Retirement is a perfect opportunity to simplify your life. People tend to accumulate things, and over a lifetime this accumulation can be substantial. If you think of retirement as a new life that will last you 30 years or more, then you have every excuse to unburden yourself of pieces of your prior life that you no longer need.
In Retirement You Can Get By With Less Space
Start with your house (or condominium). Chances are, it’s going to be too big for you and your spouse or partner. If you raised children, they’re probably on their own now, and their bedrooms are empty (or perhaps converted to “sewing rooms”).
If you built extra space for a home office, you probably won’t need it anymore. Or perhaps, if you were successful in your career, you simply upgraded to a larger house because you could afford to, or wanted to make an impression related to your status. None of that applies anymore. Think about how you want to spend your time in retirement, and choose lodgings that are appropriate to that. If you’re moving to a new community or even to another country, that gives you a perfect opportunity to downsize. If you’ve lived in a suburb or smaller town all your life and long for the excitement of an urban environment, then downsize to a condo in the heart of the city, though you may find that the downtown condo costs more than what you can get for your five-bedroom suburban mansion. And even if you’re just moving around the block, pick out a smaller house!
You Can Live With Less Stuff
Next, all the stuff you’ve accumulated over a lifetime likely won’t fit into your new abode. You have many alternatives. Individual items of value can be sold at Craigslist or, even better, eBay. Craigslist tends to attract people looking for the best possible deal; the site is also rife with scammers. On the upside, Craigslist is localized, so if you’re selling an oversized wardrobe, it can probably be delivered personally in a rented van. EBay, on the other hand, attracts buyers from around the world. If you have items of particular value, you will find your buyer on eBay, and that person will likely know your item’s true value and be willing to pay for it.
If you have a houseful of items of various value and quality, you might consider an estate sale: a professional will come to your house, set it up for the sale, and conduct the sale, all for a percentage of the take. You should oversee the pricing of your items; some estate sale firms are knowledgeable enough to price most items appropriately, and they will of course want to maximize earnings, but you should double-check just the same. And finally, if most of what you have is of little value, you can host a yard sale. Pick a good weekend, advertize and put up signs, and enjoy yourself — a yard sale can be a microcosm of human behavior in general.
Finally, if you have adult children who have been reluctant to fly from the nest, your move is an excellent opportunity to get them to strike out on their own. You simply won’t have room for them anymore! This “downsizing” of your live-in family can be a touchy issue to resolve, so approach it gradually and with plenty of time to spare.
Enjoy your downsized retirement!