Pros and Cons of Moving to a Smaller Home
You might consider downsizing — moving to a smaller-sized home — for several reasons. 69% of people who downsize simply want to save money. Others are looking to eliminate unwanted space, fulfill a different lifestyle, or relocate for a new job.
Many people who move to a smaller residence are seniors. Many older adults downsize because they can no longer live independently in their own homes. By 2030, seniors will release an estimated 28 million homes into the U.S. market, many in a direct effort to downsize. However, you can move to a smaller home at any age for a wide variety of reasons. No matter your circumstances, there are a few factors to consider before beginning the downsizing process.
Pros of Moving to a Smaller Home
Under the right circumstances, moving to a smaller home creates several advantages. You’ll save money on housing and maintenance costs, improve your energy efficiency, and reduce clutter from unwanted possessions.
One of the biggest benefits to downsizing is the cost savings. A smaller home typically means a smaller mortgage or monthly rent, lower utility bills, and fewer maintenance costs. You’ll also save money on your home insurance since premiums are typically based on the size and value of the house.
Depending on your situation, you may also be able to write off your moving expenses. For example, many employers will assist or completely cover, moving expenses associated with a new job position. You can also write off many of your expenses if you’re moving to a new point of duty as the direct result of a military order. Alongside these federal; tax write-offs, some states also allow you to deduct moving expenses like materials, transportation costs, and shipping.
Downsizing your home can have a net positive impact on your energy usage habits. Smaller homes generally require a smaller amount of gas and electricity, helping you save money and contribute to environmental sustainability.
The reduced square footage of your new home will require less energy to heat or cool. Even if you need to run a heater or air conditioner during certain seasons, a smaller home will burn less fuel to keep you comfortable. You’ll also use less energy on lighting and water in a smaller home.
A smaller space will also require less maintenance. You’re likely to spend less time and energy on repairs — particularly if you’re moving to a smaller, newer residence. Less maintenance also means less money spent on repairs.
Many people who downsize save money on outdoor upkeep as well. For example, you might move to a home that features a smaller yard. You won’t need to maintain a garden, manage a pool, or mow the lawn if your new home does not have these features.
Downsizing also means you’ll need to pick and choose which items to display in your new home. While getting rid of possessions, or simply placing them in storage, can be challenging, it means less clutter inside your home. Less clutter gives you more room to spread out and enjoy a new house.
Take steps to declutter during the move process. You’ll decide what to keep — and what to donate, sell, or discard — when packing your possessions for the move. This process forces you to confront your clutter and keep only the possessions that add something to your life.
Cons of Moving to a Smaller Home
You’re likely to face some obstacles while moving to a smaller home, and some of those obstacles can be significant. With the right approach, you can overcome challenges like a lack of storage space, fewer amenities, and difficulties in adjusting to a smaller environment.
Lack of Storage Space
Storage is a particular concern if you’re moving to a warmer location like Florida, Texas, Missouri, or Arizona that can experience extreme weather events. Fortunately, a reputable storage partner can help keep your items safe from any threatening climate.
Many storage providers can accommodate items of all sizes. For example, boat storage options keep your watercraft out of any wind, hair, or heat. Full RV storage allows you to keep your vehicle close by when you need it and fully secure between trips. You can even store your ATV to prevent paint or internal damage.
Sacrifice in Amenities
One challenge of moving to a smaller home is sacrificing some amenities. For example, you might find that you now have less space for an office, a home gym, or an entertainment center. You might have less space in your kitchen or less grass in your backyard. Losing these conveniences can take some time to get used to.
Overcoming lost amenities means getting creative with the space you do have. Consider multifunctional furniture, such as a dining room table that doubles as a workspace. Utilize outdoor space efficiently, even if that means planting a smaller garden to leave room for all-weather furniture.
Less Space for Entertaining
If you like to entertain others, you might find yourself challenged by the lack of space in a smaller home. You might not have the same capacity to host large parties or accommodate the same number of overnight guests.
While your multipurpose furniture can help, this is also an opportunity to get creative with seating and living arrangements. Before guests arrive, rearrange your furniture to create an open floor plan. Consider moving the party outdoors if weather permits, where you can extend your hosting capabilities. Use floor cushions, folding chairs, or large pillows to extend eating and gathering areas beyond the dining room.
Difficulties Adjusting to the Smaller Environment
Downsizing also requires an emotional adjustment to a smaller environment. Even if you’re excited about the new opportunities that a smaller environment offers, adjusting to that environment can be difficult.
Moving from a larger home to a smaller one is a significant lifestyle shift. It means shifting to a more confined space and embracing a minimalist mindset. Here are a few strategies that can help ease the transition to a smaller environment:
- Use vertical storage like shelves or wall hooks to free up floor space.
- Replicate the aspects of the old home you miss most, and allocate less space to features you can live without.
- Create multipurpose rooms that might be used for sleeping and socializing.
- Use room dividers or area rugs to draw lines between different spaces in the same room.
The shift to a smaller home doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself time to acclimate to your new surroundings, and don’t shy away from emotional support along the way.
Other Considerations for Downsizing
You have a few priorities to address before downsizing. Depending on your situation, it’s important to consider your finances and mental health before a move. It’s also important to consider how a move to a smaller home might affect your family members, particularly if they plan to move with you.
Moving to a smaller home can change your entire financial trajectory. If you’ve sold a larger property, you can use the influx of cash on your smaller property or invest it elsewhere. A smaller mortgage rate, lower monthly home insurance payment, and reduced utility bills also create significant savings over time.
After selling their original property, many people choose to invest the cash in their own retirement. You can funnel this money into a retirement account, purchase annuities, or invest in low-risk mutual funds. If you’re far from retirement age, you can also choose to diversify those funds into stocks or other long-term investment channels.
Emotional and Sentimental Aspects
People understandably grow attached to their homes. When leaving a larger home for a smaller home, many people dwell on all the memories they’re leaving behind. Whether you’re moving down the street or across the country, leaving a residence behind is a sentimental journey that can affect movers in many different ways.
Here are a few things you can do to embrace your new living situation:
- Host a welcome celebration in your new home to begin creating new memories.
- Create a new routine in your new home to establish stability and familiarity.
- Celebrate the benefits of your new home, whether that’s less clutter, lower bills, or better proximity to family members.
- Personalize your new space with pictures and other treasures from your past home.
Coping with a move can take time. Give yourself the emotional space to move on from your old home before embracing the new normal.
Impact on Family Members
Take time to gauge how downsizing might affect your family members. Ask your spouse, your children, and any other family traveling with you how they’re feeling about the change. Discuss how you can commit to making the new home feel as warm and welcoming as the home you’re leaving.
Make sure to address your family’s concerns about moving before the transition. Create an open dialogue that allows your family to speak openly and honestly about how downsizing might be affecting them.
Moving to a smaller home impacts family members in different ways. Open conversation here creates opportunities for compromise — an important ingredient for success when moving to a smaller home. Take time to host a conversation about the pros and cons of downsizing, from financial benefits to the drawbacks of less space. This helps you reach a group decision on the best way to move forward.