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Ever look around your home and feel like you have too much stuff? The kids leave stuff in their old rooms that they’ll never use again, you hold on to clothes that haven’t been your style in years, and the amount of gifts, trinkets, and souvenirs you own may be getting in the way. After retirement, you probably have the urge to streamline your life and reduce all the clutter. Downsizing after retirement can help do just that, but where do you begin? No need to worry, the information below will walk you through the decluttering process, as well as outline a way you can take the downsizing process a step further.
Clean it out!
First thing’s first: the most crucial piece of downsizing requires that you get rid of everything you don’t need or use anymore. While you may have emotional attachments to certain objects now, you’ll most likely find you don’t even miss them once they’re gone. Getting rid of clutter makes it easier to keep a clean home. There’s less stuff to get in the way of your day-to-day life and you may even find it easier to breathe when you’re not surrounded by so many things. After all, having less stuff has several benefits:
- It reduces stress
- It’s visually appealing in the home
- It’s easier to find the things you keep
- It helps you let go of the past
- It can even make you a happier person
Seniors all over the world are downsizing their possessions with the help of the KonMari Method. Developed by organization expert Marie Kondo, the KonMari Method involves going through your home section by section and personally analyzing every item. If something “sparks joy,” you’re encouraged to keep it. Everything else gets a “thank you” for serving its purpose in your life before you let it go. It’s time consuming, but it can really make the purging of your possessions easier– emotionally speaking. Avoid trying to tackle too many rooms in one day, as this is not only overwhelming, but exhausting. Decluttering can take a physical and emotional toll, so consider bringing in family members and friends to help you along, and provide support when you need it.
Once you’ve collected all the things you don’t need in your life anymore, you have to figure out what to do with it all. If you have kids, invite them over to pillage the belongings and keep anything that may have sentimental value. If you want to get rid of stuff quickly and easily, donating to a charity is the simplest way to go. The Salvation Army will even pick up your donation from your house. If you’re trying to make a little money to help fund a new place (see below), try holding a garage sale or post items on sites like eBay and apps like LetGo. It’s even more time consuming than throwing a garage sale, but you can make better money when you appeal to the large audience of the Internet. If you’re unsure about getting rid of certain items, another option is to put these things in storage so you can give yourself more time to make a decision.
Downsizing Your Home
For many seniors, the reduction of stuff isn’t enough. As you approach your golden years, a large house with no kids is more work than it’s worth. You may be paying sky high taxes for the school district your children don’t even go to anymore. It could be that your home simply isn’t conducive to safe mobility due to the stairs, narrow hallways, and small bathroom. For these reasons and more, many people choose to relocate to a senior living community where they can enjoy a cozier space while being surrounded by like-minded individuals and fun social scenarios.
If you choose to move to a retirement community, you may need to get rid of more stuff than you first anticipated. Some places come furnished, so your sofa and chairs may not be needed. There may be activities that you once enjoyed but haven’t tried in years — so maybe think twice before getting rid of those golf clubs. Keep your chosen community in mind when downsizing your things.
Downsizing your lifestyle after retirement is popular for a reason. Less stuff in the home means less stress and a happier life. You can make a difference by donating things you don’t want anymore or help add a bit to your nest egg by selling them. After you get rid of what you don’t want or need, you may find that your big house doesn’t feel like home anymore and a retirement community calls to you. However you choose to downsize, it’s important to make every move with your happiness in mind so you can truly enjoy the best years of your life.