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Storage Considerations for Post-Retirement Downsizing

Storage For The Elderly

As you get older, your needs change. Mobility and health issues combined with a lack of children in the home might make downsizing to a smaller home a good idea. It might even be a necessity. How do you deal with this? There are a lot of mistakes people make in the process, even beyond financial considerations. For one thing, there’s the question of storage. A smaller house means less space for possessions.  What do you do when your possessions won’t fit into a smaller home? We spoke with Vernon Storage in Summit County to get their opinion.

1. Clean House

a crowded storage shed packed up for long term storage
You don’t want to see this.

We accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. Even those who try to live light will often be surprised by how much they own when they take a full inventory of their home. Downsizing after retirement is a good time to really look at all you have. You’ll have to make some decisions about what really matters to you. The truth is, it’s a good idea to get rid of a lot of things. You’ll find that the only reason for keeping most of the things you own is simply because you never thought about it. You have no attachment to it, it was simply out of sight, out of mind. A lot of other things might just have been for the kids who no longer live with you. And some of it is just stuff you can’t use anymore.

If you’re downsizing to a smaller house, this is the perfect time to make these decisions. By getting rid of the old junk, you free yourself up from the trouble of taking care of it. Some of it might be valuable and make a lot of money when you sell it. Whatever the reason, it’s advisable to really get rid of a significant portion of what you’ve accumulated. Most of it’s not worth it. If your children want it, they’ll gladly take it, so ask them to do so. If they don’t want it now, they probably won’t want it later.  If it has no use or personal value to you, hand it over to someone who will value it.

2. Renting Storage

Not everything in your home will be something you want to get rid of. Valuable keepsakes, items of sentimental value, things you do use; there are plenty of reasons to keep things. In this case, rented storage can help. Once you’ve cleared out all the things you don’t need and are left with only what’s valuable to you, you can fit some of your remaining possessions into a reasonably-sized storage shed. Depending on the house you’re moving into, this might be a cheaper option, particularly for things that you only use on a seasonal basis.

The trick is to make sure you follow step 1 first. It’s easy to end up paying absurd amounts of money on storage just to keep things you’ll never use. Before you do this, spend some time going over things with your kids so they can help you make some calls on that. Set goals for how much you’re willing to get rid of before you decide to rent a storage unit. This will help you keep only the truly valuable items, which will cut down on the storage costs.

3. Have Your Kids Help

If the items you’re keeping are things you want to give to your kids, it’s usually easier to just give them to your kids right away. That’s not always possible, however; sometimes they don’t currently have space either. If your kids say they want something you have, but don’t currently have space for it, ask if they’re willing to help pay for the storage costs. After all, if you’re storing it for them, it’s only fair they help. If they aren’t willing to help you manage the effort and cost of keeping it around, then it’s probably not that important to them anyway.

4. Make An Inventory List

fall cleaning checklistIt’s very easy to lose track of things. Before you put anything into storage, you should make an inventory list of everything that you’re putting in storage. That way, when you want something, you don’t have to spend a lot of time needlessly looking around the house for it. You can check your list and make sure you still have it. This will also make it easier for your children to go through your possessions after you die.

5. Make Sure The Storage Facility Is Right For You

Before you rent a storage unit, you should check the facilities to make sure they meet your needs. Make sure the facility has good accessibility for your mobility situation. Will you have to climb stairs, or tread on uneven ground? This will make trouble if you have problems walking. Check that the facility has properly sealed units. If they aren’t, excess moisture may pool in the unit and damage valuable furniture. If you’re storing valuables, you’ll need a facility with good security to protect them.

6. Know The Pricing Details

Don’t ever take the first place that looks good. After retirement, you’re probably living on a fixed or limited income, so you need the best price. Different places, even those with the same type of facilities, will offer different prices. Don’t forget to ask about insurance and grace periods. Even if the price is good, there may be mistakes in payments and it’s much harder for an older person to deal with having to move things out than a younger person. You’ll want the best grace period on missed payments as well as the best price. As for insurance, you’ll want to know what insurance – if any – the facility provides for itself so you know what you’ll need to cover with your own policies. This is especially true if you’re looking to store something valuable.

An elderly couple with grandchildrenIs It Time To Downsize?

You don’t always need to downsize just because you retire. There are plenty of reasons why keeping your life-long home might be a good idea. That said, there are plenty of situations where that no longer becomes feasible. You have a lot of personal needs to consider. Your health, mobility, and the costs associated with buying and selling a new house should all be taken into account before you make any decisions. Just make sure you don’t leave out storage as a consideration. With careful planning and a little help from your children, you can make moving to a smaller home a much simpler process, letting you get more enjoyment out of your golden years.