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Tips to help prepare for downsizing to a retirement property

Published: 02 August 2017

Tips to help you prepare for downsizing to a smaller home or retirement property

RetirementMove Guest Post
by Kat Quinzel of Vintage Cash Cow


Being closer to your family, job or even the supermarket are common reasons to downsize. You may also consider it if maintenance or upkeep of your property is starting to become unmanageable. Kat Quinzel of Vintage Cash Cow is highly experienced with helping older people get ready to downsize. Read on for her insider tips, tricks and advice.


The costs of Downsizing

Moving to a smaller house means you’ll save money on your bills. For instance, you should pay less council tax for a smaller home. Your energy bills should reduce and you’ll save money on home maintenance and time on cleaning.

Make a financial plan for your move. You will have to pay legal, surveyor and estate agent fees. If you are selling a large home you also have to consider Stamp Duty Land Tax. There is more about the fees associated with moving in this Money Saving Experts article:

If there’s money left after you’ve sold your home and bought your new one, make a plan for it. The longer it sits in your bank account, the less interest it will gain. So, use it for moving costs, add it to your retirement pot, save it or invest it.


The emotional side to downsizing

Preparing to move out of the family home can feel like you’re saying goodbye to memories that are part of the decor. Memories which get prompted and enhanced with every trinket that’s inspected and packed.

Make any new home feel more familiar by putting out the same ornaments and pictures as you have now. Taking as much of your old furniture with you as you can will make it feel like home in no time.

Determine the most important features your smaller home should have. Do this by considering what you’ll miss most about the larger home. 

I helped my grandma downsize from a two-bedroom house to an assisted living bungalow.  One of her concerns was she wouldn’t have room to entertain friends and family anymore. When choosing her new home, she made sure to find one with a space that was large enough for her to entertain in. Since she’s moved I’m sure she’s had more family gatherings than ever before. This helped her to adjust to the smaller space because the one thing she loves doing she can still do.  

Decluttering before you downsize

If you’re moving to a smaller home with someone else, you should both make an inventory. Go through these together so you don’t end up bringing the same things.

Start decluttering months in advance if you can. Begin in the kitchen or the bathroom. This will help you get into the mindset of parting with your clutter. Downsizing your side plates from 10 to 5 is a lot less emotional than downsizing your family photos. Once you’ve done the kitchen or bathroom you’ll find it easier to make decisions in other areas of your home.

Make a rough floor plan and plot your furniture on to it. This is an excellent way to make sure there’s room for everything.

The goal here isn’t to part with all your precious things, it’s about simplifying your stuff. Get rid of things you’ve put out of sight out of mind. In your new home, they won’t be out of mind, they’ll be taking up precious space.

As you’re decluttering make three piles. One to sell or donate, one to keep and one to throw away.

Sell your excess clutter using sales sites like Etsy, eBay, local adverts, car boot sales, and even Facebook.

If you plan to donate things to charity think about what they might want or find useful. Don’t send them broken things or stuff that isn’t suitable for re-sale. A charity shop is a terrific way to get rid of extra clothes. But if you have branded clothes you want to see the back of, try selling them first.

Sell as much of your ‘sell’ or ‘donate’ pile as possible. The extra money comes in handy for moving costs and new smaller furniture. You can also treat yourself to a well-deserved bottle of wine to celebrate moving in.

Downsizing Day

In the last 4 years, I’ve moved home 4 times and I’ve used 4 different systems to help me find my things afterwards. It usually devolves into chaos the closer I get to moving day.

If you can make a plan and stick to it, do, you’ll find it much easier to unpack the other end.

If, you aren’t good at organization use an oddly shaped or coloured box for things you’ll want to find straight away. I used a box wrapped in bright orange tape for essential things like the kettle and tea bags.

Storage in your downsized home

Store up not out. In a smaller home, you may have to get creative with storage. You can buy furniture like lifting beds or footstools with internal storage. Dual purpose furniture is useful in a smaller home. Furniture shops like Ikea have lots of great storage ideas for smaller homes.
One last thing

When you’re downsizing or clearing out, and want to try selling some items, check out Vintage Cash Cow. Our service could save you the time and stress of selling online.

We believe selling your things should always be free and easy, that’s why we cover the postage costs for you to send your items in for appraisal.  We make you an offer for your items – you choose to accept our offer or have your items returned for free. We promise you’ll have cash within 2 days of the parcel leaving your home, unlike eBay and other sites where an auction can take over a week.

Try our free, no obligation service and we believe that if you’re half as happy as the 5,000 people that have already used us, you’ll be sending in more parcels and telling all your friends.

Vintage Cash Cow


If you want some quick tips on downsizing read the RetirementMove article about 8 key tips on downsizing.


*RetirementMove is not affiliated with Vintage Cash Cow and takes no responsibility for its products and services.





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