Downsizing for seniors may be a difficult subject to broach, but it’s important that you consider these points before you make a decision. As you enter later phases of your life, you may want to focus on leisurely activities rather than home maintenance. Choosing a smaller space at a senior living community gives you the opportunity to downsize your home and grow your social circle.
To get you started, we’ve outlined the perks of downsizing, how to make the most of your smaller space, tips for selling your current home and the benefits of moving into a senior living community. Plus, we’ve included a self-evaluation checklist to see if you’re ready for downsizing.
Benefits of Downsizing
For seniors, downsizing may feel like an uncomfortable change. You may have lived in your home for decades, and you may be hesitant to lose the memories you’ve made there. It can be difficult to take the plunge, but there are actually several benefits that make the transition worth it. We’ve compiled a list of the key perks:
1. Your monthly bills may be much lower.
Think about how much money you spend on your home or large apartment. Now imagine all the other ways you could use that money! Smaller homes tend to be much cheaper to heat and cool, and may be environmentally friendly. If you want to know specifically how much money you could save, contact your local home energy provider. They can give you an audit of your usage and a savings estimate.
Funds normally budgeted for your mortgage, utilities and property insurance could instead be used for day trips, eating out at new places, planning activities for your family or paying off debt!
2. You won’t have to worry about as much upkeep.
Why spend hours cleaning your large home and furnishing huge spaces when you can minimize your efforts? Moving into a smaller apartment can reduce your daily chores, so you can spend more time doing the activities you love! Plus, you won’t have to spend the time and resources maintaining a yard; instead, take advantage of community gardens and parks that are maintained by the staff.
3. You may have more money to spend on activities.
Americans spend twice as much on housing than on anything else. In fact, housing expenses add up to about 34% of take-home pay! For seniors, downsizing can save thousands on home payments, freeing up money for savings or for activities and travel.
Smaller spaces also give you more incentive to get outside or interact with others in your community. You want your home to be comfortable, but you don’t want it to be the only place you spend your time.
4. You can start a new chapter.
Moving into a smaller home or apartment is a great way to start a new chapter in your life. Changing up your environment can reshuffle your priorities, giving you the chance to explore new passions. Plus, you have a chance to clear out the clutter in your life. Get rid of the furniture and decorations that you rarely use and invest in new furniture to fit your new space. See if the new setting inspires an interest in other hobbies or a renewed sense of freedom.
5. You can build your relationships.
If you move into a smaller apartment at a senior living community, you’ll have plenty of shared common areas to mix and mingle with others who have common interests. Since smaller apartments funnel residents into shared community spaces, this gives you an opportunity to build relationships with your neighbors. Spreading out into separate corners of a large house can make residents feel isolated; Downsizing is the solution!
Apartment living: Is it right for my lifestyle?
Use our self-evaluation checklist to see if you’re ready for downsizing:
- Are there rooms in your home that you rarely enter?
- Do you feel bogged down by mortgage and utility payments?
- Do you have too much stuff and want to reduce?
- Do you not have enough energy for upkeep like mowing, cleaning and repairs?
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, it’s time to downsize!
How to Prep for Downsizing
Moving from a larger home to an apartment can be a big change, which is why we’ve outlined tips to make the process as seamless as possible.
The trick with downsizing is to differentiate between what you need and what you’re used to. You may be used to having three living rooms, but that doesn’t mean you need three family rooms. You’d be surprised by how many rooms you have in your home that you never use.
Calculating Square Footage
First, you’ll want to take inventory of the rooms you’re not using. Think of it this way: If you visit the room no more than once a month, you probably won’t miss that room in your new living space. Add up the ‘unused room’ square footage, then subtract that number from your total home square footage. Use this number as a reference point when you’re looking at smaller homes or apartments.
Create a list of rooms you can’t live without. Keep in mind that something like a sunroom can easily be replaced by a community sunroom offered at a senior living community. Shared spaces encourage you to be social, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning them. Typically, senior living communities will have fitness centers, game rooms and other spaces that might be on your must-have list. Downsizing for seniors is all about identifying the amenities you can’t live without and going from there.
When moving into a smaller living space, you may need to sell some furniture or knickknacks. While storage units are an option, here are other suggestions that can benefit you and others:
- Give your furniture to family members.
- Have a yard sale.
- Take your used items to consignment shops.
- Hire a local auction or estate planner to sell unwanted items.
- Sell your items on Craigslist or eBay.
- If you want to reduce paper documents, you can scan them in and put them on the computer.
How to Make Your Home Market-Ready
One of the trickiest parts about downsizing for seniors is selling your home. You’ve created memories in your home that will stay with you no matter where you’re living; it takes time to come to terms with that. But it helps to remember the good times and memories spent in your home won’t go away when you move out.
Besides accepting the emotions behind a move, you’ll also need to strategize how you’re going to make the transition as seamless as possible. You’ll want to sell your house quickly to ensure the process isn’t drawn out. While this may seem daunting, we’ve outlined a few tricks that will help your larger home fly off the market.
- Remove stuff from your closets to make them appear more spacious. Buyers are always looking for homes with plenty of storage space, and you don’t want it to look like you’re having to cram items to get everything to fit.
- Lighting is everything. Make the most of your natural lighting by pulling back the drapes and cleaning the windows. Bump up the light bulb wattage and make sure none of your bulbs are burned out.
- Find the right real estate agent. Choose someone who’s going to keep up with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and scout out the competition in your neighborhood.
- Keep your pets out of sight. Put pet beds, bowls and food in pantries to give your home a tidier appearance. Take care of litter boxes too, so potential buyers aren’t getting a funny smell as they’re touring your home.
- Make only quick fixes. You don’t want to invest too much money in upgrades prior to selling. Quick fixes, like repainting walls, never hurt. Go through your home and make sure your curtains are clean, faucets aren’t leaky and furniture is dusted.
- Hide personal items. Remove family photos and other personal items that might hinder a potential buyer from imagining themselves living there. You may want to hire a home stager to spruce up your house prior to showing.
How to Make the Most of Your Space
Now that you’ve made the move, congratulations! The hard part is over, but you may be worried about not having enough room to display your furniture or feeling cramped in a smaller space. Here are tips to optimize space your cozy new apartment:
- Be sure the kitchen is open and bright.
- Invest in plenty of lighting.
- Make use of built-in storage space, like closets and kitchen cabinets.
- If you want to host an event at your new senior living community, use dining areas that you can reserve for special occasions.
You can also check out these small apartment decorating ideas to make the most of your new space!
Benefits of Moving to a Senior Living Community
When you move into a smaller apartment at a senior living community, your life becomes worry-free. You’re able to access community conveniences without the hassle of constant cleaning and cooking. Maintenance is a worry of the past, and you can dedicate your time to building relationships with family and friends, exploring new hobbies and enjoying the things you love. Our senior living community distinguishes itself with our neighborly culture, scenic campus and proximity to downtown Greenville.
At Rolling Green Village, we offer a variety floor plans that can accommodate your layout preference.
Independent living gives you the chance to build friendships and live worry-free. Our one-bedroom apartments bring financial freedom and simple living to that worry-free life. Explore some of the most popular senior apartments in Greenville to see if there’s a match for you!