Accepting a compact life over a full-sized one is an idea that has been finding favour among a larger part of the population today than ever before. Downsizing isn’t a fad; it isn’t about taking a principled stand against materialism or shrinking your environmental footprint, either. Downsizing, rather, is simply a logical way to conduct your life, because it comes with huge financial benefits, and it eases your transition into retirement the day it happens.
What financial benefits?
A downsized life can mean a smaller home, together with a smaller mortgage. You spend less on furnishing it, insuring it, heating and cooling it, and making repairs when such attention is needed. Housing costs to the average British citizen blow away a full third of their income. Major metropolitan areas are known to cost even more. Living in a large house in a fashionable part of a town comes with pressure to buy expensive cars and maintain an expensive lifestyle. A modestly proportioned home in a working-class neighbourhood can be a huge load off your income.
There’s more that can improve with your life
Contemplating life with fewer possessions may seem boring when you think about it. You need to look at what you will have more of, though: time and energy. You will have less to clean and maintain around your home, and more time and energy for the things that you want to do. People who downsize to a smaller home and fewer possessions find that they suddenly feel far less stressed. Having more time and energy can have that effect.
It’s important to know how to go about downsizing, though. One of the best ways to start the process is to do it long before you actually have to. Thinking about downsizing a week before you are due to retire can be difficult simply because you don’t have enough time to truly think about your choices. It takes time to get into the spirit of a less sprawling life.
First, how big a house will you need?
If it’s clear that your home is a little too generously proportioned for your needs, think of how many rooms you visit no more than one or two times a month. If you have home office space, extra bathrooms, guestrooms, rec rooms or children’s rooms that you can’t remember ever having used on a regular basis, add up the square footage, and deduct it from the area that your current home occupies.
You also need to look at your garden, pool, patio, driveway and garage to see how much you are actually going to be using.
Cut the clutter
Once you’ve made up your mind about moving to a smaller house, it’s time to begin looking at possessions that don’t really contribute to your life. Anything that doesn’t really add to the quality of your life needs to go.
Start with the farthest reaches of your home — the basement, attic and garage. These places usually have plenty of low-hanging fruit. These are things that clearly don’t get used often, and you should think about whether to hang on to them.
It’s important involve the entire family in the process of lightening your home. Others can be attached to things that you have no reason to think of as significant. From old toys and knickknacks to old furniture or sporting goods, you want to consult your family to make sure that they have no trouble with getting rid of them.
Imagine your new house in detail
Whatever you’re throwing away, you’re doing it to achieve a lightweight lifestyle. Getting rid of the stuff you have only to buy new replacements for makes little sense.
Imagine what your new house will look like (here is a great source of ideas). Think of how at home you will feel in a home with the least possible furnishing. Anything that doesn’t seem to belong in your dream –either because you don’t really need it, or because it won’t fit through the door in your new, modest home — needs to go.
If you’re used to a king-sized life, it can be hard to envision a modest one. The answer, then, is to take the process in baby steps, and go about it gradually. A gradual drift towards a downsized life is likely to be painless.
By the time that you’re ready to retire and move, you will find that your life is just simpler, that your lifestyle has put more money in your pocket, and your future seems easier and brighter.
Author Bio: Zak Allen has moved around the country as part of his work and has developed a skill for keeping his possessions under control so that moving becomes easier. He likes to share his ideas and tips with an online audience and writes regularly for a number of lifestyle websites.