Downsizing is Like a Stream

Stream in the forest
Just as a stream winding through the woods flows downward in steps, downsizing in stages follows a very natural order.

When we match our downsized lifestyle to our life cycle, we tend to create a more gradual transition between stages. The person who lives in a large, detached home for decades without downsizing before life’s end, typically transfers those responsibilities to their survivors. This creates an unnecessary burden on those individuals and increases risks to the person’s estate. Being proactive, by downsizing in stages, helps create a more relaxed, natural home environment.

First, let’s consider the typical, physical changes we experience as we age. We usually change from being physically active with no major limitations, followed by a period with some modest activity, then one with reduced mobility, then movement with assistance. If we match those periods to corresponding residence styles, we often see this pattern: detached home, then condo apartment, then retirement home and nursing home. My wife and I are in sync with this process. (We moved from a multi-level, detached home to a single-level, condo apartment.) This gradual transition is a great way to approach downsizing your stuff since you can take your time to accomplish a major task over time. You can also combine this approach with the typical downsizing most people take when moving to each successive (smaller) residence

Secondly, let’s consider the amount of space required as we age. Mature adults are typically “empty nesters” with no on-going need for extra bedrooms and storage space needed when children were at home. This translates into financial savings and time savings when matching current needs to the ideal home for each situation. Although stuff can be reduced gradually, space is usually downsized in stages coinciding with successive home moves. A reduction of space in the range of 20% to 30% is usually considered manageable by most people, depending on the amount of stuff they are bringing. A reduction of 50% or more can be a very challenging adjustment unless there is a corresponding reduction in possessions.

Thirdly, downsizing responsibilities in steps or stages that match a revised lifestyle is a sensible way of adjusting how to spend time. Since most home moves tend to coincide with life events such as becoming an empty-nester, retiring or experiencing a health change, a review of responsibilities makes sense. Of course, some responsibilities and roles don’t change over time. However, others can be up for review, especially voluntary ones. This allows people to properly match current availability with existing responsibilities and interests. Maintaining a balance is best for fulfilling obligations while promoting good health. Neither too much nor too little is advisable. How often have you heard of someone who passed away one year after retirement? Having a purposeful life is a simple motivation for keeping active and involved while facing the future.

What are your thoughts on this topic? You are welcome to comment below …

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Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored in quill & pen by …
Paul Ferri, Broker
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated

Photo Credit: Pixabay ~ Sven Lachmann


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