The Complete Guide to Downsizing

The Complete Guide to Downsizing

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By Logan Livers, Storage.com

Whenever you’re changing homes, you have a lot to think about. Let Storage.com help you navigate the process with tips on buying, selling, or renting, or with some additional space to help along the way.

Every year, people around the country move into smaller living spaces for a wide variety of reasons. Whether it’s downsizing to a rental property or selling a home to move into a smaller one, downsizing can offer a lot of benefits. Most people downsize as part of a financial decision, since a smaller space often means lower costs. Many of the other reasons for downsizing can also be directly or indirectly related to finances. Use this guide to find out the common reasons for downsizing, determine whether or not you need to downsize, and ways to make downsizing simpler.

Common Reasons for Downsizing Your Home

  • Lower monthly costs — The main reason that most people downsize is to increase the spendable income every month by lowering their rent or mortgage payments. A smaller home is a great way to decrease the biggest part of your budget so that you can save money in other areas, such as:
    • Taxes: In a smaller house, you’ll pay significantly less in real estate taxes. Not only will you decrease your mortgage payments, but you’ll also be able to decrease other major costs as well.
    • Utilities: Going from two water heaters down to one can be a great money saver. Even if your downsize isn’t that drastic, heating and cooling a smaller space is far more efficient and costs a lot less.
    • Maintenance: A smaller home will be a lot more affordable to maintain, especially in the long run. For example, if you ever need to install a new roof or paint the exterior, having a smaller home will reduce the total cost of replacement.
  • Move to a better location — Many people will sacrifice square footage to live in their ideal neighborhood or in a downtown space. While the need to downsize can be related to higher costs in that area, these people are mainly driven by their love for a specific location.
  • Don’t need that much space — Empty nesters will often be left with more house than they need once all of their children have grown up and moved out. Moving into a smaller home can be much more convenient for maintenance and a new lifestyle.
  • Newer but smaller — Larger isn’t always better. Some people will sacrifice some space to move into a better or more modern home because they value amenities over space.
  • Smaller footprint — As people are becoming more interested in preserving the environment, many have chosen to minimize their ecological footprint by living in a smaller home. In that case, downsizing is not only a housing choice, but a lifestyle choice.
  • Sometimes it isn’t an option — Unfortunately, downsizing isn’t always an option. A recent divorce or sudden unemployment scenario can force people to downsize their living arrangements in order to afford rent or mortgage payments.

Should You Downsize Your Home?

Moving into a smaller home is a very big decision, so it requires a lot of planning and foresight to make sure it’s the right move. Just because there are a lot of benefits to downsizing, that doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. While many instances of downsizing are based on necessity, some decisions are made based on future goals and the willingness to sacrifice square footage for the ability to invest more money elsewhere.

If you are debating whether or not downsizing is right for you, here are some things to consider:

  • Does size matter to you? — This is a simple question that you should ask yourself before you consider anything else on this list. If the size of your home doesn’t matter to you, then you should reconsider downsizing. If you value a high square footage layout, explore other options to decrease your monthly expenditures before making the decision to downsize your living space.
  • Will it ease your financial situation? — Another simple question that will help you decide if downsizing will actually be beneficial for you. If you can help your financial situation by moving to a smaller place, then it is definitely a worthwhile decision.
  • Overall cost of downsizing —This is an important aspect to consider in the total cost of moving, even when you’re going to a smaller place. You may have to buy entirely new furniture that fits your new space better, and getting rid of belongings can be considered a “cost” as well, albeit not monetarily.
  • Do you like the neighborhood/area? — Any time you move, you have the opportunity to live in a neighborhood you really enjoy. When downsizing, your list of options increases significantly. Neighborhoods that were once out of your price range, like downtown condos or apartments, are much more affordable when you’re looking for a smaller size.
  • Is it the right house for you? — You want to make sure that you’re making a decision that you’ll love. That means the criteria for your new home has to be much more complicated than just being smaller. You don’t want to sacrifice happiness, just space.

How to Make Downsizing Easier

Now that you’ve decided that downsizing is the appropriate step for your life, it’s time to start focusing on how you can make it easier on yourself. In most cases, it’s fairly difficult to make the transition from a larger living space to a smaller one. It’s a lot like trying to pack too much into your carry-on suitcase. It can leave you with making big decisions on what should be kept and what won’t be making the move with you.

  • Take inventory of your belongings — The first step of downsizing is to take a thorough inventory of everything that you own so you can figure out what you really need and what you can part with. Categorize your belongings to figure out must-have items and items you can replace with smaller sized counterparts.
  • Don’t duplicate items — When downsizing, you probably won’t be entertaining any large groups of people, so you can stand to lose a few chairs or beer glasses. Don’t weigh yourself down with duplicate items that you may only need in unique situations, and limit yourself to what will be used frequently.
  • Explore storage options — One thing is certain when downsizing; you’ll need to become a storage fiend. That means you’ll need to look into shelving units, ottomans with built-in storage, and other storage solutions. By using these great storage options in your smaller living space, you’ll be better organized and can avoid feeling cramped in your new home.
  • Stay organized — One of the keys to happiness when living in a smaller home is to stay organized so you don’t end up with a cluttered living space. Take the time to consider where something will be stored before you bring it into your home so you don’t ever end up with more than you have room for. Check out these decluttering tips for more advice on how to keep the clutter out of your smaller space.

