Should You Downsize In Retirement?

Photo: Erda Estremera

Should you stay in the home you are in when you retire? Should you downsize in retirement? I’ve met people who say, “I’m staying where I am now’.  Still others want to take trips, upgrade their cars, have the freedom to do what they want, when they want –  and not have to worry about maintenance around the home.

Downsizing can be a difficult decision for many, whilst it’s a ‘no brainer’ for others.

Eight large packing boxes in a room, most are white , should you downsize in retirement
Photo: Michael Balog

Downsizing, What To Consider, Should You Downsize In Retirement?

The first thing to consider is ‘do you want to stay in the home you live in now’?

Perhaps you’re thinking of moving and downsizing.  How much downsizing do you want to do? If you are thinking of downsizing, remember to make a list of what you want in a home and what you need in a home – and make sure you ‘measure twice and cut once’. 

This means to really think about how you use your home? For example, are there hobbies that take up room?  I often think about a man who said he wished he and his wife had taken more time to measure their new unit. He couldn’t do his wood working hobby in the garage without taking out his car, lawn mower and other garden tools that hovered over his work bench.

A kitchen and bench with two black stools, a large metal refrigerator to the left, a stove at the top, wit ha microwave above, white walls, should you downsize in retirement
Photo: Naomi Hébert

Similarly, his wife enjoyed sewing as her hobby. Each time she wanted to do some sewing with her sewing machine, it meant a rearrangement of items and furniture. 

However, downsizing can mean that you don’t have as many rooms to clean, don’t have a large garden to maintain, and/or you may not need to pay someone to help around the home. 

One couple I know moved to an inner city apartment, which was close to a trendy hotel. Mr had a coffee at the hotel every day. Sitting outside he would chat to anyone around him. As time went on he would arrive earlier and help the waitresses set up tables. He said he felt as if he was helping out, plus it got him out and about and he met new people. ‘Why didn’t we downsize earlier’, he often mused.

Downsizing (or even the thought of it) can be a headache. What to keep, what to give away or donate, what to throw away. Rearranging a lifetime of memories is not easy.

For some people it is an easy task. For other people it is very difficult.  Thankfully there are various people and businesses that can help out – but don’t ignore the fact that it is a huge task. 

Considerations

  • Why do you want to downsize?
  • Where will you move to?
  • Will it be close to facilities, a shopping centre?
  • Will you need a car or transport to allow you to travel to the shops? 
  • Do you want something that is in a less frenetic area, or perhaps you want to move to a more happening place?
  • Take your time
  • Start making a list.
  • Start on one room at a time
  • You may like to use the services of a professional ‘downsizer’ (interview several).

 ‘Now Fridays aren’t the best day of the week anymore… they all are!’
(Unknown)

Should you downsize in retirement? Have you downsized? What was your experience?  Let us know.

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