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These 6 Tips Reveal the Upside of Downsizing

According to a 2016 Freddie Mac survey of boomers, those 55 and older who plan to move, one in 10 say they will sell their home and rent when they move. In addition to downsizing becoming the right size for many aging Americans, downsizing is becoming a logical option for other families like empty-nesters and individuals with financial challenges or minimalist lifestyle preferences.

Downsizing from a home to apartment doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can be a time of celebrating change. The following six tips can help residents navigate through the process despite the challenges often associated with moving.

1. Take inventory. Walk through each room of your home and write down all of your belongings. While this may sound like a trivial task, knowing what you actually have will help you see the big picture and guide you through the rest of the process. Include linens, dishes, appliances, furniture, and other belongings.

2. List essentials. Start tracking what is used daily, weekly, less frequently, and not at all. From these lists, consider items that can be doubly useful. For instance, Apartment Therapy suggests, consider wine racks that can double as towel racks, drawer space under the bed and of course using your wall space to the max.

3. Remove clutter—look at closets, drawers, and the spaces you dare not venture for fear of what might jump out at you. Approach this task in consistent, do-able steps. For instance, start with one room at a time or devote 30 minutes each day to the task. Ways to remove clutter include selling, donating, or recycling what you do not need. Of course, items of no good use to anyone can be trashed.

4. Measure new rooms. This step is often overlooked because people think knowing the total square footage is enough. However, not only the size of rooms but also the layout of rooms will impact the transition from a larger residence into a smaller one.

5. Start early. As one downsizer noted, “I started early so I didn’t have to rush. I downsized my wardrobe in three stages so I could reflect on what items I really wanted to keep without feeling like I needed to make rash decisions. 

6. Take heart. Focus on the upside of downsizing while pushing through the emotions that accompany change. With less upkeep of a yard and larger living space, residents of apartments can often enjoy more free time than they were able to before downsizing. This can translate into more time to yourself, more time for your new friends or more time to get to know your new city better. In addition, a right-size lifestyle can provide opportunities for exploration, bucket list, and more.

Downsizing from a home to an apartment can decrease living expenses and allow for a more manageable lifestyle as people enter into different seasons of life, whether brought on by age, finances, or by choice. Approach the change with a healthy perspective and these tips to navigate through the process.