So, the children have grown and have begun their lives outside of the family ‘nest’ leaving it empty and a bit too spacious. As an ‘empty nester it’s only natural to start thinking about downsizing both your possessions and home. Whether you’re thinking about moving to a retirement village, smaller home, a unit in the city, cottage in the country or a bungalow by the beach, taking steps to downsize and move is just another exciting stage in life that is full of new possibilities.

8 Tips for Downsizing

Transitioning into life as an Empty Nester can be an emotional time. It can also be an exciting time. You’ve raised your children to adulthood and they now have the skills to look after themselves, which means it’s time for you to focus on creating the life you’ve always been planning.

Becoming an Empty Nester brings a change in routines and habits, and can also spark an urge for a change in your physical space. It is often a time for downsizing the family home and moving to a new location, or remodeling your existing home. But before you transform your child’s bedroom into a media room, it’s important to consider the following tips before you make the big transition, so your home is still comfortable for you, your family and your guests.

Reduce the clutter – Encourage the children to take as much with them as possible. The remainder should either be packed up and stored somewhere, or donated to those who will appreciate the toys and clothes etc. Be careful to be check if items are now collectibles, as they may be valuable. Sometimes older items have now become sort after, particularly if they are in original condition and in short supply.

Converting spare bedrooms – Before diving into a transformation of empty bedrooms in an office or media room, consider the likelihood of having future guests stay with you. While you may be excited at the thought of turning your child’s bedroom into your new yoga retreat, consider the likelihood of having guests come to stay. Your family and others may ask if they can stay when they come visit, so keeping at least one of the rooms as a bedroom might be wise. That certainly doesn’t mean you need to preserve the bedroom as it is. You can update it to better accommodate visiting guests with new linen, pillows and wall art to make a welcoming space.

What about the grandchildren? – It’s important to think about your family’s future before you update the house. If there is the possibility of grandchildren, it is wise to consider durable floor coverings and keeping the bath tub. However, this is your time now and it’s your home, so each decision is ultimately yours to make.

What are you passionate about doing? – We reached the fun part. After you have decided on your bedroom situation, you may have an unused room, like an unfinished downstairs area, or one too many bedrooms. You can get creative and infuse your hobbies into your home.  Whether it’s creating a yoga studio in the spare bedroom, or a woodworking room in the downstairs area, or an art studio in an unused dining area. Whatever your passion is, you now have the space to accommodate it in some way.

Remember being an empty nester allows you to reinvent, reinvigorate and take time for yourself. If you can reflect that attitude into your home, you’ll have the tools to face whatever the future holds for you and your family.

Costs – The first consideration is how much you can realistically sell your home for in the current market. Depending on the location, it may be less than the unit or smaller home you would like to move into. The second consideration is the hidden costs. There are the relocation costs of moving, but also take into account that relocating to a smaller home might also require buying new furniture and smaller appliances. The final consideration are the recurring costs of body corporate fees, security deposits, storage unit fees, transportation and the cost of living in a different location.

Location – Whether you’re moving within the same suburb, across town or to another state, it’s important to think carefully about your family and social life. As a mature adult, it is an important aspect of your wellbeing to have an active social life. If your new home is not close to family and friends, you will need to factor in the availability and cost of travel. Depending on the frequency and how you’d like to maintain your relationships, you need to plan with your social circle in mind.

New Lifestyle – Downsizing your home can also mean a change of lifestyle. Will your new home require a major change in the way you conduct your daily life and the way you spend your time?

Remember to consider the basics like transportation and grocery shopping and access to services like healthcare, libraries, community groups and hobbies etc.

Timeframe – The last and probably most difficult to predict is your future needs. How long are you looking to live in your new home? If your plan to live in your new home for a long period of time or permanently, it will need to be equipped for comfortable living as you grow older. Take into account items like stairs, yard maintenance, lack of public transport and nearby health facilities.

Now that you have a list of the essentials, you can have fun researching to downsize your life and plan for your future.