Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

Minimalism is a common trend in today’s generation — both for the young and the young at heart. It’s certainly a goal for many older adults who are looking to downsize their belongings and home to enjoy a more active and maintenance-free lifestyle. And, when it comes to the size of your home, sometimes less is more.

Of course, you’ll find both advantages and disadvantages of downsizing home and hearth. Carefully consider all points relevant to you before taking steps to transition to a downsized lifestyle. At Transtar Moving Systems, we can help you determine the downsizing before moving pros and cons.

If you are considering downsizing to a smaller home, here are the top 10 pros and 10 cons to consider to help you decide if should begin downsizing your home now or hold off for a few months or years down the road.

Advantages of Downsizing Your Home

There are many benefits of downsizing your house. Below are 10 benefits to consider when it comes to moving from a larger home into a smaller one.

PRO: You’ll realize financial benefits.

You can enjoy a bit of a financial windfall in the initial months after downsizing to a home with less square footage. Reducing or eliminating your mortgage and/or property taxes adds a great degree of wiggle room to your monthly budget. The new space in your budget can provide you with the financial freedom to do things you’ve always wanted to do, such as:

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

  • Traveling
  • Going back to school
  • Paying off debt
  • Spending more time on activities with your family
  • Enjoying more entertainment
  • Picking up a new hobby

Whether you want to take a whirlwind trip to experience foreign cultures or to explore one — or all — of America’s national parks, the financial freedom you gain by downgrading your monthly housing expenses makes these goals much easier to accomplish.

PRO: You’ll reduce your time spent on your home’s care and upkeep.

Caring for and keeping up your home requires a sizable amount of time, money and bodily wear and tear each year. And the larger and older the home, the more care and upkeep it usually requires.

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

One of the benefits of a small home is fewer areas require constant maintenance. This is especially true if you choose a newer home, one under warranty or a condo community where a homeowners’ association handles all or some of the outdoor upkeep.

PRO: You’ll enjoy a cozier atmosphere.

The fewer spaces you have available to spread out and separate in your home, the more comfortable it becomes. Large homes can offer so many rooms people can get lost in them.

Smaller homes can:

  • Create intimate environments for family bonding
  • Provide close-knit entertaining for small parties or gatherings with friends
  • Generate a warm, inviting atmosphere for relaxation

Larger homes with many gathering areas can’t create some atmospheres. Downsizing your home can encourage simpler living, more family connections and a happier sense of self and family.

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

PRO: You’ll save energy by reducing your utility consumption.

The average home size in the U.S. is 2,500 square feet, and ultimately, paying for utilities to keep a home of that size comfortable throughout the year is considerably more than doing so for a home half the size.

By downsizing, you could use these savings to help fund your retirement. Or, they could help you accomplish personal goals, like taking gourmet cooking classes or checking off a bucket-list item, such as going on an African safari. Another option is to use the savings to invest, so you can help secure the future of your children and grandchildren.

PRO: It will force you to declutter or consider creative organizing options.

Smaller homes mean fewer spaces to store anything that isn’t essential for daily living. In a small house, even the tiniest amounts of clutter can become overwhelming quickly.

Creative organization may come in the form of digitizing your photos, music, movie and book collection. Doing so allows you to share many of the originals with friends and family, while allowing you to enjoy these items without occupying a great deal of space.

One tablet device, for instance, can store thousands of photographs and books. Cloud services allow you to store nearly infinite collections of movies and music for nominal monthly fees.

You can begin to declutter other areas of your life by doing the following:

  • Giving cherished, but unnecessary, items to friends and family
  • Donating items no longer useful to you to charities
  • Having a garage sale for the items you find you no longer need
  • Considering consigning furniture, jewelry, expensive clothing, sporting equipment and other objects of value

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

PRO: You’ll make money from the sale of your home.

Depending on how long you’ve been in your home, you could have a great deal of equity in it. This allows you to profit from the sale of your home — even after paying the price of acquiring a new, smaller home.

Again, this allows you to re-prioritize how you save for the future. It also lets you shift your mindset from spending in the here and now. The more money you have available to spend and invest, the more financial freedom you have for the future.

PRO: You’ll shift your focus from accumulating possessions to making memories.

The benefit of downsizing most people don’t immediately realize is the shift away from accumulating material objects. Less space means you must stop focusing your attention and efforts on buying new things to put in your home. You’ll likely spend less money on things like:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Furniture
  • Dust catchers
  • Uneaten food items
  • Unnecessary dishes and kitchen utensils

When space becomes a premium, it forces you to put more thought into buying items that take up more space.

Below are some of the things you might choose to do with the money you save by not buying new things all the time:

  • Go on family reunion vacations
  • Visit theme parks with kids and grandkids
  • Take the extended family on a camping trip
  • Go on a family cruise
  • Visit out-of-town family or friends more often

The amount you’ll have to invest in activities like these will vary according to your previous spending habits and total additional savings.

