If you have a newly empty nest, you’ve likely considered the idea of downsizing. And for good reason! Your lifestyle has changed, and it’s only right that the place that you call “home” should change with it. The kids have moved out, and may even have kids of their own. You’ve retired, or are close to retiring, and you have a whole new set of plans for this next phase in life. You want to travel—to get out and see the world as often as your budget allows. You want to spend your time doing the things you love, not cleaning rooms that are only used a few times a year. It makes perfect sense to explore floorplans that fit the lifestyle you have today—or, better yet, the lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of for your retirement years.
The idea of downsizing can also feel daunting. If you’re used to spreading out in more square footage than you really need, you may wonder how you’ll fit all of your “stuff” into a downsized home. Of course part of the process will be letting go of the things that no longer serve a purpose in your home—that no longer “spark joy,” as Marie Kondo, queen of the art of tidying, would tell us. There’s a sense of freedom that can be gained when we’re not tied down by so many material things. On the other hand, there are many things that do bring us joy, and there’s no need to part with these when moving to a smaller home. The key is to use your space wisely.
If you’d like to make the leap to a smaller home and are wondering where to begin, here are a few tips to keep the downsizing process positive.
1.) Define your goals, and stick to them. Are you downsizing to give yourself financial freedom to live comfortably and do the things you love? If you can cut down on the cleaning and maintenance of a larger home, will you have more time to spend with friends, family, or pursuing your passions? Will a lower-maintenance home make it easier to have an extended stay with far-flung loved ones or travel the world when the mood hits? Does the idea of de-cluttering, simplifying, and keeping only what you need and love sound freeing and life enhancing? Think of your top three goals for the downsizing process, write them down, and keep them at the front of your mind—especially when the work of weeding through your things starts to feel tedious.
2.) Take your time. It took years, even decades, to accumulate your stuf, so it will naturally take time to pare down your possessions. Start thinning out your things at least three months before you move, if possible. Start with the easy items—the things that you already know you don’t need, don’t use, and aren’t attached to. There are several organizations that will happily pick up donations from your house, and you can feel great knowing that your old toaster, weight bench, or homemade pasta maker will go from gathering dust to a useful life again—in someone else’s home. This step is also critical if you’ll be selling your current home; it can make your home much more appealing to potential buyers.
3.) Involve your family and friends in the process. This can be especially helpful when you’re looking through sentimental items and deciding what to keep. They may want to take some mementos off your hands—or you may find that you’re able to hold onto the memories, share a good laugh or cry, and then let go of the material items. Friends and family can also help you to stay focused on why you’re choosing to downsize. They’re a big part of your lifestyle, and they understand why this change will help you to live the life you’ve been dreaming of. They can help you keep your eye on the prize.
4.) Choose your new nest carefully. Of course, the most important part of the downsizing process is choosing your downsized destination—the new nest that meets all of your wants and needs for this next chapter in life. At Trilogy® by Shea Homes 55+ and all-ages resort communities, you’ll find all kinds of stunning homes, from contemporary condominiums to sprawling single-family homes with a custom feel and room to spare. The Trilogy floorplans with less square footage are specifically designed to maximize livability—so you can make the most of every square foot and live large in a right-sized space. These homes are efficient by design and feature innovative options that make them a perfect fit for those who are looking to downsize.
Our popular Freedom Collection, for example, gives you the freedom to choose what’s important to you in a floorplan—so you can have the home that’s a perfect fit for your unique lifestyle, and a perfect fit for your budget. These flexible floorplans feature open-concept layouts that feel bright, beautiful, and much bigger than their actual square footage. Our new Resort Collection of attached homes offers highly functional, super-efficient floorplans at an attractive price. The best part? They offer lock-and-leave convenience that makes it easy to pursue your travel bucket list, but they still live large and don’t sacrifice style for space.
Many homes within the Trilogy communities feature multi-functional spaces that provide extra room for work or play. Find a floorplan with a SmartSpace® and you’ll have a behind-the-scenes room for gift wrapping, laundry folding, travel planning, craft beer brewing, or however else you choose to use this super-sized utility space. Homes that offer a Bonus Room or Flex Space have endless possibilities. Turn this space into a home gym or hobby hub, or customize the room with built-in shelves or cabinets to create all the stylish storage you need. Some Trilogy homes offer optional Lofts, which could be your yoga or art studio for part of the year, while providing a separate lounging area when guests stay and play.
The process of downsizing takes time, effort, and thoughtfulness as you decide what is truly important in life—and what you’re willing, and even quite ready, to leave in the past. Just keep your goals in mind, and you’ll soon be ready to turn the page and start your next—and best—chapter in a home that’s a perfect fit for your new lifestyle.