How To Downsize for Retirement

downsize for retirement
Congratulations! You have made it to retirement. Photo: stevendepolo on Flickr

You have worked hard all of your life, and now it is time for your retirement. You may be use to a much larger home, and now you are moving into a smaller home or condo. Trying to figure out what you will still need can be a difficult process. These tips should help you to downsize for retirement.

The Big Stuff – Look at the big stuff first. How many rooms will your new home have? What of your furniture simply won’t fit? If you are moving from a multi-bedroom house to a smaller home or condo with just one or two bedrooms, you can probably get rid of the beds and furniture from some of those bedrooms. Going from a dining room that seats 12 down to a size suitable only for 4 people? Instead of trying to squeeze your giant table into the new space you might be better off selling your current furniture for something more appropriate to the space you have. Here are some great places to find new furniture.

The Little Things – The little things can add up quickly. Did you have bookcases filled with books and knick-knacks that you won’t fit in your new home? Look in the kitchen and count the drawers and cabinets compared to your new home. If you will have less space in your new kitchen, maybe it is time to give up those kitchen gadgets that you haven’t used in years. When you are packing up you should have 3 separate categories at all times: keep, donate or sell, and trash. Ask yourself as you go through your items, “Do I use this?” “Could someone else use this?”  If someone else could use it, here are some places you can donate to. That will help you to pare down.

Maintenance Equipment – The nice thing about many condos or active adult communities is that much of the exterior maintenance may be taken care of. Will you need those lawnmowers, weed sprayers, painting equipment and the rest of that stuff cluttering up your shed or garage in your new home?

Cars – You may want to look into downsizing in the automotive department as well. If you had 2 cars for hauling around kids and going to work every day, you may want to see if you can now live with just one car. This will save you money and space.

downsize for retirement
Downsize your records. Photo: comedy_nose on Flickr

Paperwork – Not to say that this applies to anyone in my family, ::cough:: but you may be able to get rid of some of those papers hanging around. Receipts that you meant to deduct on your taxes in the 80’s? Instructions for appliances and electronics you don’t even have any more?  Stacks holding years worth of junk mail? Get rid of it! Keep only the pertinent tax records, documents and other things you need. The rest either throw away or shred, if it contains private information.

Clothes – Many people have way too many clothes, and a smaller closet can force you to make some choices about which of your clothes you really need. Ask yourself when is the last time you wore something. If you have clothes you haven’t worn in several years, you might not need them any more. Another thing to consider is, if you are moving, is it to a different climate? If you are moving to the desert you probably won’t find too much use for those parkas anymore.

Know When to Say Yes – We have been talking about getting rid and cutting back, but just because you are downsizing, doesn’t mean that everything has to go. You can keep things that have meaning to you. If your collection of jazz albums or hand made quilts is an important part of your life, then be sure to make space for it. If your new home can not contain it you always have the option of finding a storage unit to fit your needs.

downsize for retirement
You want to make sure that you have room for your new hobbies or activities. Photo: kulicki on Flickr

Make Space for the New – Hopefully retirement means you will have many new opportunities. How are you going to be spending your time? Going to work on your golf handicap? Starting a home business for supplemental income? Going to take up gardening? Be sure to make space for your new adventures.

When you go to downsize for retirement it is not about getting rid of all of the things you love, it is about making sure that what you have works for your new space. Things you don’t need or want anymore, or are simply too big should go, and you should make room for the things you need and will love in the next stage of your life.

Did you downsize for retirement? What are you willing to let go of in your life to downsize? Tell us below in the comments!

Related posts:

Small Space Living: Doing More with Less

Small Apartment Storage

Creative Storage Tips for Small Spaces

Clearing Out the Clutter: Where to Donate Your Junk