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The Benefits of Downsizing

Andrew Mitchell & Company Realtor® explains why it pays to downsize! 

Whether you’ve recently undergone a change in lifestyle or your interest has been piqued by the recent trend toward smaller dwellings and more efficient living, you may be considering a move to a smaller home. There are many benefits to “living smaller,” including:

More money.

A smaller home typically means a smaller mortgage payment, and nearly always means saving in utility costs and upkeep. Just think of the difference in paying to heat a 3,500-square-foot house versus a heating bill for 1,000 square feet of living space. Even something as simple as painting a room is cheaper when a space is smaller. That means more money in your bank account to spend on other pursuits – such as hobbies and travel.

More time.

Spending less time on home upkeep like caring for a huge yard or even cleaning your house translates into more time to do other things you want to do.

Increased Efficiency.

A smaller home requires fewer resources and leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Large homes generally need expansive heating systems and high-capacity or additional water heaters, while a smaller house requires smaller heating and cooling systems. And as a bonus, you’ll see increased energy efficiency by installing plenty of insulation and choosing energy-efficient appliances whenever you need to replace an old appliance.

As with any move, there are plenty of considerations to make regarding your change of residence, but downsizing your home comes with a few additional decisions that you will want to think about before moving day. Perhaps the largest task you will need to face is deciding what stays and what goes. If you’re reducing your living space by a considerable amount, it’s likely that you’ll have to purge some of your belongings in order to fit into a smaller space. Many people find this process tremendously liberating, because it forces a decision about the belongings that are really the most important. To approach this project, you can:

Discard.

If you have a lot of old or useless “junk” languishing in your attic, basement, or garage, think about renting a Dumpster from a local company. The Dumpster will be dropped off in your driveway or yard and is yours for several days to fill with trash that you’re pretty certain no one will ever want, such as items that are damaged or moldy. Broken furniture, certain appliances, and unusable old clothing or linens are all candidates for disposal. Just make certain to dispose of hazardous items such as old paint, batteries, and electronics in compliance with your community’s guidelines.Store. You may have a few things that you would be willing to store at an off-site rental storage unit. Perhaps you have family heirlooms that you’d like to pass on to another generation but don’t have room for in your new home. Or maybe you have a large collection of documents that you’d like to archive somewhere other than your home. Items such as these might best be stored elsewhere.

Recycle and Donate.

These days, the possibility of repurposing unused items is practically limitless. Curbside recycling aside, there are plenty of places to donate clothing, books, used household items, appliances, and even cars! Before you toss something in the trash, check around your locality to see whether there is a place where it can be retooled for someone else’s needs.

Sell.

One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure, and there are countless ways to sell items you no longer use, from flea markets to the church newsletter to eBay to Craigslist. Just remember to exercise caution when selling to a stranger. It’s best not to divulge too much personal information and if possible, agree to make the sale in a neutral location with plenty of other people around.

Making the decision to downsize and moving to a smaller home can afford you a much-needed change in lifestyle. Living in a smaller space can be emotionally therapeutic as well as physically cathartic. Smaller, more affordable homes can also be easier to sell when you decide to make your next move. If you’re thinking about downsizing, talk to your real estate agent to learn about your options – you may be surprised how much the market opens up to you when you start searching for something smaller.

Julie O’Neil Dolan is a Concord native, resident and realtor Andrew Mitchell & Company. Visitjuliedolanrealtor.com for information.

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