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What Is Retirement Downsizing?

Guidance   »   Getting Started   »   What Is Retirement Downsizing?

On the verge of retirement, it’s important to think about what you want to do with your home. While many retirees hope to age in place, that may not always be the best idea. Your home may feel too big, have become cluttered, or is simply a hassle to maintain. Whether you want to stay put, or sell your home and move into a retirement community, it’s important to consider downsizing. It helps make your life easier and makes things less stressful for you and your family, regardless of what you do or where you go.

Understanding Retirement Downsizing

Downsizing is moving to a smaller home or reducing the amount of space you take up in your home. It’s often tied in with decluttering, where you pare down what you have so it takes up less space than usual. Downsizing doesn’t mean a change in the quality of life you have, merely the amount of space your life takes up.

It’s very common to downsize: According to a Merrill Lynch survey, 51% of retirees who move from their old home downsize, compared to 30% who upsize and 19% who move to a similar-sized home. 

Downsizing becomes important if and when you decide to move to a 55+ community such as a life plan community. Moving can be a stressful time for you and your family, and you have to consider how much you really want to take with you to your new home. It can also be a factor if you need to make an emergency move, especially after a health crisis.

Of course, the reasons you may want to consider downsizing after retirement sometimes may have little to do with where you’re going and what you want to do, and more about what you have now. You may have spent years living in this house, but it may be time to change. The kids are no longer home, and even if you use one of their rooms as a guest room, they’re typically empty. You likely no longer need as many of your possessions as you did years ago. You may keep an active lifestyle, but getting around a big house like yours can be a hassle. On top of all this, it’s expensive to maintain your home, especially now that you’re retired. When you consider all these reasons, downsizing may be the best option.

Questions to Ask Before Downsizing

Of course, downsizing isn’t for every retiree or senior. While there are many reasons to downsize, there are other reasons that will compel you to stay put. You may want to stay close to your family, or you’re still an active part of your community. Regardless, there are questions to ask yourself before you consider downsizing. Even if you choose to stay, asking these questions may help you declutter your home so you can have a better living situation.

Does Your House Fit Your Lifestyle Now?

When you first bought your home, you probably had a clear vision of what your lifestyle would look like: Raising kids and pets, spending time with your spouse, getting along with the neighbors. But now that the kids are no longer home, it may just be you, your spouse, and/or your pets. Your lifestyle may have changed, and it’s possible your house no longer suits that lifestyle. If that’s the case, then downsizing might be a good idea. 

How’s Your Social Life At Home?

One of the most important factors about moving for your retirement, let alone downsizing, is your social life. Is your home the host of regular gatherings with friends, family, your community? Or does your house only have an occasional visit from your family or friends? These can not only impact whether you stay put, but also the size of your home should you move. If you love to host parties and events, you may feel less inclined to downsize to smaller homes.

Do You Have Any Spare Rooms or Storage?

It’s very easy to turn your child’s old bedroom into a storage space. But if you’re doing that, the question you should ask yourself is why. Unused rooms, even those converted to storage, mean more time cleaning and repairing them when you don’t really need. If you have rooms you aren’t using regularly, downsizing may be a good idea.

How Many Of Your Possessions Do You Need?

When we talk about possessions, we’re not referring to keepsakes and heirlooms. We’re talking about everyday items that are simply a part of your home and you could gift to your children or donate to a thrift store. If you have a lot of items you use regularly, you may feel no need to downsize, though there may be opportunities to declutter.

Do You Like Maintaining Your Home?

Many people enjoy gardening and taking care of their lawns, others may like doing repairs to their home. But you may not like doing either, and you may find them too expensive to your tastes or too difficult for your body to do. Moving to a smaller home can help reduce the need for maintenance, and moving to a retirement community that takes care of maintenance can be even better.

Depending on how you answer these questions, you may find that downsizing to a smaller home can be the solution. If and when you decide to downsize, Kithward is here to provide you with a variety of retirement communities offering unique floor plans that are just the right size for you.

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