All in all, downsizing your home can be a worthwhile decision for all sorts of people. It can cut down on your carbon footprint, simplify your life, and most importantly— save you a lot of money. Take the time to really think about what downsizing means before making the decision to move and you’re sure to enjoy your smaller home.

Downsize to a Smaller Living Space with Self Storage

Downsize to a Smaller Living Space with Self Storage

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Whenever you’re changing homes, you have a lot to think about. Let Storage.com help you navigate the process with tips on buying, selling, or renting, or with some additional space to help along the way.

One of the inevitable truths about moving is that the cost of living—and the affordability of spacious housing—varies from city to city. The cost of renting a home or apartment in a metropolis like Chicago or New York will naturally be much higher than the cost of renting the same amount of space in a suburb. Not to mention you’ll also have to make up for the higher costs of groceries, utilities, and other regular living expenses when moving to a larger city. In order to accommodate the higher costs of living, most people downsize to a smaller residence.

However, downsizing might leave you with very little at-home storage space. Instead of selling possessions or immediately upgrading to a larger home (which costs more), have you considered moving your additional possessions into a self storage unit? Here are some of the ways self storage can be of service when downsizing your home.

Use Self Storage to Make Up for Lost Square Footage

One thing to remember about downsizing your home is that losing a couple hundred square feet is a much bigger loss than it sounds. If you go from a 2,000-square-foot suburban home to a 900-square-foot apartment in the city, you’re losing several room’s worth of storage space. If your old place had a basement or attic, you can count on losing that, as that is usually the first extra room to go in smaller residences. Now all of those storage items you had before need a new place to stay.

This is where self storage becomes handy. A 5×10 storage unit can accommodate a mattress and dressers–basically, an entire bedroom’s worth of belongings. If your loss amounts to, say, three rooms’ worth of space, you’ll want to rent a 10×15 or larger. If your new place is half the size of your old one, a 10×20 might be more suiting. In any event, be sure to check out our Self Storage Size Guide to determine the amount of space you’ll need.

With your storage unit, you can keep related items grouped together (keeping an inventory of your storage items helps.) The beauty of the situation is that you’ll have all of these items handy until you can afford a larger living space.

Store Items You Only Need Occasionally

Before you start downsizing your home, you need to decide which items you want to put into storage. In doing so, the best place to start is picking out anything you do not use on a day-to-day basis, such as seasonal items. You only need your winter clothing and gear for a few months out of the year, and they’ll only take up closet space afterward. The same applies for your summer clothes and sporting equipment. With self storage, not only can you remove unneeded seasonal items from your household, but you can also swap them out as the seasons change. This swapping technique will also save you cost in storage, as you can now settle for a smaller storage unit.

How about recreational equipment? You’ll certainly want to have your golf clubs handy on a day set aside for fun, but these items will only take up space whenever you’re not using them. With a self storage unit, however, you can easily move these out of your place of residence and still have no trouble accessing them whenever you want to have some fun outdoors. Downsizing your home will likely result in either downsizing your garage space or losing it altogether, so having a self storage unit to store your giant garage toys (ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, etc.) is also useful.

Speaking of the garage, don’t forget: owning a home or apartment with a garage typically adds a little more to your expenditures. With automobile storage, however, you can store your vehicle and still have regular access to it. If the facility is located close to where you live, it’s not much different than parking your car in an off-site garage, except for less money! Most self storage facilities can accommodate vehicles of all sizes, from ATVs to full-sized boats and RVs.

Sentimental Items

You obviously don’t want to throw away your trophies, family photo albums, heirlooms, or any belonging with a personal, sentimental history to it. At the same time, though, keeping them in a cluttered household only increases the chance of your personal belongings becoming damaged or destroyed. Items such as these are also nice to show off at parties and gatherings, but you don’t need them out on display all the time. If you have a unit at a well-equipped storage facility, you can move your sentimental belongings into a safe, secure location where they will be preserved until you need them or until you can afford a larger living space.

Useful Amenities to Have When Downsizing

When storing personal belongings, especially items of a sentimental nature, guaranteeing their security is an absolute must. So be on the lookout for storage operators who can provide amenities such as video surveillance, on-site management, individually alarmed units, and gated access. Delicate items such as photographs, electronics, cotton clothing, and wooden furniture do not fare well in harsh temperatures, so invest in a climate-controlled storage unit to make sure that the unit remains between 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Despite the fact that your storage unit will be separate from your residence, it would benefit you to have it located close to where you live. If your storage unit is a short distance away, you can access it more regularly.

Seeing plentiful space go away is probably the most staggering change when downsizing a home, but with self storage, you can make up for this. With adequate space and convenient location, it’s not much different than having a basement separate from your home.

FIND A STORAGE UNIT NEAR YOU

  • http://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/facilities/sydney/greater-sydney/north-shore/ ericbosloor

    Downsizing is the perfect timing for you to de-clutter and get rid of any unwanted or unused belongings which you have been hoarding all this while. Yes, some things are simply too valuable to dispose of but it actually does help you save on space which you would need to calculate in order to rent just the right-sized storage unit for the rest of the excess items.