Traditionally, downsizing was something that only got considered when retirement was on the horizon. With the children gone and older age creeping up, thoughts would turn to a smaller house and garden that wouldn’t take quite so much work. But that’s no longer the case. There are increasing numbers of reasons why people are thinking about downsizing and in some severe circumstance, have no choice.
Why are people downsizing?
- Financial uncertainty. In the uncertain times of potential interest rate fluctuations people are reviewing their needs to see if they can cut their mortgage payments, or even remove them altogether
- Too much space. The kids have grown up and you’re just rattling around in a big old house.
- Running costs. A smaller property will cost less to heat, light and insure.
- Maintenance and cleaning. A smaller place will take less work, time and money to take care of.
- More free time. Logic says that if you’re spending less time maintaining and cleaning a house and garden, you’ll have more time to do things you want to do, and may even have more money to do them.
Downsizing itself however will have costs attached. If you’re downsizing to free up a chunk of money, removal and legal costs may well eat into that anticipated windfall. Be sure of your costs. In addition, you’ll need to plan carefully. Over the years we all acquire more and more ‘stuff’ – some of which hasn’t seen the light of day for years! The more space you have, the more things you’ll find to fill it with so the thought of having to get rid of a large number of those things can be daunting. But you do need to start sorting through things a long time before you actually move. You may even have to move some things out temporarily to increase the saleability of your home.
That’s where secure self storage comes in. You can use it before and after your move, changing the size of unit as your needs require.
Before you sell
You may need to do a little decluttering to help achieve the sale price you want, but what if you’re not sure which items you want to keep longer term? It’s a real possibility, especially if you haven’t yet found the property you want to move to. If you need to empty the loft or garage and sort through the items, where are you going to do that while your house is on the market? You can’t really sort through it while you’ve got viewers visiting. A secure self storage unit will allow you to get everything out that you need to, and have time to sort through it without it making a mess at home.
One thing though, it’s very easy to start reminiscing about things you haven’t seen for a while and get carried away, looking at and reading things, recounting memories etc. – before you know it, a whole day has gone and you’ve not made a decision about anything. If you’re moving things out to sort through them, you have to be disciplined about it. Set yourself a goal of how many boxes you will sort through and you will need to be brutal about decisions. If you haven’t used it for years, do you really need it? You’ll need to be firm about what you want to
- Sell or donate to charity
Make sure you regularly get rid of the bin /sell pile. Don’t hang on to it for weeks while you sort through everything else. Getting rid of a small amount at a time is easier and will free up space in your unit. You may even be able to reduce the size of your unit and your storage costs as you go along.
After you sell
First and foremost, if you haven’t been quite as disciplined as you should have been, the chances are you’ve still got things to sort through. It’s time to get a move on. If you’ve got a property to move in to you can start moving the ‘keep’ pile into place and continue sorting through the rest.
If you haven’t got a property to move in to, you may well have to move more furniture into your unit in the short term, but don’t be tempted to stop sorting – it will still need to be done. Once you’ve got the all the things you want to keep sorted and got rid of the rest, organise your storage unit to maximise the use of space. Again, this may allow you to move to a smaller unit until your new property is ready.
Finally, if you’ve sorted everything but find you still have some things that can’t move to your new property but can’t be got rid of either, they can stay in long term storage. It may be furniture that will help your children in their first home, or a family heirloom, that just can’t be sold. If leaving it in storage longer term, make sure it is packed up properly to prevent damage.
Space Centre Self Storage has secure self storage sites, at Gloucester, North Bristol and Stroud. We have a variety of unit sizes at each site and are happy for clients to change unit size as their needs require. If you need advice about storing your goods, get in touch.
Image credit: Clem Onojeghuo