When you have a young family, a large house may be essential to peaceful living. It’s rare that siblings have any interest in sharing a room, and most families have stories about cramming into a small bathroom in the morning. But, once the kids have moved out, you may not need three bedrooms and two and half bathrooms. While many people love their homes and age in place, there may come a time when downsizing is a good idea.

Downsizing generally means moving from one’s current home to a smaller one. This can include owning or renting. And, there are plenty of reasons why you’d want to downsize. We’ll look at a few of the big ones, but just know that they’re not the only ones. If you feel that downsizing is a good idea for you, it may very well be!

Unused Space

If you’re only ever entering a room to clean it, you probably don’t need it.

Having lots of unused space in your home is a common reason people often considering downsizing. So, what would you consider unused space? If your home has entire rooms that haven’t been used in quite some time, that fits this descriptor. It doesn’t necessarily mean a guest room or extra bathroom. A good rule of thumb is, if you’re only ever entering a room to clean it, you probably don’t need it. If you have multiple rooms in your house that are this way, downsizing may be a good option for you. This is probably one of the most important criteria to fit, because if you’re using all the space in your house, downsizing to something smaller may not be a good idea.

The Upkeep is Too Much

If you’re unable to maintain your home in a safe way, it may be time to find a home that’s easier to keep up with.

Another significant reason to consider downsizing has to do with how you’re handling the upkeep of the home. If it’s becoming a strain on you, either physically or financially, you should probably consider moving into a smaller home. Think about it this way. Is keeping the house clean and safe becoming difficult? Is winterizing your home getting to be too tough or expensive? If you’re unable to maintain your home in a safe way, it may be time to find a home that’s either easier to maintain (like a smaller home) or one with fewer upkeep duties (renting versus owning).

You’re Looking to Save Money

Controlling costs is an essential way to plan for your retirement.

One of the most common reasons people downsize is financial. One general rule is to spend no more than 30 percent of your income on housing. If you’re on a fixed income, downsizing can be an effective way to cut costs and shift funds to other things. In fact, controlling costs is an essential way to plan for your retirement. So, if you find that you don’t need the space and its expenditures (whether that’s the mortgage, rent, or general home costs) are becoming a major burden on your finances, downsizing could be wise.

You’re a Snowbird or Like Traveling

In practical terms, by downsizing, you could save money on paying for or renting a home you’re not living in all the time.

You may also be interested in downsizing at your main home if you’re a snowbird — meaning you live somewhere warm in the winter and somewhere else the rest of the year. This could also be true if you travel a lot or spend very little time in your main home. In practical terms, by downsizing, you could save money paying for or renting a home you’re not living in all the time. This isn’t the only thing you need to consider when you are deciding whether to snowbird or not, but you should definitely weigh the finances and needs regarding your main home heavily in your decision.

You Have Too Much “Stuff”

Moving to a smaller home can be a great catalyst for decreasing the clutter.

Having too much stuff is sort of like the opposite of having unused space, but yes, it could mean it’s time to downsize. If you notice that there’s a lot of stuff in your home, things that you don’t use or really even think about often, downsizing may be a good plan. Why? Moving to a smaller home can be a great catalyst for decreasing the clutter since you’ll need to get rid of that stuff prior to the move, like at a yard sale, for example. Decluttering is especially important if you or a loved one are showing signs of hoarding.

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Downsizing is a big decision. Before you decide to downsize, be sure to look at all the ways that it can affect your life. For example, if you have guests stay over often, you’ll want to ensure there’s still space for them. Look at your home, try to take the emotion out of it, and ask yourself:

  • “Is the house bigger than my needs require?”
  • “Is the house becoming a financial burden?”
  • “Is upkeep on the house becoming dangerous or difficult?”
  • “Am I using less of the space for important things and just filling it with stuff?”

These aren’t the only questions you’ll want to ask yourself, since downsizing is a deeply personal decision; however, if you find yourself answering these questions with a yes, you may be a good fit for downsizing.