Streamlining Your Life

By: Jody Smith

There are plenty of reasons for deciding to downsize and move into a smaller place. Maybe you have been looking forward to ditching your lawn and property maintenance for years and now it's finally time. You might be finding that the house is costing more than it's worth to you and you'd like to get some of that equity out for other things, like retirement.

If your health isn't what it used to be, a smaller place with fewer stairs would make life easier. Or maybe you've always wanted to jump in an RV but put that on hold till the kids moved out.

Perhaps you've always wanted a little cottage on the water and by golly now is your chance to do what you want. Or then again, it's possible that you've decided not to keep the family home any longer because the grandkids live halfway around the globe and the dream of having three-generation family dinners just isn't going to happen.

Downsizing before you move is an idea with a lot of merit. Moving a house-worth of stuff that's accumulated over 30 years or so is a gargantuan task. And it's futile when you think about it. What are you going to do with it all when you move into your smaller house? Unless you like the idea of being barricaded in your living room by two couches and too many chairs and knickknacks.

Yard sales are one way to streamline your life, with the knowledge that other people will be enjoying your stuff. It's hard to just throw out things that have had meaning for you. And the extra cash won't hurt. If you need some help with all of this, there are organizations of different types that specialize in helping seniors to navigate the pitfalls and challenges of this transition.

It might be helpful to separate things you're not going to keep into a few categories, using different containers or areas in the house for each of these categories. Have an area, or have some boxes, for the things you want to give to friends and family members. Have another one for things to sell or donate. And things that are to be thrown out should immediately go into the garbage so you can't give in to any wavering or second thoughts.

Sorting through your belongings and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can be difficult but keep your eyes on the prize -- lightening the weights in your life and making your environment fit you now in the present rather than anchoring you to your past. Looking at the whole of the job can be overwhelming so take things in small bites. Do a little at a time, knowing it is going to be a job that may extend over a substantial period of time.

Jody Smith is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Sources:

Tips for Seniors Downsizing to a Smaller Home

http://www.seniormoneymemos.com/2011/06/22/tips-for-seniors-downsizing-to-a-smaller-home

Downsizing for seniors

http://www.elderlyelder.com/downsizing-for-seniors.html

Home-owning baby boomers should consider 'for-sale' signs

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/mortgages/home-owning-baby-boomers-should-consider-for-sale-signs/article2204164

Downsizing tips for Seniors

http://www.seniorscircle.ca/2011/09/downsizing-tips-for-seniors

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