We have helped a lot of families downsize in the years we have been in business. We have also learned a lot of lessons along the way. At the top of the list is the reality that downsizing is often a lot harder than people anticipate. There are so many decisions to be made, decisions that often involve questions without clear-cut answers.
Business Insider’s Natalia Lusinski wrote an article earlier this year discussing four things people come to regret after downsizing. Her article is quite insightful, especially given that we have observed many of these same things. We want to tap into Lusinksi’s insight in this post.
Based on a combination of her article and our own experience, we present you with the top four downsizing mistakes to avoid:
1. Not Considering the Need for Privacy
Downsizing, by default, means living in a smaller space. It is great to imagine life not having to worry about taking care of a big house with lots of barely used rooms. However, step back and consider how you use your current space. Do you and your significant other spent all of your time together, or do you do separate things in separate areas of the house from time to time?
You may have a need for a certain level of privacy based on your current lifestyle. That’s fine. But if you are downsizing, you have to consider that need. You might have to be willing to be less private or find a house that meets your downsizing needs but still gives you separate spaces.
2. Not Considering Your Stuff
It has been our experience that the most difficult aspect of downsizing is sorting through possessions. It is typical for us to go into a downsizing situation and find a house full of stuff that has to be consolidated into a new space half the size.
It has also been our experience that it is a good idea to go through your stuff first. Before you ever begin looking for a new house, figure out what it is you want to take with you. That way, you will not find yourself in a house too small to accommodate your stuff. You will not end up in a smaller space that is cluttered because it is too small.
3. Unrealistic Expectations about Entertaining
Lusinski explained that many people regret not having enough room to entertain after they downsize. Let’s take that thinking one step further and talk about expectations in general. You might be looking at new homes and rejecting them because they do not offer any entertainment space. But ask yourself how often you actually entertain. Do you really need that extra space?
The other side of that coin is being a couple who routinely entertains but fails to understand the impact of downsizing on that sort of lifestyle. You can go so small that entertaining becomes impossible.
4. Failing to Consider Convenience
If you are like most families, you have learned to adapt to the conveniences your current living arrangement offers. For example, your home might have a first-floor laundry area. Is that convenience important enough to you to influence your downsizing strategy? If so, you can immediately take condos with shared laundry rooms off the list.
There are also local amenities to consider. You might enjoy the fact that your current home is close to shopping, dining, and entertainment. Are you willing to move to an area where the amenities are not as easily accessible?
Few downsizing projects are easy. However, downsizing doesn’t have to end in regret. If you think things through before you even begin the process, you can minimize those things that could potentially make your new home less enjoyable.