Thursday, 31 October 2013

Downsizing from the Family Home

As a household owner, you go through a cycle of home ownership. You initially start with rental as a student and even as you move on to owning your first home as a young professional. You may start as owning a studio type apartment or a one bedroom apartment, with just enough storage space for your simple needs. As you move along in your career and personal life, your home ownership needs become more sophisticated - you cohabitate with someone, sharing the living space with another person and, thus, saving some costs in the long-run. This cohabitation may result to starting a young family, investing in a bigger living space, with ample storage of personal belongings for at least three people. As the children mature, they may require more space as they would need a study room and a family room.

When the children reach adulthood, they leave for school and even venture out on their own. This leaves you with a huge space that only gets filled during holidays. That is the time that you and your partner are looking into downsizing your space for a smaller one, just having a provision for one guest room when the kids are home. Apart from that, you begin to look at reducing the space you have around you. This nesting period, then, kicks in.

With the increasing costs of real estate, more and more mature householders are looking at downsizing their home as a way to save money to fund their retirement. It is not only savings that they get from a smaller home, but also when it comes to mobility, accessibility and convenience of taking care of a smaller home. Although, the advantage for matured household owners is greater than the disadvantage it brings, there are some issues that, if not properly handled, could be costly for the homeowner. Moving into a smaller house could raise a  potential problem of what to do with all of the furniture and family memorabilia that has built up around the home over the years.

Kerri Rodley of Domestic Downsizing, a Queensland-based removalist service, advises mature householders who are planning to downsize to get their kids to clear out their own personal heirlooms and clutter. This will save the time and headache for the parents to coordinate of what to keep and what to dispose.

It is true that in most of the time, some parents are very sentimental when it comes to their kids items, but it is also a good idea to keep only a few of these. If there are items that they couldn't keep with lack of storage space, but are too valuable to throw, they could ask each child if they are willing to keep these to show to their children. While parents will want to keep some photos, they may not want every school yearbook and their children's old toys; thus, it is a good idea to go through these items and ask if the kids would want to keep these at their end. It is a reality that many retirees will be moving to a home about half the size of their current one.

Like what Rodley suggested, mature householders should pass on their heirlooms to children or grandchildren and put other items into storage, rather than clutter up their new home. This will help the matured homeowner to save on costs during the move, avoiding any costs of self storage for these, and only requiring a smaller new home. It is also important to remember that the downsizing process begins well before the removalists come and organisation is the key to a successful move. Children should be very much involved in this downswing process in order to avoid the risk of throwing away through oversight what is deemed valuable by the family.