Most 55 and uppers bought their home 25 years ago, or longer when retirement was something our parents were getting ready to do. Back then we chose our home based on price, location, neighborhood, proximity to work and schools for raising a family. We did not at all think about how suitable it would be when we retire.
When we are finished with the working years, we see things differently around the house. The reasons we wanted it a long time ago no longer apply. How functional is it for our day-to-day lives at 65, 70, 75? You get the idea. It is no longer dropping the kids here and there, no longer the commute to work. It’s the trips up and down stairs, the cleaning and maintenance, it’s the weather, proximity to family, grandchildren, etcetera that are the focus. This shift in focus means many retirees consider moving to a home that better suits them. For whatever reason, rethinking where they call home makes sense as they embrace their new retirement lifestyle.
We are fortunate to live in a climate that offers nice weather year-round. This makes moving out of the area difficult to consider for many. That said one must weigh the motivations for thinking about a move. Maybe downsizing is an option for convenience and comfort but if the gran children are on the east coast that does not help. Do you have neighbors you appreciate? Can new relationships be established if you move? Is that even important?
Lots to think about so that you can make the very most of your home and location in your retirement years. If you want to stay in the area as 9 out of 10 people I talk to here in Southern California do, then here are some suggestions to make the place you live in now ‘more’ livable.
Little by little you can focus on this 4 Step approach; Clear Up, Cut Down, Set Up, and Get Down. Ha! Say that fast three times. 🙂
Make it a regular focus to clear up and simplifying our day-to-day lives. The goal being to minimize the things we don’t want to do so we can spend more time doing things we do want to do. This includes simplification of our financial life, simplification of our yard care, and reducing the commitments on our time. For example, if you do not like shopping for groceries and preparing meals, figure out a simpler way to have nutritious meals. Think outside the traditional box. Delivery of great meals (ready to prepare) is getting better and less expensive. Ordering groceries online and having them delivered might work. If you use to enjoy yard work and gardening but no longer do, install low maintenance and drought resistant plants. Just a couple of things. There are many to consider. Bedrooms can become hobby or multi-use rooms. You get the idea.
Most of us have too much stuff. ‘Stuff’ we have accumulated over the years. Some of it is important and useful, but much of the stuff is not… at least not anymore to us. Give it to someone that it would be useful to. New and open space in your home can create new and open space in your head. Fill it with something of interest! Take your time. It is not a race. The sense of a small accomplishment will spur you on to the next. Start in the areas you spend the most time, eventually working your way to the garage. One day you will be surprised to be parking the second car in the garage.
Set up for simplicity and time maximization. Fortunately, modern technology has made getting and staying organized easier. Between machines that scan and digitize receipts and Google, it is hardly necessary saving anything in file folders anymore. Get rid of all those old files. Scan your family photos, they will last longer. De-clutter the paperwork, manuals, receipts. You can find them easier too. That is, if you need them… ever again. One thing we are running short on in retirement is time. Make time for the things you enjoy and appreciate.
Break it Down
We are not talking about dance here. Breaking it down making our homes turnkey means it is fully functional and ready for occupation… with ease. By simplifying and automating, our home functions better and requires less effort for its day-to-day upkeep. This also helps when we travel for extended periods since we like to have house sitters for the peace-of-mind they provide. Maybe when you travel you are keen on having people you know stay in your home, but give other ideas a thought. What about the idea of house-swapping? Whether you are home, or it is temporarily occupied by friends or even complete strangers, a turnkey home means having fewer things to worry about.
Rather than downsizing as the first ‘go to’ idea, consider adjusting things so that your current home ‘fits’ your ‘new’ and retired lifestyle. If it works, great! If not you can do something more drastic, like moving.
Retirement is in many ways about peace of mind. Low stress. Ease. AHhhhhhhhhh. Enjoy.