THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DOWNSIZING

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DOWNSIZING

Why Downsize?

There are multiple reasons why downsizing is a good option for families. One reason is to help aid in a financial situation. High mortgages, and utilities may be enough reason for a family to move into a smaller home.

Empty nesters are also people who commonly downsize. They no longer need the additional bedrooms and square footage, so they opt for a home that fits their new size.

Living a simpler lifestyle is another reason people choose to downsize. Families will narrow down their possessions to just the basic things they need and find a smaller home to live in. Tip: Smaller homes are easier to keep clean!

Does it save money?

In some ways downsizing will save money. Mortgage, utilities, taxes, and any miscellaneous maintenance costs are bills that will go down. However, you may also incur a few costs if you need to redecorate your smaller home with smaller furniture.

Ideally you will be getting rid of many things in the process but some things you may want to keep that just won’t fit in your new home. In this case you may end up paying self-storage fees. If you move from a home into a condo or apartment you may also incur HOA fees.

When is the best time of year to downsize?

There really isn’t one particular time of year that is best to downsize because it is relative to each person’s situation. If you are going through financial difficulties, then there is no better time than the current time to move.

Don’t delay the move if you are going to be saving a great deal of money. If you decide to downsize in nicer seasons of the year, you have the advantage of the nice weather for yard sales to offload your excess possessions.

What places in a house can I cut down on in size?

After making the decision to downsize, naturally the next step is to figure out what parts of a house you are looking to cut out. If you have less people living in the home, you will need fewer and smaller bathrooms and bedrooms.

If you are headed into retirement and want to spend more time relaxing, you may want to opt for a home with a smaller yard to maintain.

If you are looking to simplify, perhaps purchasing a home with smaller rooms may suit your needs. Smaller rooms require less furniture and simplify things a bit.

With a smaller bathroom comes the need to make it feel as large as possible. Check out my tips for making a small bathroom look larger!

Is downsizing stressful?

Downsizing can be stressful simply because you will be parting ways with many different items from furniture to knick-knack’s. Some of these items may have memories behind them and saying “good-bye” can seem hard.

Related: How to Emotionally Prepare to Sell Your Home – Ferris Property Group

Downsizing isn’t just about buying a smaller home, it is also a change of lifestyle and emotions will be up and down through the process. Enlist a friend or family member to help you. They can be a great help in making hard decisions.

Give yourself plenty of time to weigh the pros and cons before beginning your house hunting. Creating a plan will also help in the process of eliminating excess things and packing the most important things.

What do I do with all my stuff?

As mentioned above, planning your downsize as early as possible gives you time to take part in the big purge. Once you have gone through each room of your home and set aside all the possessions that are no longer needed, you have to figure out what to do with them.

Having a large yard sale or finding a consignment shop to sell your items will help you earn some extra cash. If you do not have the time, donate the items to local shelters or thrift stores. Some charities such as Purple Heart, will actually pick up your unwanted items for you right at your home.

If you are tech and web savvy, you can sell your possessions online as well. Tip: Animal shelters are often in need of old towels, blankets or sheets!

 

By Teresa Cowart

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SMALL BACKYARD

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SMALL BACKYARD

Small backyards can sometimes seem limiting in terms of what you can add to them. Don’t be deterred though, as there is a plethora of ways to decorate it. Small backyards have many landscaping options to make them beautiful and open. Here are some ideas to help.

1. Install a deck.

Adding a deck is a quick, efficient and natural way to add onto a small backyard. It will also cost less than the national average if you have a small backyard. They are also good for adding two levels, which can be good if you want to have one for dining and another for plants. It’s also a way to separate the yard from another type of space without taking up a lot of room. Pro tip: deck boards should be laid diagonally, not straight to optimize yard square footage.

2. Hang potted plants and boxed gardens.

If you want to save more ground space in the yard and still enjoy many flowers and shrubs, you can optimize the walls, roofs and windows of your home. By installing wooden shelves or hooks, you can hang flower boxes or potted plants. This will leave plenty of room in your garden for trees, a dining space, water features or other installations that might have been more difficult to fit in otherwise.


Hanging plants Photo courtesy of Stuber Land Design, Inc.3. Use smaller furniture.

If you aren’t planning to hold huge parties in the backyard, then you should buy smaller furniture. Instead of couches, buy loveseats and chairs and rather than a long rectangular chair, you might consider a circular table. By having smaller furniture on your deck, patio or in the backyard, there will be more space available for movement and other decor. You might also consider having an awning over the furniture, whether it’s a simple fabric awning or an extension of your roof, so you can enjoy the furniture during inclement weather.


Small furniture Photo courtesy of Saunders Designs4. Keep it simple and clean.

While you’re limited in square footage, this does not mean you should try and fit every single flower, shrub and tree you can. Otherwise there will be overgrowth, and maintenance will be difficult. Instead, you should keep the landscape design simple. Focus on the essentials of the backyard: grass, some shrubs and flowers artfully placed throughout. You can organize it better by installing flower beds and potted plants for easier management.


Clean yard Photo courtesy of Able Landscaping5. Go bold on the color scheme.

Although you have to be simple with what investments you make in the landscape, you can still be bold with the colors. Reds, blues, purples, oranges, yellows–the color scheme is endless. You want your small backyard to jump out to visitors and you when walking out the back door. By having a rainbow of colors, the small backyard will look and feel like a heavenly garden even if it’s not the biggest one in the neighborhood.


Colors Photo courtesy of Design Green Landscapes6. Erect fencing that’s visual rather than private.

If you want to make your small backyard feel bigger without the square footage, then install a fence that’s not private. Choose a design that’s visual like lattice, picket or chain link with sunlight showing through to accent the yard. You might also consider materials like wood or vinyl to add onto the natural appearance of the small yard. Local fencing contractors will be able to recommend the best materials and height for your needs.


Fencing Photo courtesy of Nova Landscape, Inc.

Written by Andrea Davis