Retirement should be exciting. After years of putting in your time, building your career, and making something to be proud of, you get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. However, seniors retiring today have a lot more on their plates than they probably anticipated. With the COVID-19 crisis causing dramatic changes all across the country, parts of retirement you may have taken for granted are suddenly a lot more complicated.
For example, many seniors want to downsize when they retire. Paying for a large house in a great school district makes a lot less sense when there are no kids to fill up the rooms or learn from the teachers. Plus, retirement gives you a chance to start fresh. Moving into a new space without all the excess stuff you’ve accumulated over the years means you get to redefine your day-to-day experience. However, downsizing in the current climate requires careful planning and a touch of creativity. Here are some tips you can use to manage it safely.
Evaluate Your Current Space
Efficiency is an absolute must right now, so start by making a plan. Take some time to evaluate your current space. How many rooms do you actually use? Don’t count all that dusty storage; ideally, you’ll be getting rid of anything you haven’t touched in years. So, spend a week or two being mindful of how much space you use on a daily basis. Use this to get an idea of how much square footage you need in your next home.
You should also consider where you’d like to live next. Do you want to find a smaller place in your current neighbourhood? Is there a part of town that might be a better fit as a retired person? What about another part of the country? Many seniors living in northern states decide to move somewhere warmer as they get older. Is it time to dive into some beachside living?
Even if you assume it won’t be right for you, you should also consider looking into the retirement communities in your area. You might be surprised by what you find — retirement communities are a great option for social seniors looking to be surrounded by peers. They often have all sorts of amenities, shared spaces, and events you can attend. You might check it out and still decide against it, but don’t write it off without checking it out; it might just be what you’re looking for.
Go Through Your Things
Once you have a vision for your next home, you can springboard off that to start cutting down on stuff. Go through all of your things and honestly ask yourself if you used it. Don’t keep duplicates of items, and avoid holding on to things you don’t really need (and if it’s in a box you haven’t opened in years, you don’t need it.) If you’re feeling especially bold, you can even save yourself the ble by simply setting the dustiest boxes aside without even looking through them.
One exception to this: sentimental items. Family heirlooms, photographs, and other emotional items have value even if they’re not technically functional. However, if you’re going to bring them with you to your next home, try to figure out a way to do something with them other than store them away. For example, you can display family heirlooms in a nice cabinet, or create a photo album or scrapbook so you actually enjoy those photos.
Once you’ve decided what to get rid of, you need to figure out how to actually get rid of it. Start by setting aside anything you can sell or donate. You can sell items online, but be sure to follow safe social distancing guidelines if you meet up to sell in person. Be sure to wear a mask and ask buyers to do the same. If you want to donate, reach out to local organizations and see if they’re accepting items. You may need to store those items until lockdown has been lifted: Many shops simply don’t have the manpower to sort through donations right now.
Downsizing isn’t simple right now, but it’s still a powerful way to embrace this stage of life. Find ways to let go of the excess, embrace the useful, and create a vision for your golden years. You’ll be thankful when you’re living the retirement you’ve imagined.
Article provided by Mike Longsdon from Elder Freedom