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Many older adults find they do not need the same amount of space as they did when they had children living at home

METRO CREATIVE SERVICES - Learn to downsize before a moveAging men and women often take inventory of their lives to focus on activities or lifestyle changes to ensure happy retirements.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows some 76 million baby boomers — those born between 1946 to 1964 — across the country. With the youngest of the boomers in their mid-50s and the majority having already reached retirement age, many boomers are trying to decide if it's time to move out of their family homes and into smaller, more manageable abodes.

Many older adults find they do not need the same amount of space as they did when they had children living at home. Retirees, and those on the cusp of retirement, may find that downsizing is a smart financial move that frees up more time for recreation.

However, it can be challenging to cut down on living space and then figure out how to make furniture, belongings and stored items fit in more condensed areas. Moving can be stressful even without having to cut down on prized items. Taking an inventory of belongings can help the process go smoothly.

Before moving, men and women can go room by room, making piles of items that will be kept, donated, sold, or discarded. This can be a tedious task, but it is necessary to avoid clutter in a new home.

People downsizing can attempt to sell items they do not need via newspaper classified sections or online classified sites. Appliances and furniture in excellent shape may fetch good prices. Any extra cash can be put toward buying new items that are size-appropriate for the smaller home.

Another way to clear out clutter is to sort duplicates from the stock of items. For example, a person may no longer need multiple sets of dishes or silverware. If the move involves switching from a king-sized to a queen-sized bed, donate or trash bed linens that will no longer fit. Pay close attention to kitchen and bathroom items, which tend to accumulate over time but might not be discarded when clearing a home of clutter.

People moving from a detached home to a condominium or a townhouse may learn that homeowner's association fees cover everything from snow removal to lawn maintenance to pool upkeep. If so, it's unnecessary to bring lawn and garden supplies.

Homeowners are advised to look at the floor plan of their new dwellings and pay attention to storage space. This can make it easier to plan ahead for what may fit, what will need to be purchased new and which storage solutions may be needed. In addition, having a plan in place can make unpacking and settling in go smoothly. The organizing company Organize Me says that homeowners should consider how cabinets and closets will be used before moving in.

Downsizing can free up time and money. When done right, downsizing can make retirement easier and create more leisure time for retirees.

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