The kids have finally moved out to start their own lives. You were longing for the day to come, but now the house feels empty, and for various reasons, you are considering downsizing.
Embarking on this new journey is a difficult one, but we have compiled a few tips that will help you settle as soon as you decide to downsize. Downsizing has more advantages than you might realize!
So, continue reading this article for our Top 10 Smart Downsizing Tips for Empty Nesters.
How do I know I'm an empty nester?
Well, not every parent moves to a smaller house after their kids move out. Some signs start developing before you feel the need to move out too.
No matter how much your kids irritated you, like when they "lost" the remote every time your favorite show was about to begin, you will definitely miss them.
The feeling of loneliness might not come immediately, and it might even take a few years. This feeling of loneliness is called the "empty nest syndrome."
Empty nest syndrome
This feeling is not clinical, although it might have psychological effects on the parents.
Every day, kids move out, making it normal activity. However, to the parents, this may make them feel accomplished and purposeless.
The parents will have to adjust to living their lives alone, which is most common for full-time mothers and single parents. This syndrome is significantly heightened by retirement, loss, or thinking a lot about the welfare of the kids.
Parents can find themselves less social and less willing to spend time with friends. This could be a result of the separation from their kids.
It is a parental obligation to wish the best for their kids. Parents may accomplish this by seeing their kids start their own lives, leaving them lonely afterward.
With loneliness comes sadness, and if not addressed, this could lead to more psychological problems.
Overcoming the empty nest syndrome
This feeling does not last long, depending on the parent and how they handled the situation. Most of the time, it may take almost two years to move from grief to relief to happiness.
Changing your atmosphere and getting rid of the empty spaces in your house is one of the biggest steps to take. You can also have pets or invite relatives and friends to visit often.
You can achieve the quickest transition to becoming independent by downsizing.
So, let's get into our 10 smart downsizing tips for empty nesters to get you settled in your new house quickly.
1. Plan your budget early
Planning your budget not only saves you money but also gives you a rough estimate of how much you will need to downsize.
You may find that you have fewer bills and less money spent daily than when your kids were still around. This is because the expenses on utilities are cut down significantly.
Keep in mind: that not all your expenses may go down, as some day-to-day activities require you to spend. It is advisable to start saving early enough to an amount above your budget.
Start looking for a house early, considering the cost and how much more or less you will spend on services. These include transport, utilities, groceries, and healthcare.
Also, being a parent is a never-ending job, so it's normal to expect your children to reach out for financial support while building their new homes. So, if you can, set aside some money for emergencies when you set out your budget.
2. Pay off your debts
Living alone can leave you with more money than usual. Use this money to clear off any debts.
Start with the high-interest loans and finish with the low-interest ones. This will help you budget comfortably before downsizing.
3. Start decluttering early
To avoid having too many moving trucks or boxes, you need to reduce the number of items you have.
You can do this in many ways.
Talk to your children first so that you don't end up donating your daughter's first prom dress. Have them identify the things, especially from their childhood, that they don't need.
Pack the items in boxes and give them off as donations.
This doesn't have to happen in your front yard, but you can put your items up for sale. Talk to your children about this too, so that you get rid of most of their unwanted belongings.
Selling the items not only declutters your house but also earns you some money to put into the moving and settling process.
2 for 1
This is a handy technique that helps you get rid of stuff quickly. It is simple.
When you bring home one item, donate or sell two things. So, the more you bring in new stuff, the more you throw out.
4. Consider building a new house
Downsizing doesn't limit you to buying or renting a smaller house. You can purchase land in an area that suits you and build a house of your design.
You can work with a construction firm to have them build you a house to your specifications. This is great and will especially help retired parents cope with loneliness by having an exciting activity to look up to.
Building a house may also engage parents with their kids as they help where they can. This will greatly help the psychological state of lonely parents.
5. Keep your friends and family close
Just because you are also starting a new chapter in your life does not mean you should cut off any friends or relatives. This will only add to the empty nest syndrome as you will not have anyone to visit or spend time with.
Through friends and family, you will get advice on the big decisions you plan to make, and you can also get financial aid if you need it.
6. Seek professional help
In some cases, your own decisions and advice from close family and friends aren't enough, so you should always seek professional help for trickier areas.
If you are planning to sell antiques, consult with professionals who may help you get a better price for them.
Talk to a lawyer for advice when reviewing your estate plan. You have the time to think about how you want your assets divided or catered for in the future.
7. Consider going through storage options
There are inevitably some items that you cannot let go of. These may have meaning, like your early parenthood or your children's childhoods.
To avoid hoarding all of these items, consider the different types of storage options available to you.
Choose a house with a store or spare room that you will use to put all these items. This makes it easy to access anything you feel would use a lot of space but is important.
It's also wise to buy or build a spacious garage for storage purposes. You can also do this regardless of whether you have a car or not; you might even get one in the future!
Ask your family or trusted friends to store some items for you. You may have heirlooms and other items that can only be kept at home, which is a safe option.
You can rent a storage unit where you'll be paying a small amount to store your bulky items. This option costs you, but you should go for it when all other options are unavailable.
8. Take your time when choosing your new location
There is no doubt that your new home will be your retirement home. If not, choose a place that won't require you to move in the future.
Think about your current location and what you like and hate about it. Choose a location that meets more positive elements than the negative things about your existing home.
The new location is inclusive of other factors apart from the house.
Depending on your daily routines or needs, these could be healthcare, shopping centers, sports, or social venues.
You need to be able to access these when you need them. It is also for your convenience and your comfort.
Always try to choose an environment that will make you happy. This can be anything from silence to a liking for active places.
If you'd like to go to the beach, or a park in your free time, move to a city. If you want silence or nature, you could go to the countryside.
It can be tough to leave your neighbors and the neighborhood that you've lived in for the better part of your life. This can be an excellent chance to make more friends and establish a new community.
You can move to a master-planned community that will satisfy all the locational requirements.
Your security is also important. Choose a location where you, your family, and your friends will feel comfortable, knowing that it is a safe place to stay.
9. Digitalize what you can
With advancements in technology, you could fit your entire photo albums on a portable flash disk or hard disk. You could digitalize your favorite pictures or papers to save on storage space.
As much as it could be a tedious process, you could get some help from your family or even some friends.
Don't forget to take photos of your old home! That would be giving all the memories you made there away.
10. Make use of your old house
If you own the house you live in, why not use it for a good purpose?
Many would ask why you are downsizing when you have your own house. The truth is, this is a process you will have to go through one way or another.
You could sell your house and use the money to improve your new home.
Alternatively, you could rent your house out to another family, which would be a win-win as you would still own the house (if you wanted to sell the house, then we would suggest setting up a rent to own agreement), and it would still be significant.
Conclusion on our 10 Smart Downsizing Tips for Empty Nesters:
The type and location of the house you want to move into are dependent on your planned activities. This primarily affects retired parents who can choose how to spend their retirement.
If you plan to start farming as a hobby, you will need a house with a garden or barn. The location of such places might be far from your current home, and you will need to plan early.
You can also decide to move into a quiet neighborhood where you get to play sports like tennis and golf.
For parents who are still working, think about where you can stay and close to your work. From here, you can plan your retirement and future activities.
The end goal is to plan ahead and think about what you want to do to keep yourself busy.