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If you’re wondering whether it’s the right time to say goodbye to your family home and downsize to a home more suitable for your lifestyle and needs, consider these scenarios:

You plan on travelling
If you’re nearing a time in your life when you plan on seeing more of the world, then leaving a big home just sitting doesn’t seem sensible. You can downsize to a home that’s more appropriate, and then rent it out for the months you are away.

Kids have moved out
If your kids move out and you become an empty-nester, you likely don’t need the same amount of space anymore. This also leads into the next point…

You have empty rooms
If you have rooms in your house (especially bedrooms) that are sitting empty and you can’t come up with a purpose for them, then you really don’t need them at all. No sense in keeping bedrooms for guests that you may have in your home once or twice a year.

Still not mortgage-free
If you’re still paying off that same mortgage at 50 or beyond, downsizing will help improve your financial stability and help you catch up. Heading into a debt-burdened retirement does not make any sense.

Though there are pitfalls to avoid, downsizing efficiently can be very effective at simplifying your life. Make sure you have a plan, you’re emotionally ready for the transition and you have realistic expectations. Take the time to do your research and be sure you have a good understanding of what your life will be like in your new home. Try to work through any shortfalls before you take the plunge. That way, when you’re ready, you can be sure that the next stage of your life will be just as rewarding as you imagined.

Now comes the fun part – getting rid of your stuff! Here are a couple ideas for downsizing your belongings:

If you don’t use it
If you aren’t using something at least 80 per cent of the time (or wearing something 80 per cent of the time), you probably won’t miss it. Think of the extra square footage you would have if you just pared down your belongings.

Avoid storage lockers
For some reason, our minds think that when we have room to store things, we need things to store. If you don’t have a costly storage locker or storage closet, you will have no choice but to pare down your possessions.

Sell what you can
Make a little extra cash by selling items that still hold value, such as works of art, furniture, collector’s items, decor, etc. You would be surprised how much extra money you can make, and sites like Kijiji make it easy.

Donate
There are numerous organizations throughout the city looking for donations, including Value Village, Goodwill and Women in Need Society, among many others.