Part 2 of Article on Rightsizing Your Life written by Jo Ann Harvey and Jim Stanko
NOW is the time to go through your home and make important choices.
Go room-by-room and decide:
(1) which possessions are critical and should stay
(2) which things will be donated or sold and
(3) which items should be thrown out.
You can set aside official documents to be gone through at a later date. Items for donation should go into boxes or bags and taken away at the end of the day. Trash items that need trashing or put them outside until they can be deposed of. Plan a yard sale or advertise on EBay or Craigslist to take care of saleable items.
Remember, it takes time to sell stuff, so it’s imperative to start right away to make sure you have time to accomplish this task. Take breaks – it’s not a good idea to make the project a marathon.
When looking through your stuff, think about whether what you want to keep is something you really love and can use in your new home. Don’t keep duplicates. Consider groups of things and get rid of some of them. Retain only items that will fit in your new home.
Use technology to help you.
- Save family photos, digital albums and important papers on your computer (or on the cloud such as DropBox).
- Get rid of books and buy or rent EBooks.
- Music albums can be given away and purchased in newer formats.
Face Up to Finalizing Decisions
The hardest part of rightsizing your home and lifestyle is that of making final decisions.
It’s like the second act in a good play. You cannot change the beginning or the ending, it’s the part in between that’s messy. You are now in the darkest and most difficult phase. It can be overwhelming.
How can I get rid of this stuff that has meant so much to me over the years? Where do I start? How can I put all these “things” in the rear-view mirror, never to be seen again?
For many, the rightsizing process is too frightening to face, so they avoid it at all costs.
What they need to do is get into the mindset of choosing items they own that they absolutely cannot live without, then hire an estate sale company to get rid of all the rest. Even this can present problems. You may later feel that you should have done it yourself and there may have been things you wish you had kept.
Even more difficult is the act of physically leaving your home, the place where you raised your children and had so many happy times. You will be closing the door (literally) to your past life. You know your home is too much for you to take care of and pay for now, but it seems somehow dangerous to let go of it.
What is keeping you from this decision?
Deliberate. Be patient. Look inside yourself and deal with your innermost feelings.
Do you feel vulnerable, afraid of making some terrible mistake?
You’re on the verge of the third act. Gather up the courage to act, even if it means failure.
Rightsizing is, as it says, the “right” thing to do. So whatever happens, decide to leave the past behind and do what is right for you and your future.
Purchasing your new home: Should you pay cash or obtain a mortgage?
If you pay cash for your home you will have all funds tied up in brick and mortar and unavailable to you on a moment’s notice if needed for emergencies.
Obtaining a conventional mortgage may prove difficult given the new income qualifications and you will have monthly payments. You may wish to explore financial tools available for purchasing the new home you’ve been dreaming of and for which you have rightsized.
A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (H4P) is an alternative worth considering.
The H4P was created by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD0 and is an FHA-insured mortgage that helps homeowners over the age of 62 buy a new home that will satisfy their needs at a distinct time in their lives, i.e., their retirement years. The program generally provides 50% of the down payment on a new rightsized home.
Process Your New-Found Freedom
The final decisions have been made.
You’ve been so busy with all the details of rightsizing your life, you haven’t had sufficient time to process what you’ve been through. You may be experiencing belated doubts and emotions.
And maybe there’s an underlying anger because you were forced to rightsize as a result of financial or other demands. Regardless of unsettling feelings, know that with an H4P, you are about to embark on a new, exciting life, a routine to which you will become accustomed and in which you will find joy, unencumbered.
Take the positive steps to engage in your new life.
Gradually, you can leave old baggage behind and be able to enjoy your less-disordered life. Remember to be careful about what “stuff” now finds its way into your home. Make sure anything you bring in is something you absolutely love and need.
Keeping life simple means constant vigilance against clutter.
Continue to enjoy the benefits of rightsizing!
About the authors
James Stanko, age 72, has himself and his wife gone through the rightsizing process. He is willing to share his experiences so please feel free to contact him at 858-922-4766. Jim is also an expert in the H4P financing option.
Jo Ann Harvey is a retired schoolteacher and lives in San Diego. She loves to write and share her first hand experience of rightsizing to help others who are considering making a move.