Q. Our house is just too big now! There only the two of us now, but we still have this big place to keep clean and in good condition, and we’re not getting any younger. There are times, however, when the children and grandchildren come home, that we fill the home up to overflowing. I wouldn’t know where to start to downsize. HELP!
A. Consider first if you want to own another, smaller home, or begin to rent. Buying a home means that you are continuing to build equity as you make monthly payments, but is it really advantageous when you factor in cost of upkeep on the yard and house, taxes, and insurance? Trading this for peace of mind may make renting sound like virtual paradise!
How small can you go and still have room for the family at Christmas time? Hide-a-beds are faithful standbys that save the added expense of usually empty bedrooms. One second bedroom can accommodate an extra couple with one of these space savers. The living room becomes overnight sleeping quarters with another, and the grandkids think sleeping on an air mattress is an adventure! Your second bedroom reverts to your sewing/hobby room when the family has left. Bunk beds, a trundle bed, or even a Murphy bed are other excellent options. A kitchen that is compact with no wasted space is a welcome change for a senior for whom economy of movement is a priority.
Once the living accommodations are decided, you will have to deal with the treasures (and often, junk) that you have accumulated for years. Paring down your possessions now will save you and family the chore later on when a move to even smaller quarters may be desirable. Your friends and family will want first choice of many of the items you decide you can live without; who better to enjoy these than those who attach sentimental value to them? What is left of your disposable possessions can be auctioned off, sold to a dealer in estate trappings, or given to a local charity. Try to be fairly ruthless at this point, and you will discover that you don`t miss what you don`t keep.
Moving will still present a daunting task! It may be worth the extra cost to hire professional movers rather than depending on friends. Professionals know how to safely pack and move your treasures, and will take a minimum amount of time to do it. Any mishaps will be covered by insurance.
This is a new chapter in your life with fresh adventure and freedom. Enjoy!