The longer you live in one space, the more items you accumulate.
Some of these items are essential to our day-to-day lives, some evoke a specific emotion or memory, and some are never used or forgotten about. The old saying 'the more space you have the more items you accumulate' is absolutely, 100% true.
Living in a capitalist, and consumer-heavy society, we enjoy buying and bringing items into our homes with every intention of using them. More often than not, we forget and let them overrun our valuable space (both physical and mental).
As important as de-cluttering your home can be, it is not the only way or reason homeowners re-evaluate the items piled high in every room of their home.
Downsizing is an often-used term in the Professional Organizing community. The dictionary definition states that downsizing is the act or process of replacing something larger with something smaller. In the context of organizing, this is typically suggested with Clients looking to move from a larger home into a smaller house or apartment. This is also very popular with Seniors. Shifting from a home into a retirement community can not be stressful and a difficult transition from a place of comfort to somewhere unknown.
The value downsizing has is way more than people looking to move. Downsizing can help you identify what you value vs. what you store, eliminate the unnecessary before it becomes too late, and provide a chance to appreciate and understand what your home means to you.
When is a good time to Downsize?
No matter what stage of home ownership you are at, going through the Downsizing process can have amazing short and long-term benefits. We're all guilty of holding onto items past their prime, or no longer fit our lifestyle.
Below are a few scenarios where downsizing might be right for YOU:
Scenario 1: Unmanageable Housing Expenses
If more than 30% of your monthly budget is being used on housing expenses or if you recently retired/looking to retire and your current housing costs are high, then downsizing might be the perfect solution for you.
Considering the transition to a smaller home or just re-evaluating where your monthly expenses are going, can reduce monthly debt therefore increasing monthly cash flow. This potential increase in available funds can allow you to spend money on retirement plans and also bank any profit you gain from selling your home.
Scenario 2: Home is too big and/or no longer your lifestyle
If you have unused space or have outgrown your home because your kids are grown up and out of the house, then downsizing is the way to go.
From a financial perspective, you'll save money if you have a small space. No more paying for heating and electricity in rooms that are never used. Additionally, our mental health may suffer if we are constantly reminded of happier times in our lives that once occupied these empty rooms. This is especially common in Seniors and can lead to feelings of loss or loneliness.
Scenario 3: Safer Environment for Seniors
As we age, we are more prone to medical problems that can reduce mobility and/or energy to keep up with the day-to-day maintenance of a home,
Downsizing from a home to a small apartment or retirement community will likely create a safer environment with little to no stairs, and no home repairs required. Moving to a smaller space also means fewer items are making the move. This will result in less clutter on the floor and shelves, making the space both accessible and cozy.
Scenario 4: Enhance your Lifestyle during Retirement
If you're thinking of converting your home equity into inequity, or think you may not have enough saved for retirement, then downsizing can help.
If done well, deciding to convert home equity into a stream of income could potentially last you for the remainder of your life. Plus, you would no longer be using equity to support home expenses. Also, making the decision to move neighbourhoods, provides you the perfect opportunity to move to affordable housing that is closer to your children, grandchildren, or just people of your own generation.
How Can an Organizer Help with Downsizing?
There is more than just logistics that need to be taken into account when thinking about starting your Downsizing journey. It can be a complex, stressful, and long-term commitment.
This is where a Professional Organizer can be extremely valuable.
Organizers are skilly trained to help with all three (3) main components of downsizing; emotional management, time management and 'stuff' management. Making sure all three of these items are addressed in a considerate and thorough manner can make or break a successful downsizing project.
The key to a successful downsizing project is planning and preparation. Moving, no matter the circumstances is a very emotional and stressful time for most people. It is also physically demanding and can become overbearing and exhausting if completed on your own. Working alongside a Professional Organizer will ensure you have someone to turn to who is non-judgmental, patient, and a trusted resource for both assistance and advice.
Organizers are trained to not only guide you along each step of the journey but to also relieve some of the stress and responsibilities. It may seem like you are spending more money to achieve the result you want, but at the end of the day, working with an Organizer saves you money. De-cluttering and downsizing before arriving at your new home mean fewer items to pack (save money on materials and time), fewer items to move (smaller moving vehicles), and fewer items to clutter your new space.
Now that you have a thorough understanding of what downsizing truly is, I encourage you to keep Organizers in mind when tackling your new big life change. Transitions, no matter what they are, are always difficult.
Remember, it is never just about the physical clutter, downsizing is about making the transition as positive and stress-free as possible.
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About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, virtual and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.