Thinking of Downsizing in Your Golden Years?

Authored By:Michael Longsdon


For the growing number of baby boomers planning to downsize, the golden years are about to become a little more golden. Why live in a big empty house with big utility bills, especially when you’re using all your spare time maintaining it inside and out? That’s why more and more seniors are finding smaller, cheaper and easier to live in homes in locations that work for them. Here are some tips for finding the right home for you, how to decide what to get rid of, and how to make the moving process go smoothly.

Finding the Right Home For You


It’s time to find a home that makes sense for you today. Make a list of what works for you in your current home, what doesn’t work, and how you’d like to see yourself living in the future. Do you want to live in a warmer climate? Closer to your kids? Closer to your heart’s desire such as a golf course or a bustling city with a thriving music scene? Now is your time to live exactly the way you want.


If mobility is an issue, focus only on single-story homes. If you’re done with yard work, but don’t like condos or apartments, check out patio homes. They’re detached or semi-detached homes that often have amenities like tennis courts and pools, and outside maintenance is typically provided.

After deciding where to move, you’ll want to get a feel for the prices of homes that are the right size for you. Plenty of
sites like Zillow and Trulia make it easy to research home prices. For example, if your heart is set on living in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, homes there have sold on average
for $172,000 in the last month.


Deciding What Needs to Go


Organizing guru Peter Walsh offers proven strategiesto help those downsizing get rid of their clutter. He says that all the stuff you own fits into one of three categories: 1) memory items, 2) I-might-need-it items and 3) trash/recycling items. He encourages you to differentiate your true treasures from that little shot glass you bought at the Grand Canyon. Walsh defines treasures as items that commemorate the most loving, memorable, and triumphant moments of your life. Regarding the “I might need this” items, you can’t take them all. You need to pare it down to only those items that are worthy. If you use your blender every day, that item is worthy. If you haven’t touched your ice cream maker since 1994 but think you might use it next summer, it’s time to let it go!


The trash/recycling category includes those items you want to sell or donate. With so many options including Craigslist, eBay, yard sales and consignment shops, selling items has never been easier. For big-ticket items, you may want to hire a firm to run an estate sale. Also, if you intend to leave particular items for loved ones in your will, consider gifting them now. Not only will you have the joy of seeing their gratitude, but also you’ll have less to move! 


Organizing a Smooth Move

Hiring professional movers is invaluable. They can accomplish in just a few days what would take you weeks, and any treasures are much less apt to break due to insufficient packaging. Another option is getting a portable moving container. After packing it yourself, the storage company ships it to you. For full-service moving, you could hire a senior move manager to help organize everything from your estate sale to packing and cleaning.


Before moving day, create a box to keep with you for the move, and include in it your:

     Phone charger

     Important paperwork


     Toilet paper, a few towels and toiletries

     Bedding and pajamas so you don’t have to hunt for them on your first night

     Coffee and coffee maker


As hard as it can be leaving a lifetime of memories, countless positives await you. Your new simpler lifestyle means fewer floors to mop, weeds to pull, and surfaces to clean. Best of all, you’ll have more time to focus on your priorities today, not yesterday. Welcome to this new chapter in your life.


Kim Brixius

Kim Brixius