On the property journey there are many steps: from buying your starter apartment, purchasing your freestanding “forever” home and downsizing to something comfortable and the perfect fit for empty nesters.
Here are some clear steps to take when downsizing is on your mind.
Work out when is the right time for you to downsize
When it comes to deciding when the right time is to downsize there are many options. For some, that moment may come when they are still working but have seen their children finish their education and have flown the coop. For others, the right time is upon retirement when plans to travel and relax are on the horizon.
Also consider If your forever home is becoming a burden to upkeep, or if you find that you are living in just a small part of the property with much-wasted space.
It is not just maintenance of a home and garden that can be a deciding factor, the layout of the home may no longer suit your level of mobility. A multi-level property may work when the family is young but can be tiresome in later years.
Think about the type of home and location that is ideal for you
Australians have adopted apartment living in greater numbers in recent years. And for downsizers, there are many advantages to this style of housing.
Typically apartments are well located, close to amenities such as shopping centres and transport and with many surrounding and in the CBD.
They are also built for convenience and comfort. Lugging groceries up steps to the front door can be a thing of the past with lift access a regular inclusion in new and recently built apartments.
Many come with undercover parking, again with lift access direct to apartments, making it a convenient option.
Apartments also offer low-maintenance living - with common gardens and facilities such as pools - maintained by management.
Location is another factor to consider when downsizing. For some, the option is to remain in their current neighbourhood or city - but in a smaller home - and this is attractive for those wanting to live near family.
Others may take the opportunity to make a sea-change or tree-change at this time.
Living out of the city can provide peace and quiet, however, it is important to consider whether your new location has the infrastructure for care in future years.
What stays and what goes in your downsizing move
Packing up a forever home and moving to your new downsizer property can be overwhelming. So it can pay to bring in the professionals, such as a professional organiser.
“A Professional Organiser is like a less emotional friend who has a lot of practice moving home,” says Jo Michael of All Sorted Out.
“I help clients understand that an oversized statue and every large piece of furniture from a sprawling home is not going to fit into a two bedroom apartment.”
If not calling in the professional organisers there are steps you can take yourself to effectively declutter and downsize according to Carmichael.
“Put aside and don’t bother to pack anything unwanted, unnecessary, underused and unloved, she says.
“Some things have served their purpose and we need to let go of them.”
What opportunities come with decluttering to downsize
There is no doubt that packing up a long-held family home can be like a trip down memory lane.
This can be both a joyful and at times difficult journey.
“While decluttering and deciding what to take and what to leave behind, I can guarantee you will also come across treasures unseen in years,” says Carmichael.
“Rediscovering these treasures will put a smile on your face.”
If you are struggling to then part with these objects, Carmichael has advice.
“Remember that some things have served their purpose, and have been used and loved adequately and if still good quality can be sold, donated or given away.
“It’s a chance for others to love them.”
What steps can you take to be settled and organised in your new home?
After taking steps to declutter and bring only what is necessary to your new abode you have given yourself a head start to quickly settle into your new home.
“After sorting and culling your contents, you’ll find the new household is easier to manage,” says Carmichael.
“You’ll actually know what you have and be able to find it more easily.”
If purchasing major furniture for your new home remember to measure your new interior in order to select pieces that work with the new dimensions.
Now is the time to go for quality in your home buys - a smaller space means less furniture is needed so there is the opportunity to go for the more expensive option. If you are renovating the kitchen or bathroom in your new home, again fixtures and finishes can be top-notch when you are buying less.
It is important to also utilise space for the way you live today.
“If you have a second or third bedroom, I highly recommend not filling it with a bed for guests, but rather utilise it as a home office or TV room,” says Carmicheal.
“A sofa bed could accommodate guests instead.”
She also suggests unloading boxes and finding a place for everything a priority.
“Make it easy to settle in by unpacking quickly and making a place for things.
“Put the keys, wallet, handbag and phone in one place handy to the front door or kitchen, so you remember where they are.
“Then get exploring the neighbourhood.”