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A guide to downsizing your home

| Insurance

When moving through the housing lifecycle, people can often end up taking the same path. This often involves purchasing a first home, moving to a larger (or multiple) larger homes as children come along, before finally downsizing when reaching retirement age. While the number of larger homes in the middle can vary, many people do choose to retire in a slightly smaller, more manageable property that is better suited for them. This lifecycle can be seen time and time again, and around 55,000 households choose to downsize every single year.

In this handy guide, you can find out some more information that might help you to decide if it’s a good idea to downsize, whether it’s the right time and how to do it.

Is it a good idea to downsize your home?

ownsizing your home can be a good idea if you:

  • Want to be closer to loved ones
  • Are moving nearer to a town or city so that amenities are more easily accessible
  • Want a smaller home or garden that is more manageable
  • Want to become mortgage free or reduce other living costs, such as council tax and bills.

In these cases, downsizing is a very good idea and you could see an improvement in your quality of life.

Why is downsizing important?

Downsizing is important and beneficial for a few reasons. As mentioned above, it could result in being mortgage free during your years of retirement, which could help to ease financial pressure. Even your energy bills, home insurance and council tax could be reduced, meaning your pension can be used for other, more enjoyable purposes. A smaller home is likely to be more manageable too. You may spend less time cleaning and looking after it, which is likely to be very beneficial as you get older. You should remember, though, that downsizing isn’t necessarily for everyone, and you should consider why you are thinking about it and how it could benefit you. You may, of course, decide to stay in the same-size home.

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People may also choose to move location when they downsize. This could include being nearer to a town or city centre, making getting around much easier.

There is absolutely no requirement to downsize, but many people do find that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

 How to downsize for retirement

If you’re already in the process of downsizing your home prior to or during your retirement, you may be looking for some hints and tips to make the move easier. Follow the tips below to make the journey as smooth as possible.

Put your property on the market

Putting your property on the market is the first big step. Once you’ve had it valued by the estate agent and the listing has gone live, you’ll get a better idea of the price bracket for your next home. Once your home is on the market, you can really begin to look at the kind of properties you might be interested in and go for some viewings.

Organise and declutter

Downsizing to a smaller property inevitably means having to declutter. If you’ve lived in your current home for some time, your belongings can really add up and there may not be space for everything in the new property.

Starting this task can be daunting, so take a room at a time. It’s likely that you’ll want to take most items from your current bedroom, such as your clothes and furniture with you, so perhaps start in some of your spare bedrooms. These areas are more likely to contain items that haven’t been used in some time or your children’s personal belongings that weren’t taken when they moved out.

You could start by emptying individual pieces of furniture, such as wardrobes, chests of drawers and bedside tables. If you do happen across your children’s belongings, set these to one side for them to sort through themselves. Once these furniture items are empty, you should consider whether you need those in the new property. For instance, if you’re moving from a four-bedroom property to one with two bedrooms, it’s likely that you will need to get rid of at least two beds.

Decluttering isn’t just about throwing out whole items but also reducing the number of items that come in sets. For instance, when you had a large family living at home, you may have needed lots of everything, such as plates and bowls. But if your children no longer live at home and you’re downsizing, you may need less and therefore your kitchen crockery and cutlery could be reduced.

Finally, consider areas like the loft, garage or garden shed, and be realistic about what you can take to the new house. When clearing the loft, be practical. If the storage space in your new home is smaller, you may need to have a declutter, and it’s much easier to do this now instead of moving unwanted items with you.

Organisation is key when it comes to effective decluttering. Tackle one room or space at a time, and split things into separate piles to keep or get rid of. The keep pile can gradually be packed away in boxes ready for moving, and the items to get rid of can go to friends or family, to charity or even to the local recycling centre.

Give yourself lots of time

If you’ve moved house before, you’ll likely be aware of the amount of time it takes to pack everything away. Start preparing long in advance, potentially even before you’ve found a property to move into. Once your home is on the market, you can begin to sort out the things that you rarely use or don’t mind packing in advance.

Measure up

There are some ways you can be clever when it comes to downsizing. You may be able to use the floorplan of your new house, for example, to work out where you want some furniture items to go. This will help you realise what will definitely fit and what may need to be given away or sold prior to moving.

How to deal with downsizing

Dealing with downsizing isn’t always easy. The first thing to do is focus on the positives. It’s likely that you’ve decided to downsize for a reason, such as for financial stability or to be nearer to your family, therefore keep this in mind while you’re going through the whole process. You should also remember that your current home can be a nice space for a new family to make fresh memories in.

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