D&Y Series: Make Room for Joy by Downsizing, A Step-by-Step Guide.
Part 1: Focus, Plan & Evaluate
Have you found yourself at a point where you’d like to downsize your household? Many situations can become the catalyst, whether it’s becoming an empty nester or you’re just tired of having “stuff” that you don’t use anymore. Or, maybe you have decided to downsize, but don’t know where to start.
At Décor&You, we are all about systems to simplify processes to make something real—especially those things that we do not do all the time. Rather than make it a dragged out affair, we like to put our energies into focusing, getting to work, and getting it done so that we can go on and do other things that we choose to do that are more enjoyable! Our Downsizing Series will do just that by breaking down the process into manageable pieces. Plus, we provide helpful worksheets to spur you into action.
Step 1: Focus.
We love Steven Covey’s # 2 habit from his book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, which is “Begin with the end in mind”. Having this visual of your end goal will keep you focused throughout the entire process.
Here’s where our first worksheet comes in handy. It walks you through defining your vision and asks you to consider your motivation and goals behind downsizing. Don’t overthink your answers; let the visual of your streamlined household guide you. Close your eyes, allow those visions to sink in and the answers will come easily.
Step 2: Plan.
After completing the focus checklist, moving on to the planning phase will be easy. In our planning step you will determine the specifics behind where you will be bringing your vision to life. Ask yourself these questions and compile a list of your requirements based on your answers.
1. Where do you want to relocate? Some downsizers like to stay in their local area while others prefer to move to different location to be closer to family, friends, warmer weather, etc.
2. What type of housing do you prefer? A small home? A condo? A gated community? A retirement community for 55 and older?
3. What size home do you need? List how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and other rooms you need and be specific.
4. Do you have any special requirements of your new community? Consider amenities you may want within walking distance such as a health care center, central eating options, activities and entertainment, pool, spa, fitness center.
5. What is your budget for your new home? What investment are you prepared to make? Are you going to purchase or rent?
Now you are ready to begin your research. Contact a local real estate professional for assistance and when you are ready visit the top 3 – 5 on your list to narrow your options and ultimately select your new home!
Step 3: Evaluate.
Once you’ve selected your new home, you are ready to evaluate your existing furnishings and belongings. To start, realistically plan out room arrangements to scale for your new space. What will fit that you already have and want to bring with you? The key here is have and want! If what you have does not fit, then don’t bring it. If it fits, but you no longer want it—don’t bring it.
The remainders are to be split into three piles: Donate, Retire, and Store.
1. Donate to family or other good sources. There are so many people in need of furnishings and other household items.
2. Retire it. Throw it out if it no longer works, has missing pieces, or is badly worn.
3. Store it. Be sure to only store treasures that have meaning to you or someone else in your family.
Next, take a look at your room arrangement plan. This is where our next worksheet comes into play. What’s missing? Create a list and this is what you use to shop with for your new home.
Starting with these first three steps is the most effective way to approach your downsizing adventure! Once you have this tackled, the rest is details and will move along nicely—but only IF you have done your work on the front end. A word of caution: if you do not invest the time in these first 3 steps, the rest can get complicated, messy, and produce a result you won’t be happy with.
Need a helping hand and objective opinion? Consider working with an professional who will ask the tough questions and provide unbiased guidance so that you truly end up with new space that you will love!