Forty-six percent of baby boomers who sold homes in 2017 were in the process of downsizing. Having an abundance of belongings can be a burden as you transition into your retirement years. Not only does it crowd your living space, it can make retrieving desired objects challenging. The fact is that during working years, you may have needed more stuff than you do in the coming years. You may have accumulated things over time for one reason or another that you simply no longer have use for. As you move to the next chapter in your life, you may want to re-evaluate your “stuff” to see what you want to bring along. Sorting through full closets can take a good amount of energy. Deciding what to keep and what to part with only gets harder the longer you hold on to things. Downsizing from a large living space to a smaller one should be done early in the retirement years. You’ll save more money and more likely have the physical ability to move. If you’re going to make moves to simplify your life, today is the day to let go of the baggage that holds you back.

Benefits of Downsizing Before Retiring

While there are some things you have that you need, there are many items in your home that you don’t. In the same manner, a large home was great for entertaining in your 30s or 40s, but a lot to clean and maintain in your sixties. Downsizing can greatly improve a person’s retirement years for several reasons. First, you can save money on current monthly expenses. Second, you can free up valuable time that would otherwise be spent cleaning or performing maintenance work on a large home. Third, you can profit from the sale of odds and ends that are no longer desirable to keep. Downsizing can help you reach goals and simplify your life.

  • Save Money: When making a downsizing retirement decision, you will want to look at total home ownership costs. Home prices are soaring, and downsizing is a more affordable financial decision.
  • Reduce Hassle of Maintenance: You don’t want to put your retirement savings towards the unnecessary maintenance of a larger home. Downsizing reduces the hassle of upkeep.
  • Reduce Excess “Stuff:” Selling and moving out of your family home may be emotionally tough. However, less space means less stuff.

How to Make and Save Money by Downsizing the Home

When you retire, you will be living on your retirement income and social security, so it’s essential to know how to save money, especially when it comes to downsizing. Decreasing the size of your home or property to less square footage can provide several benefits for retirees. A smaller home with equal efficiency can result in lower utility bills. You also save money on annual property taxes and homeowner’s insurance when the value of your home is lower. Other key perks to living in a smaller space include fewer maintenance issues and less yard to maintain. The money from a real estate sale can boost your savings as well. When making the move, there are some things to consider. The size of your new bedroom, for instance. You’ll want to make sure to measure the dimensions of your furniture to make sure it will fit in the new living space. Many people will change from a larger king size bed to a split queen adjustable bed. A bed like this has smaller proportions and is also capable of moving through smaller halls and doorways with ease. Before you move also consider the cost of living in your new area and the distance your new home is from loved ones.

Simplify Leisure Time with Fewer Maintenance Issues and Upkeep

As you adapt to your new life of unemployment, you may find yourself with time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Yardwork and cleaning are probably not on that list. When you move to a smaller home you can save valuable time on these unpleasant tasks. Time isn’t all you will save. Think about all the money you could save on maintenance. Downgrading to a home with a single bathroom, for example, may lead to fewer plumbing calls. A smaller lawn means a lower cost for mowing and other landscaping expenses. Keep in mind that you may be capable of doing many tasks yourself at this point but as you age you may not want to. This will give you the free time to choose how you want to stay busy in your golden years.

Other Ways Retirees Can Save Money by Cutting Out Excess

A 2018 survey indicated that up to 75% of retirees would like to stay in their current homes as long as possible. Even if you don’t downsize your home, there are some ways to downsize your expenses. Eliminate unnecessary bills. Perhaps when you were working, an Internet connection at home was vital. Now, if you need to access the Internet you can visit the library or have a cup of coffee at a coffee shop with Wi-Fi. This might be a monthly expense you can get rid of. If you do keep the Internet, consider shutting off cable television. It can be expensive, and there are many cheaper options for streaming movies and television shows. Landlines are a thing of the past and if you have a cellular phone, there is probably no reason to keep paying for a landline.

  • Cancel services you no longer need.
  • Call service companies and re-negotiate interest rates.
  • Ask for a senior discount on monthly bills such as garbage and phone service.

Transportation Downsizing after Retirement

When a couple is retired there are very little reasons to own two separate vehicles. Selling one and sharing the other can save a considerable amount of dough. Insurance, taxes and repair costs add to the regular maintenance costs of a vehicle. Pro tip: Keep the car that has the best gas mileage. Then, whenever possible, enjoy a walk or bike ride instead of a drive. Regular exercise is important for long-term health, plus this way you save money that would otherwise be spent on gas.

Ways to Maximize Space and Declutter

Say goodbye to the days of overwhelming closets and cupboards when you say goodbye to unused stuff. Disposing of your junk can be profitable. You can have a garage sale or sell larger items online to make extra money. You can even donate your unwanted things to a secondhand store or one of the numerous nonprofits for a tax write-off. Ask yourself a few questions to decide what to keep and what should go.

Can I Borrow This?

If the answer is yes, it may be time to free up the space this object is taking up. It is not always necessary to own. There is no reason to hold on to tools and books that can easily be borrowed.

Do I Still Have Use for This?

Downsizing your home may have terminated the usefulness of some stuff. For example, if you have garden tools but no garden to maintain, they can probably go.

When Was the Last Time I Used This?

Chances are, if you haven’t used an article of clothing or a kitchen device in several years, you won’t need it tomorrow. A good rule of thumb is to place a six-month expiration on stored items, unless it is a seasonal items.

Supporting Retirees in Downsizing

At Amada Senior Care, the well-being of our senior clients is very important. We are here to support them and their family members during this transitional period of decluttering. To learn more about our care needs services, contact us today to learn more.


“Downsizing for Retirement: Benefits and Simple Tips” written by Jesse Crow, owner of Rest Right Mattress.