We may know it as down­siz­ing, but this ex­pert prefers to call in right­siz­ing

Monthly Chronicle - - Home & Living - BELINDA WOOLRYCH

Mov­ing to a smaller place be­cause you don’t want all that space can be eco­nom­i­cally nec­es­sary, emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing and lo­gis­ti­cally night­mar­ish in equal mea­sure.

But like death and taxes, it’s al­most one of life’s ne­ces­si­ties these days - and the sta­tis­tics back this up. The most re­cent Aus­tralian Cen­sus of Pop­u­la­tion

and Hous­ing 2011 and 2016 shows older cou­ples aged over 65 and older lone house­holds grew by 17% and 14%, re­spec­tively.

But down­siz­ing just doesn't have the right feel­ing of ex­cite­ment as­so­ci­ated with it! That’s why I like to call it Right­siz­ing. Down­siz­ing re­ally means to make some­thing smaller, Right­siz­ing is to make it a more ap­pro­pri­ate size.

Right­siz­ing is one of the big­gest chal­lenges faced by empty nesters and an age­ing pop­u­la­tion, as they’re forced to de­cide when is the right time to make a move from the fam­ily home and, even more daunt­ing, just how to go about it.

Many empty nesters are so per­plexed and over­whelmed by where to start, that they do noth­ing. They then find them­selves in the same po­si­tion many years later. Many are also sick and tired of main­tain­ing the fam­ily home, but feel a sense of guilt or loss of con­trol about let­ting it go.

So what are the chal­lenges faced by down­siz­ers? One thing is cer­tain: one size doesn’t fit all in all cases, as there are so many dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances. So here are some in­sights in three steps.

Step 1: Cre­ate your prop­erty wish list

Go­ing out and find­ing your next place can be a daunt­ing thought - but if you think about what you want in your next prop­erty, then things will start to hap­pen for you. It will also help mo­ti­vate your next steps to­wards get­ting ready for the move.

A prop­erty wish list is crit­i­cal to com­mence the process to give you clar­ity on the sit­u­a­tion and firm up thoughts and steps to get you there. Items that should be on the list: • Bud­get • Pre­ferred suburbs • Prop­erty type • Num­ber of bed­rooms & bath­rooms • Car spa­ces / car­a­van space • Con­di­tion • Style • Close to chil­dren - or fur­ther away! • Most im­por­tant cri­te­rias (walk/

trans­port/level/stor­age etc)

Step 2: The declutter & how much do I love you?

If you’ve got a bit more to do than an af­ter­noon's work to suc­cess­fully declutter, then sched­ule a few hours each week to do­ing it and al­low a few months to get it done so it won’t make you feel ex­hausted or over­whelmed.

This ac­tiv­ity should be looked upon as a part-time job, with re­ward and recog­ni­tion. Per­haps call a friend and have a sched­ule locked in, such as six hours or two shifts a week. You may have a de­clut­ter­ing and or­gan­is­ing part­ner who needs as­sis­tance in their own home too, so it could be a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial agree­ment.

How much do I love you? Dur­ing your de­clut­ter­ing stints, go around your home, room by room and ask this ques­tion of all of the items be­fore they can move with you to your new home. If you know you don’t re­ally love some­thing and some­one else can bet­ter use it, do­nate or re­cy­cle it! I go into depth more on this ‘how to’ in my book, but es­sen­tially, you need to love an item deeply to keep it.

Your new home will be smaller and you should be sur­rounded by your most im­por­tant things (the things you love the most), so it’s im­por­tant to al­lo­cate

your time to this ac­tiv­ity and to care­fully process all of your items dur­ing your al­lo­cated times. Al­low as many ‘shifts’ as you need and be re­al­is­tic about the amount of time it will take.

It’s im­por­tant to note that you don’t need to know the floor plan or where you will be liv­ing for your new home, but you will know roughly how many rooms you want, so you can sketch a likely plan, and put your re­main­ing items into that.

Step 3: Pre­sent­ing your home in its best light for suc­cess

Much of my book and work­shops cover this im­por­tant as­pect. Why? To make you as much money as pos­si­ble for you to en­joy the next chap­ter of your life. Al­ways start with a walk-through main­te­nance and pre­sen­ta­tion fo­cus.

Main­te­nance is dif­fer­ent to pre­sen­ta­tion. You al­ready know the main­te­nance re­quire­ments of your home, but a spe­cial­ist will list the pre­sen­ta­tion re­quire­ments of your home. Know­ing the ins and outs of your tar­get mar­ket of buy­ers is quite a skill and takes time to find out. I al­ways com­plete the walk-through as a ‘first time’ viewer of the prop­erty, walk­ing through in the way that a po­ten­tial pur­chaser or ten­ant. So what are you look­ing for? As a min­i­mum you’ll want to see that: The prop­erty must ap­pear well main­tained and easy to man­age from the street, to draw peo­ple in. It will pro­mote the thought of hav­ing min­i­mal has­sle and be clean, clear of stuff and ready to move in • The prop­erty’s best sell­ing points need to be pre­sented in the way your mar­ket wants to see them. Know your tar­get mar­ket and un­der­stand their needs and wants so you can at­tract as many as pos­si­ble to pro­mote com­pe­ti­tion • En­sure a feel­ing of light, space and ver­sa­til­ity through­out the prop­erty • Hire fur­ni­ture and dec­o­ra­tive items for the sale or buy them for your next place and use for stag­ing.

Belinda Woolrych is the au­thor of ‘Right­size Your Home, The empty nesters Guide to a Stress Free Down­size’.

Or­der or down­load it at: http:// right­sizey­ourhome.com.au. Belinda also runs a down­siz­ing and de­clut­ter­ing business. For more on down­siz­ing, go to: www.down­siz­ing­con­nec­tions.com.au.

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