When children leave home, off to school or into their own adult homes, they leave behind the houses their parents chose to raise them in – houses that were likely chosen to accommodate a growing family. Big yards, multiple bedrooms and plenty of space were the norm for my generation growing up. But when we left, our parents wound up with homes too big for two people; particularly if those two people are a little older and not keen on the idea of spending all their newfound free time on maintenance.
So what to do? A few friends have told stories of their childhood bedrooms being turned into guest rooms, offices or craft rooms. My own parents turned their lower level into a basement rental suite. These are great options, but plenty of empty nesters seem to prefer to simply downsize, relocate and start fresh with a new phase of their life in a new space.
1-800-GOT-JUNK? assists with a lot of downsizing projects, particularly with the aging baby boomer population. The Chicago Tribune recently covered the emerging trend of this particular demographic moving into smaller, more manageable spaces. The article runs through some interesting tips for people in this situation – some examples:
- Look for universal design. A house should be accessible to those of any age or ability, with features such as wide doorways and flat thresholds. This may not seem important to vigorous Boomers, but it could be an issue in the years ahead.
- Make a smart move. Before the move, focus on how you want to live. Think through your new lifestyle and which items will make that possible.
- Downsize thoughtfully. If you’re selling a house, you’ll probably spend time de-cluttering the place so it looks good for prospective buyers. But don’t stop there.
Check out the full article on The Chicago Tribune’s website.