Navigating Downsizing with Your Partner

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 18 November 2015 09:32

If you're thinking about downsizing to a smaller home, you probably have your reasons for doing so. Is your spouse or partner on board with the decision? Making any sort of significant change can put pressure on a relationship – particularly if each of you has a different vision of just how that change might play out.


If you're trying to coax a reluctant significant other to considering downsizing, that may not work as each of us grows attached to our home, in different ways, for different reasons.  In my experience with my wife, we discovered we had to come to the decision separately and then hash out the benefits and downsides to moving.  That said; here are a few benefits that may help as you consider this significant change:


More Money: A smaller home generally can mean a smaller monthly mortgage payment, freeing up income for other pursuits like hobbies or travel. Although, this is not always true as a location closer to the city can be more expensive. Utility bills also tend to be smaller for a more compact space.


Easier living: Let's face it, homes require a lot of work to maintain. Whether you do regular home maintenance and cleaning yourself or you outsource it to a cleaning service or landscaper, a smaller home takes less time, energy, and money to maintain than a larger property.


Simpler Lifestyle: Many of us have been in the position in which we look around at our home and think, "Where did all this stuff come from?" And it's true – we tend to accrue belongings to fit the space that we live in. But is all of that stuff essential to our lifestyle? It's easy to feel overwhelmed or burdened by excess clutter, and downsizing can help weed out superfluous items by simply reducing the space they can inhabit.


Reduced Carbon Footprint: Energy savings is a hot button topic these days, and smaller homes tend to use less electricity, heat, and water. You can feel better about your impact on the environment.


If you've already agreed to downsizing, now it's time to navigate the process of doing so. Questions of which belongings you will need to discard and which you would like to take with you can be a point of contention, and it's vital that both parties listen to the concerns of the other. Here are a few tips to get you started:


Be Sensitive: Just because you don't love your partner's Hummel collection or trophy shelf doesn't mean it isn't important to them. Sit down and talk about the items in your home that have the most importance to your significant other – and to what degree you can dedicate space for those items in your new home.


Compare Lists: Start the process of elimination of your furniture and belongings by making separate lists of what you would like to keep. Make sure that top-priority items from both your list and your significant other's make the move.


Discard Duplicate Items: Most people don't have a sentimental attachment to kitchen equipment or linens. If you have lots of extras, recycle, sell, or donate what you don't actively use.


Start Early: You're going to need to start sorting through your possessions weeks or even months before making a move to a smaller home. Give yourself plenty of time to sort through photographs and documents in order to determine what you would like to keep. It can take much longer than you might expect to weed through filing cabinets and boxes of paperwork.


Sell, Recycle, and Donate: You will find that you feel much better about repurposing your belongings rather than just tossing them in the trash. Knowing that someone else will get some use out of your old furniture, clothing, and books can make a huge difference in how you and your significant other feel about getting rid of your possessions.


Pack Smart: When you finally reach the packing stage of your move, pack with an eye toward where your belongings will be situated in your new home. Use a numbering or color-coding system to ensure that kitchen equipment ends up in the kitchen and boxes of memorabilia are placed in the attic.


The two keys to downsizing with your spouse or partner in mind are communication and planning. By keeping an open mind to the opinions and desires of your other half, you'll navigate the process with fewer disagreements and with more mutual decisions.




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