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How to Downsize After Retirement

Yes - you finally made it! No more rushing to work or stressing over deadlines. Now is the perfect phase to relax and live your best life!

Many retirees take this time to pick up new hobbies, explore different destinations or downsize to a smaller property. If you’re looking to downsize to a smaller property after retirement, take these following six steps.

1. Select where you want to retire

Before moving anywhere, you can first consider where you want to be and what you want to do (or not do) while enjoying retirement. If you are hoping to move away from your current area, consider these questions:

  • Is it important to be near family?
  • Am I seeking adventure or do I wish to relax?
  • Do I want to surround myself with people my age?
  • Do I dream of year-round warm weather or a place that enjoys all four seasons?
  • Do I want to retire in a big city or a small town?

Answering these questions will help you quickly narrow down your options. Once you decide on an area, it is time to proceed to the next step.

2. Determine how much space you will need

To determine how much square footage you really need, it helps to first think about your current space and how it is being used.

  • Are there bedrooms that are never occupied?
  • Do you find yourself closing off certain rooms in the house?
  • Is your garage utilized?

Thinking about the answers to these questions will help you determine how much space you might really need in your future home. 

Try to be realistic about the amount of space you are going to need. While downsizing certainly has its advantages, be sure you are not over-downsizing. For example, if you plan to host friends and family frequently in your new home, you will need a bit more space – or at the very least, an extra room with a pull out sofa – to accommodate guests. 

You also want to avoid under-downsizing, or purchasing more space than needed. For example, if you plan to travel for much of your retirement, consider buying a cozy, small pad instead of a larger 3-bedroom home.

3. Find a credible and reliable realtor who knows the area

Finding a quality real estate agent, who knows the area like the back of their hand, will greatly improve your house-hunting experience. This is particularly true if you are moving out-of-province or away from your current area. For instance, if you have decided to retire in Victoria but you have been living in Vancouver, you might not be familiar with the local ethos. This is where an experienced realtor can step in to help you make an informed decision. 

Many times, local realtors can also point their clients in the direction of reputable contractors, repairmen and other skilled home professionals. Additionally, realtors can assist with legalities and tedious paperwork.

4. Organize and sort through your things

Once you have determined what goes where, you can get started on organizing and sorting through all of your belongings. After all, to live comfortably in a smaller home, you are going to need to purge unnecessary furniture, unused clothing and other miscellaneous knick-knacks. While deciding what to keep and what to toss can be a challenge, these tips and tricks here can help you clear out your home successfully.

5. Rent a storage unit

If you are ready to get rid of your extra stuff, I recommend investing in a quality storage unit. A storage unit will give you plenty of space to store belongings that you do not want to bring to your new home. For example, you can store old CDs or clothes, bicycles or furniture at a storage unit.

If you have questions about renting a storage unit, please feel free to contact us. We have six storage facilities in Greater Vancouver and on Vancouver Island so please book a storage unit nearest to you!

6. Find the right movers

Unless you are planning on having a DIY move, you are going to need to hire professional movers. Whether you only need help packing, or are looking for the full service, movers will be able to do as little or as much as you like. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of professional moving companies that can handle the task for you. To ensure that you hire professional movers, make sure to check out the moving company’s online reviews and see their customers' general consensus towards the company.

7. Rent a U-Haul Truck

If you plan on moving on your own, you can rent a U-Haul truck. At U-Lock Mini Storage, we have partnered with U-Haul to provide rental U-Haul moving trucks. If you would like to inquire about the truck rental, please contact us and one of our team members will be delighted to answer any questions you have!