These walls used to echo, you think to yourself, with the sounds of loud, laughing children, running and playing. That BAM bam bam as they ran up the stairs, in spite of the hundred times you told them, “NO running on the stairs.” The CLANK clank clank of the washing machine when it was filled to the brim with clothes —every day nearly. The sliding chairs as they scraped across wood floors. These were the loud, brash, and oh so comforting sounds of a full house, filled with love and an active family living life to the fullest.
But as time passes, it’s a natural part of life for children to grow up and move on to lives of their own— in a new house that they’ll fill with love just as you did when they were kids.
Life is a journey, and while these natural changes are just a wonderful part of that journey, it’s still sometimes hard to face that a bustling big house may have served its purpose, and it now may be time to downsize.
What is Downsizing?
If you’re reading this blog then you’re probably already thinking about downsizing in some way. And downsizing can mean many different things to different people. It could mean moving out of your big empty nest and moving into a smaller house or condo. Or it could mean a move to assisted living, where the daily chores of cooking, cleaning, and laundry are all taken care of for you. Essentially, downsizing is, in its most literal sense, a reduction. Downsizing is about making life easier, bringing things down to a scale that fits your current lifestyle, which can help lower bills dramatically, bring more joy into your life, and probably put more money into your savings or investment accounts to save for your future, or your children’s futures, or… to splurge on yourself when you book that cruise around the world! (After all, it’s your money… you earned it!) But the bottom line is simply this: downsizing saves money and in most cases allows people to live happier lives. And who doesn’t like saving money and being happy? Right?
The Facts of Downsizing
Big House / Big Bucks!
The costs for upkeep and maintenance on a big house are high, and getting higher all the time, especially in recent years since the pandemic and other factors have pushed inflation to jaw-dropping levels not seen since way back when Ronald Regan was president, to the days when Marty McFly was trying to get BACK to the FUTURE, and when the world was grooving to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It’s been a while, indeed.
But while the times have changed, inflation seems to be here to stay for the foreseeable future, and that means high costs for upkeep and maintenance.
Let’s start with the obvious: heating, air conditioning, and electric bills
… while once easily justified when the house was full of people, are now an unnecessary cost. You’re pushing hot air through the winter and cold air through the summer into rooms and spaces that you don’t even use, essentially, it’s like, literally throwing money out the window. And you can’t tell your HVAC system to only heat and cool this room or that, nope, you’re paying the big-house whole bill. And if you’re on an electric-powered system there’s a big cost for driving all that air. If you’re on a gas system… natural gas isn’t going down in price either.
Also, many people falsely think that you can cover a vent or two in empty rooms you never use to save money. This is not only inaccurate but covering those vents can actually cost you more
money. Closing vents makes your HVAC system work harder, puts more pressure on the system and that can cause leaks that lead to higher bills or damage to your HVAC which could mean a big repair bill. Closing vents does not save you any money, so the best way to combat high heating and air conditioning bills is to downsize.
Then there’s all those repairs!
A big house has lots of systems, water flow, electric, etc. You know, because you’ve likely done some of those repairs yourself in your younger years. And as a house ages, you also know, that things break. Recurring or new home repair problems were costly when you were in your prime earning years, and sad to say, while many things are not consistent in life — home repair costs are Consistently high. From the leaks to the constant painting, to the roof damage from the windstorm, the costs never end, that is, unless you downsize.
Downsizing solves the high repair cost problem for your big empty nest. In fact, it eliminates it altogether when you move to assisted living because one monthly fee covers all your needs and the maintenance and upkeep of your well-designed, contemporary apartment. You won’t be paying a roofer, a plumber, or an electrician to come over and fix something that’ll wipe out a quarter of your savings, nope. Those days are over. Hallelujah.
Time Is MORE Important Than Money
And next to last on our list, but certainly not least, is the cost of time
— your time. Now we don’t want to dwell on it, but we all must face the fact that if we’re in our 50s, 60s, 70s or older, there’s likely more time behind us than in front of us. This is just a fact of life. Therefore, it’s so important to make the best choices we can in regard to how we spend our time. Would you rather be managing a roof repair job, interviewing contractors and receiving bids, or would you rather be having dinner with your friends, taking a nature walk or big hike, or spending the day with your hobbies? Chances are you’d rather be out enjoying
your life with friends and family, taking in those special moments and filling your days with joy, not contractor estimates. Downsizing solves this problem and more.
When you downsize you put YOUR life back where it’s supposed to be… as the primary focus of your day. You’ve worked hard your whole life and you’ve earned the right to spend every day enjoying life. And with assisted living options at such affordable costs as compared to the upkeep of a big house or even a small one, downsizing and moving to a great community like 81 Oaks Senior Living is probably, literally, just what the doctor ordered.
Downsizing Upsizes Happiness!
Finally, downsizing your life leads to upsizing your happiness.
Many people who take the initiative and downsize, moving to smaller, more manageable spaces that cost less and take less of your valuable time for upkeep, find that their lives are happier.
When you move into 81 Oaks, or a similar senior living option, you have each day to champion what’s most important in life — living free, happily, and thriving! Countless medical studies have found that isolation can lead to depression, which can lead to other medical problems if left unchecked. Science has proven that fellowship with friends and family is one of the most important things anyone can do to benefit their health, and at 81 Oaks your opportunities to meet new friends whom you’ll bond with are endless. There’s so much going on every day, from events to classes to sponsored trips to the daily chef-prepared meals, you and your new friends will have so many options. Yes, downsizing is good!
Getting Started: The Easier-than-you-think Steps to Downsizing
We understand, through the stories shared with us by residents, that the first step of downsizing — the letting go — can be emotional. You’ve built a great life in your family home, and it’s hard to pack up and move. But the memories are not in the walls of a home, they’re in your heart, and that’s where they’ll stay forever.
After you make the decision to downsize, you’ll likely want to talk with someone close to you, son or daughter, about what to keep and what to sell, and other important house decisions. Moving can be a great time to bring joy to other people’s lives as well, because the things you decide to sell could also be things you give to charity, and a struggling family will receive great joy from items you may no longer need. Giving isn’t just for the holidays; it’s a warmth that we can share year-round.
These days there are professional downsizers and Senior Move Managers that help ease the stress of downsizing by helping with packing, moving, and even estate sales. Community team members can help connect you with resources.
But in whatever manner you choose to handle your affairs in regard to moving, it’s important to focus your energy on the positive changes that are on the horizon. You’re downsizing for financial savings, for happiness, and most importantly for your health! Yes, downsizing is good.