Downsizing is not what it is “cracked up” to be. We spend our lives working hard to pay for nice homes and furnishing—
houses that give us and others joy—only to make a decision to downsize when we skid into our 60’s!!
Some of you who made a major downsize may be thrilled with your decision, but not this baby boomer! Sometimes out of
necessity we need to move into smaller living spaces and sometimes out of stupidity we move into smaller houses that don’t work
for us. I fall into this category.
Baby boomers who try to live a minimalist lifestyle are kidding themselves.
Five years ago we sold a big house that had a room for everything: huge kitchen, dining room, library, sewing room, office, and
five bedrooms and baths that were all used regularly.
As we approached 65 we thought selling the big house and moving into a much smaller house was a great idea.
We did not anticipate a downside nor did we research this major life transition and decision.
I am writing this post to help others not make the same mistakes we made.
There are a lot of reasons to sell a big property and move to a simpler way of life; however, there are some things to consider
before making that big decision.
Here are four factors to consider:
- Your health is always a big consideration when considering a downsize. Your health may not be good and you need less to pay for and take care of. If you have a big yard, you may be tired of upkeep and the joy of the gardens is gone. Or you may be in great health and have stamina and vitality that will be difficult to harness in a smaller house.
- How much square footage do you need to maintain a comfortable lifestyle? If you give up over half of your square footage, you may feel cramped and have difficulty learning to live in a much smaller space. To make a major downsize means selling or giving away most of what you have accumulated over the past decades. Our children are not interested in any of the family antiques and things we hold dear, so if you move into a much smaller house you end up getting rid of many special things that have family meaning. When we left the “big house” we sold or got rid of about 75 percent of everything we had. A lack of storage was not a problem for us in the smaller house, because we didn’t have much left.
- What rooms are important to you? A big kitchen, a dining room, library, bedrooms, and extra rooms for particular purposes. With a much smaller house you must learn to “make do” with the space you have. This can be a healthy exercise of self-containment, but over time it can become frustration. In a major downsize, most rooms have multi-purposes—maybe four or five purposes for one room. You can learn to live with this situation, but do you want to.
- Is a sizable yard (doesn’t have to big—just enough to move around on comfortably) important? Do you like to grow things and play in the dirt? Garden, plant flowers and grow food? If you move to a tiny lot in a great neighborhood, you may find yourself longing for “the land.” If there is an open lot next door to your house, beware—someone will buy the land and build a house that will block your light and overtake the yard you do have. Our new neighbor’s house almost sits on our patio. Another major adjustment I should have anticipated.
Part 2 will discuss some of the benefits of downsizing. Houses are pictures only.
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