How can I get my house in order before I retire?

Once the kids have moved out, it’s just you, your spouse, and whatever is still boxed up in those now unoccupied bedrooms.

Whether you’re looking for just a little less space and stuff to manage, you might be thinking about decluttering and “downsizing” into a smaller home before you retire.

But sometimes less can prove to be more: more hassle, more complications and more expense. Before you order that skip and make a down payment on that apartment, consider these important pros and cons of downsizing.

PRO: Make a change while you can still enjoy it

The younger you are during a downsize, the less help you’re going to need clearing out what you don’t want and relocating. You might even organise a move around interests you want to pursue in retirement, like a community with golf and tennis facilities, or a burgeoning foodie hotspot with an exploding restaurant scene.

CON: You might make a change you don’t both enjoy

Couples need to be very clear with each other about their expectations for what life is going to be like in retirement, and how each of you wants to spend your time separately and together.

A downsizing that moves you to a new town, away from friends, family and familiar comforts, can go from exciting to exasperating very quickly if you aren’t both committed to adventuring together.

After all, one of you might be happily teeing off while the other is puttering around the house bored silly.

PRO: Simplified living

A smaller home means less upkeep and – if you buy – it probably also means less council tax and lower utility bills. With less space to heat and cool – and no kids soaking up extra water, food and electricity – your monthly bills should drop. What’s more, if your smaller house is relatively new, it could require less upkeep and age well (right along with you).

CON: Simple isn’t free.

There’s a pretty good chance your current furniture isn’t going to fit – or, perhaps, fit in – at your new house, so you’ll probably end up dipping into your nest egg to buy new furnishings.

Anything you don’t want to get rid of you’re going to have to move, either into the cellar /loft or to a storage facility that you’ll have to pay for.

And, if you move to a different part of the country, your smaller home might come with higher costs.

PRO: Living the best life possible with your money

The best reason to consider downsizing doesn’t really have anything to do with decluttering: it’s not actually about managing space or dealing with all your possessions.

The reason to downsize is because that smaller home you’re thinking about will allow you to live the life you want to live in retirement.

That home is going to give you the space to do the things you want to do with the people you love, while minimising the things you don’t want to do anymore.

Does that idea spark joy?

Then let’s talk.

Come in and tell us why you’re thinking about downsizing.

We’ll run some numbers and discuss how a new, smaller home could open a big new world of possibilities for you.