The Value of a Downsized Home
Downsize And Trade Home Maintenance For Hours Of Free Time.
The average American spends nearly two hours doing housework per day. Cooking, cleaning, repairing, yard work — it all adds up. Maybe you feel like your average day is even more than that. You may have an older home that demands more upkeep or a sprawling yard, or you might find yourself lugging things back and forth from garage to kitchen, upstairs and down again more than you’d like.
Every new season also brings with it a barrage of home maintenance chores that not only cost money but can do a number on our aging knees, backs and muscles. However, imagine all the tasks you could look forward to never doing again if you have a downsized home.
Lawn Care, Don’t Care
Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our yards. We love watching the flowers arrive each spring, sitting in a chair gazing across the calm of a rolling lawn or digging in a little vegetable patch. However, all that yard requires so much upkeep. The constant lawn mowing, the leaf raking, the weed pulling. Think of all the time and backaches you’ll save yourself by trading in your yard for a shared community garden or a condo with a landscaping team. You don’t need to give up the joys of having a yard, but by sharing the space, you can also share the effort.
Stairway To Heavens, My Back Hurts
If you’re living in an empty nest alone or with just your spouse, you may find less and less need for the separation that a multi-level floor plan once afforded you. Carrying laundry down to the basement, lugging a vacuum upstairs – these little trips can be enough to make you dread routine housework. By switching to a smaller, single-level living situation, everything you need will always be just a few steps away.
All Those Nooks And Crannies
The larger your home, the more nooks, and crannies you are responsible for keeping dust and mold free. When was the last time you cleaned your basement floor or scrubbed the grout in your second bathroom? Neglecting routine cleaning of the harder to reach corners of your home can lead to a buildup of dirt or moisture that left unchecked can be harmful to your health and damage to your house. A downsized home is sure to be easier to clean from top to bottom, so you’ll never again have dirty, moldy situations sneak up on you.
Tidy In No Time
Many people have been embracing the decluttering attitude espoused by Marie Kondo in her “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” books and TV program. There’s also the Swedish death cleaning concept. Less morbid than it sounds, it’s about enjoying the process of going through and paring down our possessions to be able to focus on the essential things. Whichever method speaks to you, the result is the same – less physical and psychological clutter in your life and the freedom to move into a downsized home. Because there’s less stuff to manage and less ground to cover, your smaller home will be much easier to keep tidy.
The larger our homes, the more we seem to find a way to fill them with stuff. That goes for appliances and gadgets too. Downsizing your home is also an opportunity, to be honest with yourself about just how much you need that second television, the elaborate multi-room stereo system, the spare microwave, the other printer, or the exercise machine that spends more time like a coat rack. By freeing yourself of non-essential appliances and gadgets, you will also be free of the responsibility of maintaining all that gear. Moreover, if you downsize to a shared living community, you might very well have access to communal exercise equipment, entertainment facilities or even power tools. No longer being responsible for so many gizmos can free up time and mental energy, too.
There are many up-sides to home ownership, but the big downside is being entirely responsible for solving significant repairs. When pipe bursts or toilet clogs or the utilities are on the fritz, it can bring your life to a standstill while you investigate the problem, research a solution, and sometimes take on the repair yourself. If you downsize to an apartment or condo, you can immediately enjoy the benefit of having someone to turn to when repairs are needed. You don’t have to figure it all out yourself or spend time worrying about the details of getting it fixed.
Getting On A Ladder
Any homeowner knows that at least once or twice a year you’ll find yourself climbing on a ladder to take care of something out of reach. Whether that’s cleaning the gutters, doing minor roof repairs, or replacing screens on second-story windows, scaling to uncomfortable heights is hard to avoid. As we get older, our balance may start to fail us, and the impact of a minor fall can be catastrophic. We may still feel compelled to again take on these balancing acts rather than burden friends or family by asking for help. Downsizing to a condo or co-living community means never having to be responsible for dizzying repair work on your home’s exterior ever again.
Sometimes the weather throws situations at us and our homes that can be a lot to handle. A winter storm might demand you shovel sidewalks and plow driveways. A heavy spring rain might overwhelm your sewers and require an emergency clean up. A sudden summer heat wave might have you scrambling to install window A/C units, or an early fall freeze might sneak up on an unprepared garden or cause an outdoor water pipe to crack. Mother Nature keeps us on our toes, but the less property you have to manage, the easier it will be to roll with her punches.
It is possible to have more with less. Fewer chores and more free time. Fewer backaches and more relaxation. What would you do with all that extra time that a downsized home could afford you?
Bio: Sally Phillips is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience in many different areas. She made a move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and traveling as much as possible.
Mary Spann is the founder and president of Upside of Downsizing®. In addition to her 26 years in construction, interior design, and home staging, Mary also holds college degrees in Social Work and Psychology, making her uniquely qualified to assist with the downsizing process, and helping 50 plus-year-olds achieve a happy and healthy life balance. Mary learned the key components of construction and interior design at an early age. Her father was a prominent custom home builder in Minnesota and Texas, and her mother was a successful interior designer and a principal broker.