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Decluttering and rightsizing your home for retirement

Decluttering and rightsizing can be emotionally freeing—and could potentially help you save money as you’re living the retirement life. 
 
Even if you’re not planning to move anytime soon, decluttering can be invaluable. If you’re planning to age in place, decluttering can help you get rid of hazards in your home that could get in the way or collect dust. 
 
If reading helps you get inspired, there is no shortage of books offering strategies from around the globe for purging your home of stuff and organizing what’s left. Reading may help you find a good plan for cleaning and clearing, and avoiding procrastinating. However you decide to tackle it, these tips may help you get started. 
 
  • Accept that it may be an ongoing project. 
  • Start small, and gain momentum. You can begin sorting by category, or start with one room. 
  • Commit to spending a certain amount of time every day or every week sorting through your belongings. 
  • Identify items that could be sold or donated, and keep them separate from your trash or recycle items. 
  • Look carefully at old financial records to be sure that they’re no longer needed. If you have a paper shredder, consider shredding any documents that show identifying information. 
  • If you’re storing items for family members, for instance old childhood memorabilia, alert the owners that they can pick up their items by a certain deadline or they may be thrown out, rehomed, or recycled. 

Pros and cons of rightsizing your home in retirement

Downsizing, or “rightsizing,” as some people call it, simply means moving into a smaller home for retirement. Many people retiring simply don’t need as much space, as their children are grown and living on their own, a home office might no longer be necessary, and lifestyles simplify. 
 
But as with anything, there are pros and cons to rightsizing. Here are a few things to consider. 
 
Pros of rightsizing 
  • You can choose a change of scenery, better weather, new people—whatever you’re looking for 
  • You’ll have less space to worry about keeping clean and tidy 
  • You may end up with lower monthly utility bills, insurance costs, and property taxes 
  • Selling your current home may free up some extra cash that could bolster your retirement 
 
Cons of rightsizing 
  • The cost of selling your home combined with the cost of buying or renting a new place and the cost of moving could strain your budget 
  • You might lose touch with friends, neighbors, and acquaintances if you move to a new area 
  • You may not like it and feel the need to move again, adding to your costs 
  • You might miss having the extra space for entertaining or hosting guests overnight—not to mention closets and storage space 

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This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.

Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.

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