Downsizing – Hints & Tips

Moving from your home of many years can be a difficult decision, with emotional ties needing to be cut. However, finding the right size home for your changing needs is not one that should be put off.

Sometime circumstances such as health issues or a bereavement can cause you to decide that the time is right. You may want to be closer to family or are finding driving a problem and want to be within walking distance of the doctors or the library. A large family home can become a burden of upkeep, when you are using less of the rooms and need help to help keep the garden tidy.

The benefits of downsizing

Downsizing offers lots of potential benefits. You can move into a property that’s easier to manage and can be adapted to meet your changing requirements, helping to maintain independent living. A smaller property will have lower energy bills and maintenance costs. It enables you to free up capital which can be used for care costs at a later date, or that longed for holiday. You may be able to move to a more favourable location, perhaps closer to family and friends. Overall downsizing could improve your quality of life, reducing your worries.

Plan ahead

So, how do you go about it? The first stage is to discuss your potential move with your family and get them on board. You need to go at your own pace, but don’t procrastinate until you’re forced by circumstances to have to make decisions.

Allow time and/or enlist help

Next you need to start to declutter and reduce your possessions. It is a particularly hard task to sort through a lifetime’s belongings and can be emotionally draining. It’s worth enlisting the help of a friend or family member, or for an impartial view, a professional declutterer. Don’t expect to get it done in a weekend. Allow yourself time to enjoy looking at each item and reminiscing. However, there still needs to be a decision made of will it stay or go, no maybes!

Gift, sell donate

Start with the smallest area or an area you have the least emotional attachment to. If your new property doesn’t have a garage or shed, all these items will have to be eliminated. Family heirlooms can be gifted now instead of waiting until they are inherited.

Try organising backwards – pack the items you really want to keep and then share or donate the remainder. You can sell unwanted items on eBay or Facebook (ask for some help) or hold a table-top or car boot sale. There are also Freecylcle sites where items can be gifted to an appreciative new home. Charity shops are always grateful for donations, so there should be very little that needs to be thrown away. Although the process may seem overwhelming at the outset, it will feel cathartic by the time you’ve finished!

Enjoy the freedom!

When you have found your new dream home and settled in, you will hopefully feel a sense of freedom. Freedom from the burden of so many possessions and from the stress of managing a property that no longer meets your needs. Home after all is where the heart is.

Fiona Jones runs Berkshire Lifestyle Concierge. She helps retired people with their personal admin and is a professional declutterer and downsizing expert. Contact Fiona at fiona@berkslifestyle.co.uk 0758717070. www.berkslifestyle.co.uk.

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