  • Do you have enough room to have guests over for visits? Is there an extra bedroom for guests / grandchildren?

Hobbies and Favorite Pastimes

  • Do you have any hobbies? Will your new home have any amenities for you to use?  Will your new space accommodate your interests (exercise, painting, gardening, etc.)?
  • Will there be any outdoor activities to participate in with neighbors in your community or to enjoy independently?
  • Consider the climate where you will be living.  Is there a need for multiple winter coats or boots?
  • Will your new residence host special social events with others residents? What will your social life be like?

Home Maintenance and Daily Living

  • Will your new home require any routine maintenance (lawn care, snow removal, repairs)? Are these services provided for you?
  • How many floors will be in your new home? Is it handicap accessible? Do you need to arrange to have handicap features installed throughout your new home (grab bars, etc.)?
  • Consider no longer needing yard equipment, tall ladders or heavy duty tools.
  • Will you be keeping your car? Will your new home have a garage or driveway?

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