Empty Nesters – Top Tips for Downsizing

16 February 2018

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“illustrationEmpty Nesters – Top Tips for Downsizing 

The inevitable has happened. The noisy, haphazard, loving chaos that once filled your home has turned into something else… it’s peaceful. Children flying the nest is a whole mixed bag of emotions. After a couple of decades of not having a second’s peace, you’re suddenly presented with a whole lot of time and space to yourself.

This is when you realise it’s completely possible to feel relief and loss at the same time, right? Now, you may have made the decision that the house is simply too big without the children and it’s time to downsize but it’s vital that you follow these tips to make sure you downsize in the right way.

1. Don’t be Led by Your Emotions

Let’s face it, life is going to be different without a full house. The change can be tough and can dredge up a whole host of emotions that you didn’t know you were feeling.

The danger here is that high emotions can mean rash decisions.This is the time to be fully rational about where you want to be – upping sticks and buying a beach house on the Italian coast might not look like such a good idea when your emotions have levelled out. Your children have been your anchor for many years, so don’t let your rational self fly away onto a deserted island without knowing it’s exactly what you need in the cold light of day.

2. Plan Your Furniture Layout

So, when you’ve found your new ‘smaller’ home, get out the measuring tape, draw a floor plan and really get down to the detail of what furniture to take with you. What’s actually going to fit? There’s no point dragging your grand piano with you if it won’t fit into your new place.

Consider the size of each individual room, as well as the location of doors, windows, alcoves and fireplaces. Try and be as realistic as possible. You’ll be grateful that you didn’t spend a fortune on getting removal men to bring the bigger van when it’s not completely necessary. Here’s a handy article from Apartment Therapy to help you visualise your room layout.

3. Declutter your Home

This is a big job. Dealing with the amount of stuff you’ve accumulated over the years can be a daunting prospect. But the earlier you start doing it, the less stressful it will be in the long-run. You’ll come across the more mundane tasks such as old, irrelevant paperwork, but you’ll also come face to face with more sentimental items such as pieces that belonged to loved ones who have passed, or old photos.

The trick here is to strike the right balance between not being gung-ho and throwing everything out, and not hoarding. You’re simply not going to have the space after downsizing, so you need to judge it correctly. This article from Nourishing Minimalism will help you declutter the right way.

4. Make Use of Storage Space

It’s probably not realistic to think that you’re going to magically dispose of all unnecessary lamps, paperwork, paintings and furniture by the time you move. For one thing, it can be tricky when you feel an emotional tie. The trick? Maximise on storage space in your new place. Think ottomans that open up, wall-mounted shelving and under-bed storage options. If you have a garage, that’s also a massive plus-point.

Remember, your new place has to match your new lifestyle. What used to work before your children flew the coop isn’t necessarily going to suit now. If you’ve retired, you might decide to work on that novel you’ve always wanted to write. Or maybe it’s time to fulfill your travelling bug. Just make sure that your base is perfect for your current needs, not your old ones. Think of downsizing as upgrading other areas of your life (with possibly less cleaning).The time is yours to seize!

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