Having that big, five-bedroom house in the suburbs is great for a large family with growing kids. But there comes a time when you might be an empty-nester, or perhaps you’re going through another life change, such as divorce and that big house no longer makes sense for your lifestyle. Regardless, it’s time to downsize.
Downsizing can be scary, as all the mementos in your home have some sentimental value. Moving to a new place after 20 plus years in your house can feel like a big change. I’ve got some tips to help ease the pain of downsizing for you.
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How do I know if it’s time to downsize?
Deciding to leave a home you’ve lived in for many years can be challenging. But if you’ve found yourself wondering what’s next or looking for a change, this can be the first sign you’re ready to downsize.
Start by doing an inventory of your home and how many rooms you’re actually using. If you’re only using one of the five bedrooms, because all three of your children have moved out, it’s a sign you can downsize with ease.
If you want to travel more, but you’re straddled with a large mortgage payment, or you went to a single-income household and can’t afford your mortgage, it can also be time for a change that will ultimately give you more financial flexibility.
Regardless of your reason, many of us have life-changing events, or simply a time in our life when we decide it’s time to downsize. This is all-natural. Your move can also help you experience something different and broaden your perspective outside of the same town you’ve been living in for decades.
Keep in mind that selling your home can take time, especially if you’re decluttering 20 plus years’ worth of belongings. Starting to think about downsizing now can set you up to actually make the change later when you decide to sell or rent your home.
Where do I begin?
If you’re ready to sell or rent your home, you’ll want to find a qualified agent in your region that knows the market. Start building a relationship with them and discussing what they feel you can do to spruce up your home.
You’ll want to do some research on comparable homes in your area and what they’re selling or renting for, so you can price your home appropriately.
If you plan to paint or make any improvements to make your home more attractive to buyers or renters, research and price out a few contractors. Your agent might have some recommendations, too.
However, before you put your house on the market, you’re going to want to declutter and stage it to give you the best shot at selling or renting.
How to downsize your belongings
While deciding to downsize your actual living space can be a rewarding first step, the actual act of downsizing your belongings can be a challenge for some. I would recommend hiring someone who can help you go through this process. It can be very difficult to part with items that have sentimental value. An experienced expert will reduce the time it takes to declutter and relieve you from feeling overwhelmed with the process.
If you’re doing this yourself, the first step in decluttering is to separate items into categories of give away, sell, store, bring to your new home, or throw away.
Start by eliminating things in rooms that you won’t have in your new home. For example, if your current home has five bedrooms, but your new home only has two bedrooms start sorting through these extra rooms first.
If you’ve been in your house for several years, it’s likely you’ll have much that needs to be thrown away. Call a dumpster company and have it delivered so you can throw away as you sort through your house.
If your furniture or household items are still in good condition, consider selling them or giving them to charity. Craigslist, eBay, consignment stores, or a good old fashion yard sale can not only help you get rid of your belongings but also earn you some extra cash to spend on your new place.
For clothing, there are consignment stores and sites like ThredUp or the RealReal that buy and sell your clothing for you. You can also donate to organizations that will pick up from your home. Organizations such as Veteran’s of America, Goodwill, and others can make this process
easy for you.
Finding your new place
Before you start looking for an apartment, think about what your must-haves are for your new home. Perhaps you can downsize all the way to a one-bedroom. Or maybe you want a second bedroom to be a guest room or office. Perhaps an elevator building makes sense for you because you don’t want to have to walk up flights of stairs. Communicate these must-haves to your realtor ahead of time to help you narrow the search.
While your grown children might be living in the city, don’t think it’s just a place for Millenials. Downsizing to a city can offer you easy access to mass transit, restaurants, museums and more.
Moving to New York City or downsizing your home, in general, requires assessing what size apartment you can live in. This can be a shock coming from a large home from the suburbs. It can also be an exciting time for you to start a new chapter.
The Benefits Of Living In NYC
Now that you’ve officially downsized your belongings and living in your new home, it’s time to start enjoying your new neighborhood.
In a city, there are thousands of restaurants, museums, and stores to explore. Start exploring either by taking walks around your neighborhood or by setting a goal for yourself. Learn something new every day, take a class, or join a group. The more you engage in your new surroundings, the sooner you will adjust to your new home.
If you start taking advantage of all the culture your new city has to offer, you soon will love the experience and all the new ways you’re broadening your perspective. After some time, you’ll feel comfortable and won’t even miss your old home. You’ll be excited about all the ways you’ve expanded your world and grown in the process!
Schedule a call with Amy to help you find a home.