PRO: You’ll sell unnecessary items.

Because space will be a premium in your new abode when downsizing, it’ll become essential to eliminate some of your possessions before moving into it. Selling unnecessary items for your new home is a great way to turn the loss of these items into something beneficial for you: cold, hard cash.

These are a few ideas for selling unwanted furniture and other items of value when downsizing:

  • Garage sales
  • eBay
  • Live auctions — great if you’re moving from a large home and have a healthy amount of stuff you wish to sell
  • Consignment shops
  • Craigslist
  • Letgo
  • Newspaper classifieds

PRO: You’ll reduce your consumption.

The key to leading a greener life is to reduce the number of things you consume. From utilities to packaging to the products you buy, downsizing helps you reduce in all these areas and more. You may experience a sharp switch in focus from quantity to quality in almost everything and become greener in the process.

PRO: You’ll diversify assets.

Real estate markets fluctuate with time. If all your assets are tied up in real estate, another downturn in the market, like the one in the U.S. a few years ago, can spell trouble for your financial security, especially if you’re nearing retirement and depending on the sale of your large home to fund your golden years. Downsizing to a smaller home allows you to invest elsewhere giving your investments greater diversity.

Disadvantages When Downsizing Your Home

Before you make a big decision and lifestyle change of this nature, weigh both the pros and cons of downsizing. Taking the plunge to a smaller abode is a significant lifestyle adjustment. Whether you’re a family of four, new empty nesters or a couple looking forward to your golden years, you’ll need to make concessions when you move into a smaller home. So, before you decide to sell your home and move into less living space, take these important details into account.

CON: You’ll have fewer spaces for entertaining.

Some people invest a lot of time and energy into making their homes entertainment destinations. If you fall into this group, you live to host elaborate parties, huge holiday gatherings and various seasonal events. You’ve likely invested in making sure you have all the right dinnerware, serving pieces and furniture to accommodate these large crowds.

Make sure you consider this factor when downsizing and the impact it may have on your social life. If you’re no longer entertaining, you may find yourself eventually removed from some of the guest lists you’ve been heavily involved in over the years.

The other part of this equation is you may no longer be able to host large family gatherings for holidays and such — at least not in the way you might be used to — because of your smaller entertaining space. If you have traditionally had children, grandchildren and extended relatives stay in your home for the holidays, it could represent a significant loss for you, as your holiday plans must adjust to meet changing needs and the shrinking size of your home.

Of course, you could consider alternatives, like renting a space to host for the holidays or going on large family trips together where you all stay in a condo together or something along those lines.

CON: You’ll find your smaller home may feel cramped.

While smaller spaces can feel cozy, they can also feel cramped. This is particularly the case if you’re accustomed to a much larger home.

One thing you can do to help ease the adjustment is to look for a home offering higher ceilings. Additionally, invest in a smaller home equipped with abundant windows and/or skylights. They allow natural light to flow into the home, making smaller spaces appear bigger.

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

You can get creative with your organization efforts to help your space appear larger than it is while allowing you to accommodate more of your possessions in your smaller home. This includes things like:

  • Using furniture with built-in storage
  • Using vertical space for the organization instead of only horizontal spaces
  • Taking advantage of unconventional spaces — like under stairs, under and over cabinets, etc. for storage
  • Using floating spice racks to store bathroom products — hair products, lotions, moisturizers, etc.
  • Choosing tables and cutting boards with the ability to fold out of the way when not in use
  • Opting for offsite residential storage for household goods or seasonal items

Tips like these allow you to live larger in your smaller home without feeling like you’re cramped or closed in.

CON: You’ll need to adjust your lifestyle.

A large home is a lifestyle in itself. Downsizing to a smaller home forces you to adjust practically everything about how you live. These are just a few of the things you’ll likely have to change when you make a move from a larger home to a smaller one.

  • The way you shop
  • How you accumulate possessions
  • The way your family spends free time
  • How you gather
  • How you entertain, or if you can entertain
  • The possessions you can hold on to

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

CON: You’ll have less storage space.

You may have been looking forward to having less space to clean and care for. The reality, though, can be very different. Think about it this way, for every square foot less space, you must get rid of current possessions to accommodate the loss of space. If you downsize from a 3,000-square-foot home, for example, to a 1,500-square-foot one, you need to reduce furniture and other possessions to account for the loss of nearly half your space.

Fortunately, the digital age has made it easier than ever to hold on to treasured photographs, favorite movies and even more extensive music collections and books. You can transition these things to digital copies you can carry in the following forms:

  • On thumb drives
  • On mobile phones
  • In digital photo frames that constantly rotate photographs
  • On tablet devices
  • In the cloud

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

Doing this can eliminate hundreds of items you’d otherwise need to pack, store and transport to your new smaller home.

