The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of Downsizing


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Information on Sacramento Home Downsizing.

By the time we reach our golden years, it’s no secret that the best things in life aren’t things. We’ve raised babies, said goodbye to parents, and moved over and over again. In most cases, the “things” we value most are our memories.

Deep down we know our possessions do not define us. Still, when it’s time to downsize, deciding what to do with a lifetime of belongings is tough, and there are a lot of factors to consider. More often than not, these five circumstances determine what and how much of our personal belongings can go with us to our new, smaller home:


Will you be living alone? Moving with your partner? Will you be sharing a home with a family member or a room at a care facility with a roommate? Practically, who you live with will determine what belongings you need and how much space you have to store them. You may want to share a coffee maker but need separate televisions, for example. Beyond that, other issues like trust may come into play when it comes to what you take with you and how you choose to store it. If you have enough privacy and security, you may feel comfortable with your jewelry box on the dresser. In some situations, you may feel more comfortable keeping your valuables in a closet safe or even a safety deposit box.


To a certain extent, the type of home you will be moving into will determine how much of your own stuff you may want or need to take with you. If you’re moving into a condo or apartment, for example, you’ll still need furniture and housewares, but you may not have room for a garage full of tools or gardening supplies. Retirement communities generally offer both furnished and unfurnished options, allowing you to bring as much or as little of your own stuff as you’d like. In an assisted living facility, however, you will only need your clothing and personal items, as everything else will be provided. Finally, if you’re moving in with a family member, the size and type of living space you’ll have to fill with your own belongings will vary.


Additionally, the amount of time you have to prepare for your move can impact how you manage your possessions. If you’ve experienced a health-related issue, your move may be urgent. In that case, you may need to enlist the help of family, friends, or a professional service to sort and pack your belongings for you. If you have the time, you should begin the packing and purging process as far in advance as you can. This allows you plenty of time to deal with both the logistical and emotional sides of downsizing. And, if it proves to be too difficult on either front, you can still enlist others to help you through the process.


Location matters. Is your new place in a walkable part of town? Can you use public transportation to get to the grocery store, restaurants, and activities you enjoy? Is your new community golf cart friendly? If so, you may be able to add your vehicle to the “sell” pile. Whether you’re moving down the street or across the country might also make a difference. It is both more expensive and more difficult to pack, load, and drive a condo full of belongings across the country than down the street, especially if you’re in less-than-perfect health.


Many people choose to downsize because they want to spend less time, money, and energy cleaning and maintaining their living space. In order to enjoy the many benefits of owning less, you’ll want to go through and pare down everything from clothing to furniture to your impressive DVD collection. On the other hand, if you’re moving because you need to due to new or worsening health concerns, you may want to consider exchanging some of your current belongings for new ones that better suit your needs. Either way, there will be a lot of belongings – like lawn care equipment, tools, and athletic gear – that you can eliminate almost entirely.

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