“I met my girlfriend in college who later became my wife. After we both graduated from college and pursue our careers we thought of having kids. After about five years we were able to save enough money to make a down payment for the house of our dreams. We got a single-family colonial 5 bedroom house. At the time we wanted a house big enough that we could raise a family. Our kids are all grown now and have started their own family. We do not see them much other than sometimes on Christmas. Though we have created lasting memories in the house it is feeling too big to manage and maintain. Both my wife and I have both been retired for a few years and are on limited retirement benefits. I have arthritis in my knee and it is perplexing to climb the steps every day to go up to my bedroom that often time I sleep on the sofa in the family room. When I was younger it was easier to do things around the house but climbing ladders, mowing the lawn, snow removal, etc., is too much at my age. The problem is that I need a 1-floor type home but I am still attached to this house. We have accumulated so many memories in our house so I keep putting off selling the house. Yet, I and my wife want to travel to countries we have never gotten a chance to see because of all our responsibilities. I don’t know where or how to start our transition into retirement with less money to spend. Two more payments and our mortgage on our house will be paid off. We each have a retirement account with our respective jobs and social security benefits.”
Many people who just retired are facing the same dilemma as the excerpt of the letter above states. When living on retirement income you simply have to plan a budget and stay within your budget expenses. During retirement people most time spend less money because their needs are less. The most important thing to have is Medicare and some private insurance. Retired people can downsize their home to 1 or 2 bedroom house and still remain comfortable. It is understandable that it is hard to walk away from a place that you have created so many great memories. However, the memories you never really walk away from because you can always keep it in your hearts and it will be with you everywhere you go. You can keep a visual memory by videotaping every inch of your house and narrate while you are doing it to keep it interesting to someone watching a replay.
Every smartphone has a video recorder so videotaping your home is an easy task. Also, the best way to prepare to downsize your home is to walk through the house and use the same videotaping to identify the things you can get rid of. After videotaping you can load it to your computer and you and your wife can review the audiovisual for what you have not used in the past three years. Chances are if you have not used an item in three years you are no longer going to use it. However, you should make a tag for each item that you think is essential to keep and tag them. For instance, most people can be comfortable with two televisions; more than two televisions do not make sense for two people. If you think beyond that line you will be able to detach from what is not necessary anymore. You can sell stuff on eBay that you no longer need by simply taking a picture of the item, setting up an account with eBay and posting your items for sale. Also, you could have a yard sale. The balance of unsold and unwanted stuff could be donated so you could get a tax credit.
It is best to get rid of unwanted stuff before you move anywhere. Some places like the Salvation Army will send a truck to pick up donated stuff, and your Housing Association, if applicable, have bulk garbage days where they will dump your unwanted items. Getting some helpers to move them outside prior to being picked up may cost you 50 bucks depending on the amount and time. Only keeping the essential items will reduce your moving cost. It makes no sense to pay extra cost to move stuff just to dump it afterward. It is also best when you are preparing to sell your house that it does look clean and not cluttered. Thus, selling your unwanted stuff, donating stuff and getting rid of the balance of the unwanted stuff by trash removal is the most important step in the process of selling your house. When the unwanted stuff is removed from the house then you will able to see all areas of the house that you may need to restore the aesthetic appeal in order to get the best and highest price for your property.