Downsizing Your Home Ahead of Retirement

If you’re nearing the golden years, you’re not alone. There are 74.9 million Baby Boomers in our country between the ages of 51 and 69, so even the youngest Boomers are around the corner from retirement age.

When the pitter-patter of little feet is coming from your grandchildren rather than your own children, you may begin to contemplate a downsize. The key to downsizing is getting started early. Even if you don’t plan to transition into a smaller home right away, you can avoid stress later on if you reduce your belongings little by little.

Start Small to Build Momentum 

Downsizing means consolidating a lifetime worth of possessions, some of which may have sentimental value. You can’t expect this to happen overnight. To avoid overwhelm, start with the smallest rooms that require the least amount of effort first.

Use this tactic to gain momentum for areas of the home that usually have more clutter like your garage, attic, and basement. And if organizing isn’t your forte, bring in the professionals. A home organization company can manage the work you can’t handle.

Take Stock of What You No Longer Need

Create an inventory of what you have now and what you will need to bring with you in the future when you do move. For instance, the snowblower or lawn mower may be worth giving away or selling if you plan a move to a property that has less land or a gated community that has a staff who takes care of landscaping for you.

Choose Ways to Sell Items That Will Earn You the Most

Possibly the best part of downsizing is that you can earn money from what you’ve accumulated through the years. The sale of these items may help you finance a new home or pay for travel and other activities you want to enjoy in retirement.

For valuable furniture, fixtures or decor, you can hire a company to manage an auction or sale event to get a fair price. You can also give items like dinnerware and clothes in good condition to consignment shops to sell for you. When someone buys the items at the store, you get a percentage of the sale.

Another option besides consignment is selling directly to secondhand stores that give an immediate pay out including Plato’s Closet. For the lesser valuable items, try posting free classified ads or hosting a yard sale to earn a little extra income.

Keep Track of Charitable Donations

Not everything you own will be sellable, so reach out to family and friends to give them first dibs before you donate or toss excess. Some charities will organize a pick up for items you decide to donate. For example, Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army in Virginia will do the transporting for you which makes it less of a hassle.

Remember, charitable donations are tax deductions. Keep a record of what you donate and request a receipt or letter from the charity as proof for tax time.


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