You may not believe this now, but soon, (maybe even halfway through this article) you’re going to start getting excited. Maybe a little excited, maybe a lot. And by the end of reading it, well, chances are you’ll have a pad of paper out covered in indecipherable words and sketches, a pile of inspirational pictures torn from magazines drifting at your elbows. That’s because today we’re talking about downsizing. Sure, sure, the word itself lacks both razzle and dazzle, but the process of downsizing is getting a makeover, thanks to the realisation that living large and owning less is the answer to living your dream life.
For too long downsizing has had a bit of a…whiff to it.
The very word carried with it the suspicion that the family acreage was going to be reduced to a window box on a south-facing apartment block. It conjured up visions of straightened circumstances and books burned for warmth come winter. And while no one’s arguing downsizing can be a confronting experience when it’s done at a pace you’re not comfortable with, many canny seniors and seniors-in-waiting are growing to understand that downsizing your home and life is something to look forward to, plan and ultimately enjoy when the time comes.
That’s right. People are actually enjoying downsizing - in a big way.
The idea of taking life by the horns once more is where the appeal really comes in. Those who get it understand that a time will come when 2 bedrooms are better than 5 and that financial freedom is the greatest way to get life by the throat. After some solid decades of making mortgage repayments, accommodating everybody’s bike, scooter and surfboard, plus maintaining the whole bricks and mortar edifice, finding a smaller spot means life becomes about what YOU want it to be about. It’s about rediscovering the things that put the wind in your sails and the smile on your dial.
Getting the momentum up to begin the downsizing process is what daunts many.
With sheds to clear out, attics filled to bursting and spare rooms lined with junk, no one really relishes the excavation phase of the process. But knee deep in the detritus is when many report the flicker of hope ignites. Says one bashful downsizer, ‘I remember going through an enormous box of the kids’ birthday cards and thinking, why have I kept these for 20-30 years? I actually put them in the compost!’ Unwilling to be named for fear of her family finding out what she’s done with their ‘precious mementos’, she says, ‘I’m done with being a free storage facility. I’m thrilled to be looking at downsizing my home for a 2 bedroom apartment by the beach!’
The longish process of clearing out can also help give you the impetus to tidy up all your other loose ends – making financial plans for care in the future, getting your will in order and sorting out the tangle of general life admin duties. And of course it’s prime time to mull over not just where you want to live but how. For some being close to family dictates a total location change, for others it’s about being close to facilities and a community that cares.
And that really is the best bit, dreaming up the way you want to live your retirement is what it’s all about.
The capital you’ve gained from the sale of your home should be used to fund the fantastical life you’ve long dreamed of. Season tickets to the theatre? Sure! Sports car? One each thanks! Joining clubs, starting classes, making new friends and milking every drop of delight from life is the ultimate goal of downsizing. Having a home that is easy to care for and one that keeps you in close proximity to everything you value is the base from which you can build your beautiful future. And it means that you’ve done the planning to ensure life is lived the way you want it to be and that the decisions you make are 100% yours. Excited yet?