Common Downsizing Mistakes Seniors Should Avoid During a Move


Common Downsizing Mistakes Seniors Should Avoid During a Move

Downsizing your home before retirement? That’s a savvy move that can help seniors save time, money and stress. If you don’t plan your downsizing move properly, however, a process meant to simplify your life could end up causing you some serious headaches. But you can prevent that pain, and prevent potential problems, by avoiding these common downsizing mistakes.

Saving Decluttering for Last

If you are a senior who is downsizing, parting ways with material objects can feel more like letting go of memories. The emotions of decluttering can make this a complex, complicated process for older adults, and it’s best to be able to take your time. So start decluttering as soon as you know you will be moving and allow yourself enough time to decide what can stay and what needs to go. You need to be decisive when sorting and decluttering, but don’t feel like you have to give up items that still carry emotional attachment. Self-storage will allow you to hold onto those items, as well as seasonal decor and other goods. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to set aside some money to afford a storage unit; in Sarasota, for example, a self-storage unit costs around $107 per month over the past 180 days.

Refusing to Ask or Hire Help

Retaining independence is one of the most common reasons seniors downsize homes in the first place. Moving to a smaller home can reduce costs and efforts around home maintenance, and if that home has aging-in-place features, such as walk-in showers and slip-resistant floors, moving can also help keep seniors safe during their golden years. To make finding a safer home easy, consider finding a real estate professional with experience helping retirees. These specially trained agents with SRES ratings know how to find senior-friendly homes and how to help you navigate the process. You can hire other helpers as well, from part-time moving help to assist with packing to a professional cleaning service to tidy up your old home. Hiring cleaners will not only save you some stress during your move, but it can also help sell your old home.

Forgetting to Research Local Areas

Chances are, you started your search for the perfect home online. You may be looking at potential properties right now, but are you also looking at potential cities and neighborhoods? Some cities and towns are much more retirement-friendly than others, so be sure to choose wisely. Think about what you really need out of your golden years home, and make sure your new city or neighborhood has those amenities. Local community features that can help seniors have a better quality of life can include access to transportation, low cost of living, and nearby health and senior centers. If your preferred area is not close to senior centers, make sure you will have other ways to socialize. Socialization is essential for healthy aging, and being close to family, friends or other seniors can be crucial for your physical and mental health.

Moving Homes Without a Clear Plan

Once you’ve found a fitting home and your offer is accepted, so much of the hard work is over. That’s especially true if you took the time to declutter early in the process. Still, packing and moving can be stressful for seniors as well. You’ve already read about hiring part-time help with packing, but you may also want to invest in a full-service moving company. These professional moving services can be well worth the added price (about $50-$100 per hour) if you have heavy furniture to move or have health issues that could make moving dangerous. You will need to book a professional moving company in advance, though, so you need to plan for this ahead of time. Planning your move, including scheduling movers, will also help reduce the chance for mistakes and added stress, keeping your downsizing move smooth and simple.

Downsizing should take away stress during retirement, not add it. So before you begin this process for yourself, be sure to have a plan to avoid costly mistakes, and also be sure to start with an experienced local realtor. That latter part is important, because it can make finding your dream home simpler!

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