While packing your suitcases and struggling with cardboard boxes may be the downside of downsizing, creating the carefree life of your dreams is all upside! And the process of getting rid of things can be a great starting point for understanding where you want to go and what you want to do next! It’s time to ask yourself; what do you want to do more of, what do you want to do less of and what do you need help with?
#1 The Upsize Edit!
Spring cleaning your commitments at home and in your community is a great way to make sure that your next phase of life is packed full of the good stuff. Says one sheepish downsizer, ‘I resigned from four committees and took up table tennis when we moved to our beachside apartment. I’m done with admin, meetings and bad catering!’
Says one retiree, ‘To be honest, a part of me was a bit prideful about all the handyman stuff I did around the house. Maintaining it all was a sign of ownership. But in the last few years it’s gone from being my passion to my pain. I want to slow down and relax.’ So what’s the first thing he gave away when the removal trucks arrived? ‘The lawnmower and my power tools!’ he says.
#2 Use your imagination!
Getting the life you want is also about imaging the ways it could change in the future. Living foot loose and fancy free might be all the rage right now, but don’t forget to take a peek beyond the next few years.
‘My wife has always had health challenges. And while for most of our lives it’s been manageable, now that I’ve got my own heart condition to take care of, we need more support,’ says one empty nester on the verge of downsizing. Looking down the track to potential care needs is a way to ensure that the life you’ve so carefully created can be maintained. Says one relieved downsizer, ‘I sobbed when we left our gorgeous old house for the last time. But laughed at myself a week later when I went out for a matinee while the cleaner blitzed our new flat. I’m not up for the challenge of polishing the silverware anymore!’
There are plenty of ways of outsourcing the dull or difficult parts of life as they arise, just make sure you are aware of the help that’s available and enlist it when the time comes.
#3 Get your family on the bandwagon!
Make sure you don’t keep your family in the dark around your downsizing plans. You’ll need to ensure they understand what you want out of your retirement years.
Says one downsizer, ‘I admit I was being a bit secretive about downsizing at first. I thought my kids would try to talk me out of it, or start questioning what I was doing. But after one of them caught me selling the kayak and all our snow gear, I let them all know. And they were happy for me. Now we’re all working on looking for a new apartment together – it’s lifted the burden of trying to do everything myself.’