As the school year comes to a close, families are making tough decisions about their living situation. Financial circumstances change. Happy marriages break up. Some people are finally realizing that living large in a picture perfect McMansion does not always equate to the good life. Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t all sunshine and unicorns.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, homeownership in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest point in nearly 20 years – just under 65 percent – as renting becomes a more attractive and affordable alternative. The last time it was that low was in 1995.
It’s clear that an increasing number of people are coming to terms with the fact that downsizing from a house to an apartment is sometimes the smarter – or even the only – option. But it ain’t easy. There will be lots of new things to get used to. How will you deal with such a drastic change?
Let it go
It’s inevitable. You’ll naturally want to hold onto things that you’ve had for years. But the truth is, you won’t have room for all that stuff anymore. Take an inventory of all your belongings and separate everything into piles to be donated, sold or trashed. If you haven’t used it in over a year, chuck it and don’t look back.
Is there a possibility that you’ll move back into a house someday? Are there items that you just can’t part with? Consider whether or not a storage unit is worth the monthly cost. Selling your lawn mower, garden hose and weed whacker could earn you big bucks, but are you willing to buy all that stuff again when you’re ready to transition again from apartment to house?
A simpler life awaits you
While living in a house, you probably felt the need to fill every corner with stuff. Yes, those Saturday trips to The Home Depot and Ikea are pretty addictive. But soon, those things you accumulated became overwhelming, didn’t they? If you’ve ever seen “Fight Club”, you know it’s true that the stuff you own ends up owning you. All that clutter probably made owning a home more stressful than it was worth. In an apartment, you’ll be able to finally scale back, focus on what’s necessary and not just buy random pretty things just to fill an empty space.
Less work, more play
Remember those weekends spent mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and pressure washing your siding? Those chores are a thing of the past when you choose apartment life. Fewer household chores will free up more time to do the things you really love whether it’s spending time with family and friends, exploring your city, or getting some much needed shut eye.
Make downsizing kid-friendly
Even though you’re busy mapping out the logistics of your move, don’t forget the affect that this will have on your children. Try to make moving sound like a fun adventure, despite how stressful it may actually be. Kids will become excited when they start learning about their new community, the on-site playground and the swimming pool they’ll have at their disposal. Don’t forget to help them bridge the gap between their old and new life. For younger kids, let them exchange phone numbers or even email addresses before move day. If they’re old enough and you deem it appropriate, they can keep in touch with neighborhood friends via social media, Skype or FaceTime.
Turn that frown upside down
Depending on your situation, you might be a bit depressed about having to make such a major transition. But perk up and focus on the bright side. A smaller space will mean less to clean and maintain. You’ll hopefully rid yourself of all the stuff you just don’t need. And obviously you’ll save dough on rent and utilities. Downsizing is an opportunity to start over. When you start looking at it in a positive light, it won’t seem like such a negative experience.
Have you ever downsized from a house to an apartment? What was the experience like?