‘How To’ on Downsizing
More than 40 percent of Americans ages 50-64 plan to move in the next five years. In our region, people tend to live in their homes for decades, and this represents a rare influx of inventory coming into the market.
According to CNBC, by 2030, Boomers will sell 26 million homes, releasing them into the real estate market. But Boomers who haven’t yet made the leap often cite the things they’ve collected over a lifetime as the obstacle. A full 75 percent of older adults say they are “somewhat” or “very” reluctant to move because of the number of things they would have to purge.
Planning is key. Seniors considering a move can start with an inventory of their belongings. This will help them prioritize and plan what they will keep, discard, sell or give away.
It’s never too early to start downsizing, even years before a planned move. I recommend an annual audit. This enables a future seller to continually keep up with belongings, making a move easier when the time comes.
If a move is imminent, then getting accurate dimensions of the new space is crucial. Every good downsizing strategy starts with accurate measurements. This will make planning much more effective and alleviate some of the stress.
It’s also important to prioritize sentimental items separately from items that may only hold monetary value for you. Those special items can be moved into storage or passed down to grown children. Other items that are valuable without a sentimental attachment can be appraised and sold. The money from those sales can help fuel future retirement endeavors.
Make sure to have a trusted family member or friend for support throughout the downsizing process and throughout the transition. A support system can often make downsizing more manageable.