Downsizing your home

A New Phase in Your Life: Advice for Downsizing Your Home

So the kids have grown up and moved out, and it might be time to think about downsizing your home.

No doubt you’ll be having mixed emotions about this time in your life. On the one hand, you’re leaving behind memories and a downsizing the home you love, and letting go of treasured homewares and belongings that are no longer needed. But on the other, you’re gaining freedom, reducing time spent on the up-keep of your home, and perhaps unburdening yourself of a lot of ‘stuff’!

For some more than others, there will be a bit of a process to work through before you’re ready to move on.

Here is a rundown on what you can expect when it comes to downsizing your home:

Think about storage
The benefit of a larger home is that naturally it comes with greater storage space – cupboards, under-stair storage, garages, attics and additional rooms. However, when downsizing, you’re also going to be reducing your storage and surface space dramatically. You’ll not only need to consider reducing how much stuff you have, but also need to think about clever storage options for smaller spaces. Wall-mounted shelving units, blanket boxes, storage ottomans, bathroom cabinets, under-bed storage and wardrobe organising systems are all items that are going to be high on your list of purchases so that you can keep things organised, without feeling cluttered. Consider these options when refurbishing your new home, or installing new systems before all your items are moved in.

Re-thinking your own space
A large family home can feel empty and vast once the kids have moved out, but suddenly sharing a small space with a partner can also take a bit of adjustment. You may no longer have multiple living spaces, or bathrooms, or entertaining areas. You may feel like you’re living on top of one another. Think about what activities and hobbies you can do that give you some time out of the home so you still feel like you have your own space and time.

It’s also an opportunity to rediscover what you both have in common. Discuss your needs before moving, so you can find a home that is still suited to you both – perhaps two bathrooms is non-negotiable, or your partner is adamant that he needs a man-shed, or you still want some office space (which can still double as a guest room). A smaller home doesn’t mean you have to completely compromise on your comfort and interests.

The perfect excuse to refurnish
Downsizing is a great opportunity to put your interior design hat on and overhaul the look and feel of your home – out with the old and in with the new! Not all furniture is going to work in your new space. You may have had large dining tables, lounge suites or wall cabinets that are just no longer going to look right in a smaller living space. Be prepared that you may have to part ways with some of your favourite pieces of furniture, but look at it as an opportunity to modernise and inject your personality into your decor in other ways, such as cushions, artwork and decorative pieces.

Clearing the clutter
While the kids may have moved out, more often than not, much of their stuff has been left behind. Downsizing often means getting the whole family involved, and with that, can come the need to manage the emotions of others too! Ask the family to come around and take care of their leftover belongings – either take it, dispose of it, or arrange for it to be sold. Suggest holding a garage sale or head along to a car boot market!

Be prepared to face a bit of resistance, from your family and from yourself! It may be hard to part with sentimental items or things that hold with it many memories – but be firm: if it hasn’t been used in the last year, it’s time to think about parting ways! Plus, as homely.com.au says, decluttering can be a very liberating process.

Saying goodbye
Remember, a home is about the people who live in it, not the four walls around it. You may feel a connection with a place because of those memories, but memories are things you can take with you wherever you go. One of the joys of minimalist living is that you feel less burdened by ‘stuff’. No doubt you’ll feel the freedom to live, enjoy yourself, and create many more memories along the way. If your kids have moved on, they now have their own spaces where more good times will be shared.

With the right mindset, you can embrace change, and get excited about this new phase of your life!

What else is there?
One of the most painful parts about moving home is getting your services such as power and broadband connected at your new place! Then you’ve got to tell all your other service providers that you’re moving – think insurance, bank, driver licence, IRD, newspaper subscription and of course, must remember to update your address so you get the EziBuy catalogue still. Now you can do all of these things in one place, online and for free.

Take a look at MoovMe.co.nz for New Zealand and for here for Australia.

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Have you already downsized your home? Do you have any advice for those thinking about it? Let us know in the comments below.

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