BALANCING THE SENTIMENTAL WITH THE PRACTICAL
Is it time for downsizing your home? I recently posted a guest blog, “Downsizing for Seniors,” explaining how to make it as stress-free as possible. But when I thought about the topic, I realized that downsizing is not reserved for seniors only.
Anyone can consider making a move to simplify their living space at any time of their life. Even so, the decision to move from a larger home to a smaller one can be very hard to make, especially for Montecito homeowners who have watched their family grow in a home they love, have been affected by adversity beyond their control, or who just feel the need for a change.
There comes a time, however, where the practicality of downsizing may outweigh the sentimental value and familiarity of your current, larger home.
Here, then, are 5 signs it might be time for downsizing your home:
- The maintenance is overwhelming
Keeping a well-maintained larger home requires a lot of work, even for those who have help. Whether it’s your yard, or replacing lights on your cathedral ceilings, home maintenance, both outside and inside the home, can leave a Montecito homeowner feeling exhausted.
If you’re living by yourself, the issue can be even more challenging. Single or attached, when caring for your larger home becomes overwhelming, perhaps it’s time to downsize.
- It’s difficult to get around
You don’t have to be a senior to face mobility issues, although the most common risk factors for mobility impairment occur in older folks. Low physical activity, obesity, strength or balance impairment, and chronic diseases such as diabetes or arthritis can restrict your mobility at any age.
Experts from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported that an estimated 19 million people (10.1%) in the U.S. have some mobility difficulty. The report showed that the mean age of those with minor, moderate, or major difficulty ranged from 59 to 67 years. Of those reporting major difficulties, 32% said their problems began at age 50 or younger.
Whatever the reason, you may find it harder to get up and down the stairs or even to just move around your large estate the way you used to. When you notice that getting around your home sweet home has become a pain, it’s time to consider downsizing, or at least, moving to a one-level abode.
Many retirees feel compelled to downsize their homes as a way to decrease their annual expenses. Simply put, downsizing is a way to ensure retirees have enough saved for the rest of their retirement.
This is an appropriate premise. Moving into a smaller home won’t only cut down on the cost of a mortgage, but it will also relieve those large taxes and insurance payments necessary for a large home. That alone can mean a bigger financial cushion in your bank accounts.
- Where did I put it?
Just because you’re having a hard time finding things around your house, it doesn’t mean you’re experiencing cognitive issues. It might just be a sign that you have too much stuff, which means it might be a good time to consider downsizing.
Downsizing your home is a way to get rid of stuff you don’t need anymore. The process of moving is the perfect time to prioritize your possessions. It will force you to go through everything you’ve accumulated and figure out what to let go of and what to keep.
- Empty Nest Syndrome
There are many reasons you might feel lonely in your large house. One typical reason happens frequently when the kids grow up and move out. Becoming an empty nester may feel strange at first, but experts advise parents to try and redirect their focus back to themselves. That makes it the perfect time to downsize if that’s something you want to do.
Another common cause of loneliness is the loss of a spouse or life partner. This can be especially excruciating if the loss was sudden. And living in the same place you shared with your loved one can make it hard to move on.
You don’t have to experience either of those factors to feel a bit lonely. In fact, loneliness can creep up on anyone, especially those living alone in a large, empty house.
Think you might be feeling lonely? Take this loneliness quiz created by Psych Central, the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health online resource. Perhaps it’s time to lighten your load and responsibilities and downsize.
A How-to For Downsizing Your Home
So, once you make the decision to downsize, what’s next? Experts suggest you plan ahead. Give yourself six months to a year to complete the following de-cluttering process.
- Make three piles: one to keep, one to throw out and a third to donate. Start with one room, even one drawer. Throw out things like old canceled checks, outdated food and dry goods, clothes and other unnecessary things that are simply taking up space.
- Talk to your accountant or tax expert and find out what records you need to keep. Important documents, such as wills, birth certificates, and passports, would be filed away securely. Consider putting them safely in a safety deposit box.
- Don’t try to go through years of life in a day. Do a little at a time by planning a monthly de-clutter session. That way, the downsizing process won’t become too overwhelming.
- Check out alternative places to store the stuff you want to keep with Neighbor, the "Airbnb of storage."
The bottom line is that downsizing your home can give you much more time to focus on those things that matter. Ask yourself, “What matters most to me?” Whatever that is, is it getting the time and attention it needs from you? If the answer is no, then you might want to start the process. Imagine waking up in the condo I recently sold and pictured above. It’s located at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria.
After reading the above, is it time to downsize? If you currently live in any of the upscale communities in Santa Barbara, please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com. I can help you sell your existing home and find you a new one to love and create new memories.