Many in the baby boom generation have been clinging to their big family homes, despite equity gains that have occurred in many areas due to the improving economy.
We’re not yet seeing a dramatic trend toward downsizing. But despite the desire of many boomers to hang on to their family homes indefinitely, an increasing number will soon change their minds or be forced to downsize, however reluctantly, due to medical, financial or family issues.
Very often it takes a triggering event, like a major health problem, to cause people to sell a home they’ve owned for many years.
Whether you’re a homeowner who’s excited to downsize or you’re doing so involuntarily, the emotions can be intense.
It is very difficult it is for those to disconnect from any residence where they’ve lived for a lengthy time, even if doing so by choice.
Part of the problem for downsizers is that the moving process is inherently disruptive to their habits and patterns of living.
It’s fascinating how we humans are wired emotionally and bond to the places where we live.
Here are a few pointers for downsizers:
1. Seek an ally to help you begin the downsizing process.
It can take up to 24 hours of work to de-clutter the average-sized room. To avoid becoming sidetracked, many home sellers need an ally to help them view their possessions objectively and let go of things they can’t take with them when they move.
When you have to downsize, your whole life is upside-down. It’s tremendously stressful. So it’s good to have someone there with you to help you stay focused and create an organized strategy.
2. Ask family members if they want some of your memorabilia.
Older downsizers often hang onto nostalgic items they believe their grown children might want someday. But many parents believe their offspring will want many more things than they do, including their childhood storybooks and elementary school sports trophies.
Typically, Mom and Dad hang on to things the kids don’t really want. Downsizers should ask grown children what items they value.
3. Make a memory book with photos of your place.
4. Give away functional items you can’t take with you.
As they plow through their property room by room, most downsizers encounter many items that crowd their space. Whenever possible, donations of serviceable items to a nonprofit institution that will put them to good use. For instance, you could donate unused musical instruments to a school serving low-income families.
It can be incredibly rewarding to know your excess belongings will meet the needs of others rather than get tossed in the trash.
The Pueblo Cheiftan