7 Tips to Begin Your Downsizing Journey

Some parents spend years imagining what life will be like when their last child leaves home. But when it happens, they often need some help figuring out how to make that new existence come to life when the family home suddenly seems emptier and bigger but they aren’t ready to let go of the memories, extra space or possessions they have amassed. I have decades of experience in helping empty nesters feel lighter, freer and happier. I myself gave away 95 percent of my possessions when I downsized from a 5,000 square feet house to an 867 square-foot apartment.

Here are seven of the best tips I’ve learned  Use them to begin your own downsizing journey.


Remove: It’s cathartic to start letting go of some of the things you’ve been holding on to. Pairing down before you downsize will help you have fewer boxes and less stuff to worry about when you move

Redecorate: Make rooms work for your new lifestyle. Moving furniture around can give you a new perspective. Buy a new sofa or repaint; refreshing your rooms will lighten your spirits

It’s never too early to start thinking about a smaller home.

Repurpose: Your life has new priorities, so how do you want to make use of the extra space now that the kids are gone? This is your chance to turn that extra bedroom into a home office, guest room, gym or sanctuary

Rethink: Now that you have fewer day-to-day responsibilities, it’s all about you. Maximize your lifestyle by recommitting your time, money and resources to what matters most now

Reimagine: Begin thinking about your next home and whether you would be happiest in a smaller home, a cottage, an apartment or an age-friendly community. It’s never too early to start looking for a smaller home that will mesh with the new lifestyle you are creating. Once you have clarity about what you want or don’t want, it will be easier to make a decision when the right house comes along

Reevaluate: Spend some time considering whether living in a big house in the suburbs still makes sense financially, physically and emotionally

Reinvent: Now that you have more time on your hands, use some of it to reinvent yourself. Put your energies into losing weight, pursuing new hobbies, exercising more or any new passion you can think of.

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