CON: You’ll have to work through the emotional aspect.

Don’t discount the sentimental element of packing up and moving from the place you’ve called home for years, if not decades. You may be leaving the house where you raised your children or a home filled with memories too numerous to count. The thought of leaving these behind can be nearly unbearable.

Be prepared for a potentially powerful punch of sentimentality and make concessions when going through your possessions to ease the transition.

CON: You’ll have to consider the costs.

Any move tends to be a costly endeavor. The costs involved can add up quickly when you don’t know what to expect. Sometimes, though, there are hidden or unexpected expenses weighing heavily upon your budget.

Consider these potential costs when planning your move, so a bigger bill than you anticipate for downsizing your home and your life doesn’t catch you off guard.

Rent Expenses

Some people choose to rent rather than diving straight into a smaller home. This is an excellent choice, as it allows you to test the waters before making a long-term commitment by buying a smaller home. Just remember, there may be a few costs you didn’t count on when deciding to rent, like these:

  • Moving costs
  • Loss of homeowners’ tax deduction
  • Renters’ insurance
  • Storage facility rental

This is in addition to the fact your rent may be typically higher than your past mortgage payment and builds no equity.

Condo or Homeowners’ Association Fees

Housing and condo communities often charge fees to help fund improvements in common or public areas. These fees fund things like snow removal, swimming pools, fitness equipment, community gardens and other improvements.

If you plan to make use of these amenities, it can be money well spent. If not, however, they become another bill to pay each month with little or no benefit to you.

General Costs of Moving

In addition to the costs of obtaining a new home, you may have other costs to consider as well. Keep these in mind when deciding if making a move to a smaller home is the right choice for you:

  • New furniture costs
  • Potentially higher property taxes
  • Commuting expenses/travel costs — for work, to visit family, etc.
  • Storage costs
  • Costs of digitizing your favorite movies, music, photos, books, etc.

These expenses add up quickly, so make sure you account for them when calculating the costs of your move.

CON: You’ll have to realize change is difficult.

Even in the best of situations, when you’re excited about the move and convinced it is the absolute perfect choice to make, change can be hard. Your home likely contains years filled with memories. The longer you lived there, the more memories it holds.

Downsizing Your Home: 10 Pros and 10 Cons to Consider Before Moving

Moving to a smaller home may mean you can’t replace memories of large family gatherings. It may even mean you’re moving far enough away to make it difficult to maintain connections with old friends and neighbors.

You may be worried you’ll have difficulty making friends in your new home or neighborhood. All these things can prove emotionally draining, which you’ll need to consider.

CON: You’ll have to adjust to a new home and neighborhood.

You’ve spent years in your home. It’s as familiar to you as the back of your hand. Moving means you must learn the ins and outs of a new home, including getting accustomed to new squeaks and creaks. You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with new neighbors, and perhaps new places to shop, bank and worship. You might even have to find new health care providers.

CON: You’ll have to consider the stress of moving.

The emotional stress of moving is no small thing. From sentimental attachments to the building itself to the many possessions it holds inside, every item you let go of when making a move may feel like pinpricks to your heart.

The Huffington Post recommends viewing downsizing as more than just leaving these things behind, but embracing freedom of a new life, uncluttered by so many preconceived limitations.

The stress involved in moving is not only emotional, though. The process of moving itself can be very stressful. Eliminate this by hiring professional movers and packers. This allows you to enjoy a stress-free move, plus a much more enjoyable transition to your new life.

CON: You’ll potentially experience feelings of loss of prestige.

According to The Balance, some people experience qualms about the loss of prestige associated with owning a smaller home. If you believe the size of your home represents how people perceive you or view your success, downsizing might not be the right choice for you.

Whether you are considering downsizing for a simpler life or you want to move closer to family and friends, smaller homes can help you accomplish your goals without breaking the bank. And it’s an important and worthwhile decision for most people, including recent retirees and empty nesters. However, there are plenty of considerations to keep in mind. Look before you leap and make informed decisions about whether downsizing to a smaller home is the right move for you.

Contact Transtar Moving Systems for a Free In-Home Estimate

If you have determined that downsizing is the right decision for you, and are in need of reliable packing services, storage services, or moving services in the South Jersey counties or in the south Philadelphia region, and beyond, choose Transtar Moving Systems. We specialize in making your move successful, and everyone on our team has a can-do attitude. We know moving can be stressful and we are committed to making our move as stress-free as possible — from start to finish.

Call Transtar Moving Systems today at 855-720-7833 for a free in-home estimate with a professional moving consultant, or request a free moving quote on our online form.

Previous ArticleWhat Do I Need to Know About All the Moving Paperwork? Next ArticleTop 10 Tips for Building Real Estate Customer Loyalty