Downsizing can be a major life change for seniors who want to remain independent, except in the best possible way. Moving into a smaller home brings many benefits, including having less to take care of, less to pay for, and fewer chances of accidents or injury, especially if your new home has only one level. However, there’s always the possibility that you’ll need to make some changes, such as modifications that will make your new place safer and more accessible no matter what your health needs are. These can come in a wide array of costs, so if you’re on a budget, you’ll want to ensure that you’re prepared by scouting out local contractors and looking for the best deal. You can also look for grants or special loans to help cover costs.
It’s also important to think about the best ways to pack up your home, as well as how to donate, sell, or throw away items you no longer want or need. This can be an emotional task, but try to keep in mind that a smaller home means less space to hold your belongings. Ask a friend or family member to help you go through your things and choose which items to part with; having support will definitely help. Here are a few things to consider when it’s time to downsize.
Keep Modifications in Mind
You may find a home you really love only to discover that it needs some changes in order to be safe or to fit your needs. This is where modifications come in, which can easily soar into the five figures, so it’s important to assess what your needs are and find the right contractor to help make the changes. Typically, changes are most often required in the kitchen or bathroom to make the spaces more accessible. So, if you spend $230,000 on a home (which is the average sale price in West Palm Beach) but it requires major modifications, you need to make sure you have room in your budget for these expenses. Otherwise, you could find yourself struggling financially.
Think Carefully About What You Want to Bring
Downsizing your home also means downsizing your belongings; it’s just a necessary part of moving into a smaller place because you won’t have room for everything. It can be a difficult process, but it’s an important part of the move. Think of it as a chance to declutter and get things into shape before you settle into the new house. Go through the attic, basement, crawlspace, pantry, and/or closets to get a feel for all your belongings; many people don’t realize how much they’ve accumulated until they get ready to pack! If possible, spend at least a week going through your things and paring them down. Donate, sell, and throw away items you no longer need and measure your furniture to make sure it will fit in the new home. For the things you want to keep but simply do not have room for, you might need to look into a self-storage unit, though keep in mind that it can run upwards of $100 per month — or more.
Keep Your Health in Check
Part of downsizing is making sure you’re able to remain independent, no matter what your health issues may be. That’s why it’s important to make sure your mental and physical health is in good shape, and to make any necessary changes to your home based on your evolving needs. It’s impossible to see into the future and know what the next five years will bring, so just keep your health in mind as you budget for modifications down the road. Eventually, you may have mobility issues that make stairs or a bathtub impossible to use, and your home should reflect this.
Keep the Moving Process Simple
Moving can be a tedious process, even when you feel you’re prepared. So, keep it as simple as possible by staying organized as you pack and asking friends and family for help on the big day. If you’re going to hire movers — which can cost you $318 on average, though many factors play into that figure — make sure you keep communication open with them as far as your schedule for the day goes so there will be no surprises.
Downsizing has many benefits, but one of the biggest is simply that it allows you to remain as independent as you want to be. Factor in your current health status, but also think about what the next few years may hold and plan as much as possible for your own safety and comfort.