Downsizing is often the best option for seniors when it comes to ensuring safety and comfort during their post-retirement years. However, it’s also a pretty big undertaking, especially if you attempt it alone. Not only is there a move involved, but it’s also a move that requires a lot of careful planning and physical work; you have to declutter and make decisions about which belongings to hold onto before you can even start packing. There are so many details to consider that it’s easy to make a mistake, but even the smallest ones can cause big problems.

One of the keys to avoiding mistakes is starting with a solid game plan. Working out a budget beforehand is essential, but you’ll also need to make sure you don’t put off making any important decisions. It’s also crucial to stay realistic about the changes you’ll see in your finances after the move; many people assume they’ll start saving money right away, but there are many costs associated with moving that can delay those savings. Below are a few things you’ll want to think about when it comes to avoiding mistakes during your downsize.

Research All Your Options

Downsizing is a great way to ensure that you can continue living in your home during your post-retirement years, but sometimes health issues make independent living a real challenge. Consider all the options available to you, including assisted living facilities. There are several types that offer varying levels of care, so it’s important to tour facilities to find the right one for your needs. While cost is certainly a significant factor, there are other aspects to keep in mind when researching communities. Features like proximity to medical centers, social outings, medical treatment, and even meals play a big role in how people choose a community.

Also, remember that if you’re purchasing a smaller home or condo, there are many financing options available for seniors, so be sure to compare home loans to determine the best fit for your financial situation.

Don’t Procrastinate

Once you know a downsize is in order, it’s important not to put it off. The longer you wait to start looking for a home, the harder it will be when the time comes. Moving is a big job that takes a lot of planning, and if you wait too long, you may find that health issues or major life changes are occurring at the same time, which is a surefire recipe for stress. Instead, get the ball rolling while it’s not overwhelming, and then get organized for an even smoother transition.

Take the Downsize Seriously

Many people don’t realize how many belongings they have until they start going through them to prepare for a move, and this probably includes you. It’s difficult to see things when you live with them every day, so you’ll underestimate how stuffed your closets are or just how many baking dishes you own. Set aside plenty of time to go properly through cabinets, drawers, and closets so you can pare down your belongings. This is a crucial component in a downsize, and it can also help you feel lighter. In fact, decluttering can have major effects on your mental health, including stress and anxiety levels and even your ability to rest.

Create a Realistic Budget

Creating a realistic budget for the move is just as important as setting one for daily living. Many people fail to realize how much they’ll need to spend to get their current house in shape for a sale, or how much it will cost to hire movers. When setting their budget, homeowners should also consider the likely value of their home. Planning out each detail of your downsize will prevent issues and help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Downsizing is in itself a major life change, so it’s important to take that into consideration. It requires some creative thinking and a bit of planning, but it can be extremely helpful if you’re looking to save money or need to take your health into consideration.