Downsizing your home can be a big undertaking. It can encompass many different tasks, involve lots of different people and leave you with a very big headache. Does this sound appealing to you yet? How do you approach such a large task, and avoid problems along the way? Here are some Do's and Don'ts of downsizing:
- Start planning early. Even if you don't want to downsize right away, you can start planning. The earlier you start planning, the smoother your transition will be.
- If you're not sure where to start, find out! With a big task like this, you can do research, consult with experts or your family, and determine out what needs to be done.
- Break it down into smaller tasks and prioritize. Once you know what needs to be done, you can figure out what is important, and what can wait.
- Involve your family (or not). Your family can be a big help in your downsizing efforts, but they can also make the task more difficult. You know your family, so you should figure out who to involve, or if you should just use professionals.
- Make a list of your possessions that you use, or really value. Decide what you absolutely must have, and what would be nice to keep but you can do without.
- Decide where you want to move early. Many retirement options are limited because of high demand. If you want a large apartment or house in a retirement community you may be on a waiting list for years. If you want a specific community near your family, again, vacancies may not be available right away. The earlier you are on their list, the better.
- Wait too long. The longer you wait, the more overwhelming the task will be, and the harder it will be to organize your possessions.
- Try to keep too many of your possessions. Many of your possessions will have sentimental value, but when downsizing you have to prioritize. Be realistic about how much you can bring with you.
- Rush yourself. Starting early helps, but you may find downsizing is more emotionally difficult than you expected. Take the time you need, and ask for help when necessary. Remember your family may also be having a difficult time.
Follow these suggestions, and you'll have a smooth and successful transition.