With quarantines, social distancing, and coronavirus dominating the headlines, many people may feel like life is on hold right now. It can be helpful to look ahead to the future, to use this time to start making plans, thinking about what lies ahead. With that in mind, spring is right around the corner. For 78% of U.S. households, this means spring cleaning time is near. Spring brings thoughts of refreshing living spaces, which means clearing out accumulated clutter along with cleaning up homes.
Spring also can be a great time to think about where and how you live. Does your home really reflect who you are? Is your home the right size for you, or do you need more — or less — space?
Rightsizing means changing your environment to suit your current needs and lifestyle. Rightsizing encompasses a range of options to simultaneously simplify your life and expand your choices.
Rightsizing Means Finding the Right Size of Home for You
Home styles are as unique as those who live in them. Some prefer a house, while others opt for a condominium or apartment. About 5% of older adults in the U.S. reside in senior living communities. Some senior living communities cater to adults aged 55 and older. Others, like Friendship Village Columbus, are Life Plan Communities, which offer a variety of residential and healthcare options such as independent and assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care on one campus.
Is senior living right for you? Take our quick survey to learn more!
What Are Some Benefits to Rightsizing?
If you are an older adult and find your family home to be too large for your current needs, there are many benefits to rightsizing to a smaller dwelling.
Make your space work for you. How much space do you actually use? While it may feel like you need a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home for when family visits once per year, how often is that space utilized during the majority of time? Would a sleeper sofa and an air mattress serve the same needs?
Do you need a guest room or an office? A two- or three-bedroom apartment or condominium may offer the right alternative, with the added benefit of less unused space to clean. Smaller spaces require less time to maintain. Depending on the type of residence you select, you may even have access to a professional team who will handle maintenance for you.
Some people don’t want to consider the thought of selling the home where they raised a family, or simply don’t have the time or energy to consider the work it would take to get a house ready to sell. These feelings are certainly valid, but sometimes flipping your mindset can offer a fresh perspective. For example, rather than mourning the loss of a house, remember that memories go with you and are not merely attached to a physical place. Photo albums, memory quilts, and sharing stories with others help to keep memories fresh and always with you.
Accumulation of possessions can evoke many emotions, as well. Saving items for a rainy day or thriftily preserving an item you may need someday are practices that have been ingrained throughout our lifetimes. It’s simply not in our nature to discard a perfectly usable item. Again, reframing your mindset may help you let go of things you really don’t need. You can give items to friends or relatives, sell items for extra cash, or donate things to the less fortunate. Any of these reasons ensure items are not simply thrown away and find new uses, rather than sitting around your home gathering dust.
Rightsizing a home and possessions can reduce the stress of keeping up with cleaning, clutter, and upkeep.
For older adults who opt to rightsize into a smaller space, financial benefits can include reduced property taxes and lowered (or nonexistent!) mortgages. For those who move to a Life Plan Community, preplanning for future healthcare needs offers the option to have your future financial and healthcare decisions settled so your children don’t have to worry about them.
What does the future look like to you? Do you have plans to travel or set up a trust for your grandchildren? These decisions can help you set a financial planning goal.
Are you considering moving to a smaller house, condominium, apartment, or senior living community?
Once you’ve given some thought to where you’d like to live, it’s time to talk with your family about your decision. It’s likely your children will have strong opinions about selling their childhood home. Remember, it’s your life and your decision.
Start to plan how to organize your possessions. This process can be difficult for many people. It can be helpful to remember that you are shedding possessions, not the memories attached to them. Give yourself plenty of time to make decisions and sort through what you want to keep, give away (to friends, family, or charitable donations), sell, or throw away. If you struggle with this process (and we all do), consider enlisting the help of family, friends, or a professional organizer.
Find a real estate agent to help you begin to prepare and stage your home for optimal selling.
Are you ready to find the right sized home for this next chapter in your life? Rather than downsizing, rightsizing allows you to organize and simplify your belongings, your home, and your life.