At some point in our lives, we all have to downsize our living arrangements. In our younger years, it might not have even been something we chose to do. Job promotions, for example, may come with a price.
Just thinking about moving to a metro area anywhere on the East or West coasts is a total shock in many ways. People don’t stay around any longer than they have to (perhaps to earn an advanced degree), when paying $1,700 – $2,600/month for so little space in the Los Angeles area. They might only have something between 900 and 1,100 sq. feet to call home.
You can find the even more exorbitant San Francisco/Silicon Valley rentals on the Internet if you have the stomach to look. And Seattle and New York are no better.
(Of course, in our younger years, we’re often dealing with the opposite – trying to afford a larger pad for our growing family in hopes the kids will stop fighting when they have their own space.)
As we get older, the end-result of downsizing is usually attractive! Ideally, a smaller place is a lot less work and costs a lot less money for that maintenance. As long as we still see a future with some independence in it, we’ll have more time and can use our limited energy for more worthwhile activities that might even include fun for a change!
Mental Images for Downsizing
Most of the time downsizing to the popular mind means Mom and Dad getting rid of 40 to 50 years of possessions to move into assisted living that might measure 400 to 600 sq. feet. Not always a happy prospect but sometimes needed. But it doesn’t have to be just that scenario. They may want to move! They may want progressive living where at first they’re completely independent and just enjoy having someone else cook their main meal of the day or breakfast, too. They’re ready to be waited on, even if they have to pay for it.
Some parents start downsizing as soon as the last child nears graduation from college. Any number of reasons prompt this but the following are popular:
- Mom and Dad are now close to broke and can’t afford to stay where they are.
- Mom and Dad are ready to start working on the rest of their bucket list.
- Mom and Dad don’t want the kids moving back home. They’ve done their job.
Downsizing Causes Pain
The work of downsizing is considerable and causes pain. Yet the hardest part isn’t the work. It’s the decisions! We can waffle for months, even years. Shall we keep these boxes of photo albums or the sports trophies? Why? What if the kids finally decide they do want them? There’s no point paying for storage units, so it may become a case of Tough patooties! You couldn’t be bothered when we offered that stuff to you.
Another tough decision is moving where the kids (or long-time friends) are now living. What if we relocate and then they move somewhere else 18 months later? It has happened many times, perhaps thousands of times to different people. So what other attractions are in that location?
Some people find it soothing to take digital photos of the stuff they’re giving to charity or selling. That can often preserve the memories of why once-cherished items were so important once upon a time.
We often welcome help when it comes to the backbreaking job of packing because none of us are as young or healthy as we once were. We usually can’t use the help of well-meaning friends when it comes to deciding what to keep, what to chuck out, or what to donate. They’re probably tired of us using them as a sounding board about it anyway.
However, there are newer companies out there who specialize in managing senior moving. (They don’t actually move people.) They may or may not be expensive from your point of view. One of them is the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM). I can’t actually recommend them as I haven’t used their services. They’re listed for your information.
Other helpful links:
The end-result of downsizing is usually attractive! Ideally, a smaller place is a lot less work and costs a lot less money for that maintenance! And hopefully, we get to choose a better climate, whatever that means to us.