Right-Sizing vs. Down-sizing Your Home in Retirement

Moving as an elder doesn’t always mean down-sizing and relocating to a smaller home. Another option is right-sizing your home. Right-sizing in retirement means thinking ahead and thinking smarter about what you really want from your home. 

Downsizing Isn’t for Everyone

It’s true that a great number of people opt for downsizing their homes. Moving to a smaller home is appealing in a lot of ways. It’s often a good financial move, and a smaller home means less to care for and clean. Plus, people often downsize their backyards and save on yardwork. 

Downsizing isn’t right for everyone, though. Some retirees feel they downsized too much, and end up back on the market, looking for a slightly larger home that better suits their needs. 

Are You a Social Butterfly?

One of the biggest reasons people choose a bigger home is because of their relationships with other people. Are you always the host to friends and family for holidays? Do you initiate get-togethers for special occasions? If so, then you may not want to give up your dining room or large gathering space. 

If you have a large family or a large circle of friends that you enjoy hosting regularly, take that into consideration when deciding on housing choices. Know that socializing is an important part of your life. Maintaining social connections is important for mental and cognitive well-being. Don’t underestimate how much this matters in your life.

Do You Have Overnight Guests?

We live in a mobile society, and most of us have friends and family that live out-of-state. For some of us, that means we fix up a bed or a couch when loved ones come for a visit. 

If we live near family, grandchildren may like to spend the night. 

Do you enjoy sharing your home with overnight guests? Downsizing to the bare essentials may not leave enough room for overnight guests. 

Of course, if you don’t enjoy having overnight guests, downsizing can be just the ticket to avoiding extended visits.

What Do You Want to Do with Your Life?

Remember when you were young, and every adult you met asked you this dreaded question? Well, getting older comes with that question, too. It’s kind of scary, but it’s exciting, too. You have a whole other phase of life to explore things you haven’t before. Asking this question can help you decide what kind of living space makes sense for you. The kind of home you live in can support your goals and aspirations. 

You might be itching to travel. In that case, maybe a big house doesn’t suit you. You can use the money you save on housing to fund your travelling expenses. 

Maybe you’ve been looking forward to having all of your children out on their own so you could finally have a space to think and create. Virginia Woolf famously wrote that women need a room of their own to write fiction. That sentiment applies to anyone for any creative pursuit. Sometimes you just need room to do all that creating. Even if you downsize your home, you may want to make sure there’s one spare room. 

Modifications Your Home May Need

Whether you decide to upsize, downsize, or stay where you are, be sure to think of the physical accommodations you may need in your home as you get older. It’s much easier to put these accommodations in place before you need them. If you wait until you need them, you and your family will be stuck scrambling to get them in place.

Bathrooms Bathrooms are the site of most home accidents. Adding safety accommodations in the bathroom is pretty simple and straightforward. 

  • Add grab bars in the tub and near the toilet
  • Install a walk-in tub or have a cut-out added to your current one. You’re less likely to stumble getting in and out of the tub.
  • Add a hand-held showerhead to make showering your whole body easier.
  • Add a seat to shower.
  • Look into slip-resistant options for the bathtub.
  • Install a toilet lift or raised toilet seat.

Kitchens Some accommodations include restructuring shelving to ensure common items are easy to reach and adding slide-out drawers in lower cabinets. If possible, walkways within the kitchen should be wide enough to accommodate a walker. 

Entryways and Hallways For people who require a wheelchair, entryways and hallways should be widened so the wheelchair can get through. Ramps need to be installed as well. These are more significant accommodations that not everyone is going to need. As they’re more expensive, you don’t want to have the work done if you don’t need it. It’s something that can be done later on if necessary.

First floor bedrooms and laundry Stairs get harder to navigate safely as you get older. That’s why many people move their bedroom to the first floor. Having the laundry on the first floor is not only convenient, but much safer, too.


Ready to move to a right-sized home? Making accommodations to your current home? Let us help make the process easier!