Guest Post by Julian Lane
Occasionally, I like to feature fellow bloggers on my site. Although these blog posts typically discuss other topics than what I usually write about or feature, I still post them to give other writers a chance to be seen. This article is very interesting, and since my husband and I recently downsized, I thought you might be interested as well.
8 Common Mistakes People Make When Downsizing Homes
As a society, we are shifting away from the “more is better” mentality that had us all looking for huge homes with unlimited storage space. In the face of piles of clutter and huge maintenance costs, downsizing to a smaller home has started to look like the best solution.
Downsizing is not as hard as it seems, but getting it right can be tricky. Whether you are a family seeking simplicity, a senior planning their golden years, or a millennial who wants to embrace minimalism, here are the mistakes to avoid when you decide to downsize.
Waiting Too Long
The longer you put downsizing off, the more money, time, and effort you will sink into a home you will have to move out of eventually. Signs that you should downsize include having a lot of unused space, home maintenance being overwhelming or unmanageable, a loved one getting older, or simply a desire to enjoy a simpler life.
Expecting to Make Money
In the long run, downsizing will absolutely save you money on bills and maintenance. However, there are costs you need to consider, like moving, renovations, and HOA fees. You may also soon realize that smaller homes are not necessarily cheaper, especially in bigger cities.
Not Considering Other Options
This is mainly an issue for seniors, who immediately assume downsizing to a smaller home is the best option for them. However, downsizing to an assisted living facility can also be a great choice, especially if they require some extra care. If you or a loved one are thinking of downsizing due to age, do tour a few local facilities to see if it could be for you. Bear in mind that the median cost of assisted living in Colorado is $49,140, so some facilities may not be in your budget. What’s also important is that you find a place that’s safe, secure, and suitable for your lifestyle.
Not Getting Rid of Enough Stuff
Many people are not selective enough when decluttering, which leads to cramming too much stuff into a smaller space. Not only will the house feel cramped, stressful, and unpleasant, but the clutter also poses a serious health risk, especially in the case of downsizing seniors. Specific clutter zones to watch out for include closets and cabinets, piles of paper under the bed, and things like shoes in hallways, which can cause you to trip and fall.
Expecting the Same Furniture to Fit
Similarly, many people don’t consider how their furniture will look in a smaller home. Chances are it won’t all fit. Even if it technically fits, it may look clunky and out of proportion, or it may crowd the space (which, again, is dangerous for seniors). A free online digital room planner like Planner 5D can be an invaluable tool at this stage.
Not Having a Decluttering Strategy
A decluttering strategy is the most important element of staying motivated and on track. There are countless plans out there covering different approaches: a certain number of items a day, room by room, or just 15 minutes a day. Pick something that works with your moving and downsizing timeline, but give yourself plenty of time to accomplish these tasks.
Not Having a Follow-Through Plan
Once you have finished sorting, you still have to actually sell, donate, or toss your items, and it is easy to lose momentum. Don’t let those boxes pile up, and have a plan for exactly how they will reach their intended destination. An easy solution is to get the things picked up — several charities offer this service, including Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity.
Doing It Alone
Decluttering is a lot of hard work, so make sure you get some help. For instance, if your aging parent is downsizing, get all the family to help out. Alternatively, you could get help from a pro. A professional organizer will make the whole process a whole lot easier, but be prepared to pay around $30 to $80 an hour for the help.
More and more people are seeing the value of smaller, simpler homes, which are easier to maintain, cheaper to live in, and suited to a more streamlined lifestyle. If you think downsizing could be for you, don’t hesitate to get started, but do take a moment to plan things out. You won’t regret downsizing, but you might regret rushing into it.