Working in the Northeast LA real estate world, we often talk to people who need or want to downsize for one reason or another. Downsizing can be fun and freeing, or it can be very hard and feel limiting. It's easy for us to look at someone else's situation and see clearly what is the necessary thing to do. When it comes to our own situation, though, it can be really hard to figure out.
The causes for the decision to downsize can be all over the happiness scale but my guess is the most usual reasons have to do with loss--a divorce, a death, a loss of job, income, or mobility. But the very hardest downsizing decision-making seems to have to do with the anticipation of a future need to downsize--like the looming retirement of a wage-earning family member or the approaching for a smaller or more handicap-friendly environment because of advancing age or illness.
It's hard for many of us to consider leaving a home that we love and/or have lived in for a long time. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase "The only way I'm moving from this house is when they carry me out in a pine box." Sadly, if life circumstances intervene to force a move, such as if an elderly person has to go to an assisted living facility, the result is often a much happier, more secure, and better social situation that improves their quality of life (and could have helped make their lives better a long time before some emergency forced the decision.)
Another sad response to the stress of moving is "My kids will just have to deal with this after I'm gone." Is this how you want your family to remember you? That you left them with a big mess? As a mother, I sometimes get reminded of that. As a daughter, I hope I don't have that happen to me.
I wish I had all the answers to help everyone who has to make this decision, but I don't. I have realized that one effective way of easing the transition is to make the move a positive one. Somehow, we must bring the opportunity for an easier life-style or improved financial circumstances into the forefront of our minds rather than focus on the pain of having to get rid of our precious things (and having to make the choices about what is precious and what is not.) If we are moving toward what we want rather than toward what we don't want, the process will be a lot easier to stomach.
We have helped several families recently go through the transition of downsizing - either to move into an assisted living facility, or a smaller home, or closer to family members. If this is a move you're thinking of making, we're here to help strategize a positive move. Give us a call to discuss further.