Buying & Selling

The Emotional Benefits of Downsizing Your Home

Is bigger really always better? Not when it comes to selecting the right size home for your needs. 

For a long time, homebuyers in the United States were prioritizing size and space. In 1980, for example, the median size of a newly built home was a comfortable 1,595 square feet. By 2018, however, that changed to 2,386 feet. Buyers wanted homes with four or more bedrooms, extra bathrooms, office spaces, game rooms and all the trimmings – even though, statistically, the actual size of the average household has continued to shrink. 

However, trends come and go. Today, homeowners are starting to reevaluate their actual needs and quite a few find that all that extra space may be more of a burden than a benefit – thus, they have started to downsize.

Downsizing can be a transformative experience – and not just in terms of the physical changes in your surroundings. There are emotional benefits to letting go of all that extra space that can make downsizing the best choice for many homeowners at all different stages of their lives.

Why Homeowners Are Choosing to Downsize More Than Ever

Without a doubt, financial issues are part of the drive toward downsizing. All that “extra space” in a home has a price, including higher mortgage payments and stepper costs for property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance. Moving to a smaller, more affordable home can reduce these costs significantly, and that can give homeowners who downsize the financial freedom to build their savings or invest in other goals. 

However, homeowners also downsize for a lot of other reasons. Common motivators for downsizing include:

  • Life transitions: It’s not unusual for new retirees, empty-nesters, and the newly divorced to prompt a decision to downsize. Downsizing can be a “fresh start” for someone who is at a significant transition point in their life, especially if they are no longer interested in all the work that goes into maintaining a bigger property.
  • Simplification: People are increasingly embracing simpler, less-cluttered lives. For many, the focus has shifted from owning “things” to having more experiences. They simply don’t want to have to be responsible for big properties, because that takes time away from the things that really matter to them.
  • Environmentalism: There’s a growing awareness of the environmental issues affecting the planet, so many people are trying to reduce their ecological footprints. Smaller homes typically consume less energy for heating and cooling, and the lack of “extra” space forces people to be more intentional about their belongings. 

Finally, the emotional benefits of downsizing – while less specific or tangible – may be the ultimate driver behind this growing trend. 

How Does Downsizing Improve Someone’s Emotional State?

Is downsizing right for you? Before you decide on an answer, it’s important to consider not just the physical and financial benefits of downsizing, but also the emotional rewards, which include those below.

Less Financial Strain

Everything seems to cost more these days, and many homeowners are feeling the pinch of inflation. One of the obvious benefits of downsizing is the fact that it can put more money back in your pocket. If you’re currently living paycheck-to-paycheck to afford a bigger home, downsizing can allow you to “work to live,” instead of working just to survive. That alone can have a profound and positive effect on your mental health.

A Greater Sense of Personal Control

When there’s so much going on in the world that’s out of your control, the ability to control your home environment is increasingly important. Downsizing can make that process easier. By choosing to simplify and streamline your lifestyle, you’re taking charge of your own situation. Moving to a smaller space also forces you to let go of a lot of extraneous possessions, and that can make it easier to keep your private world orderly and peaceful.

Improved Family Relationships

One of the appeals of a large home is the fact that everybody can have their own space – but the flip side of that is that separate spaces can lead to a sense of disconnection and isolation between family members. When everybody is always in different rooms, it can be hard to form the kinds of familial bonds that most people prize. The reduced space of a smaller home automatically necessitates more interaction and communication between family members, which can strengthen bonds and enhance the emotional connections between spouses, siblings, parents and their children.

More Energy for Other Things

A smaller, more manageable home can provide greater freedom and flexibility. Without the burden of a large property to maintain, you may have more time and energy to pursue your hobbies or expand your social life. This increased freedom can lead to a more fulfilling life where you feel actively engaged and inspired by your surroundings, instead of burdened by the necessity to maintain them.

A More Mindful Approach to Life

The process of downsizing often involves a significant amount of reflection – especially as you sort through your possessions and decide what to keep. You may gain a clearer understanding of your own values and priorities, and that can turn into a more mindful approach to your innermost emotional needs.

A Bigger Sense of Community

It may sound strange, but moving into a smaller home can lead to a bigger and better connection to your community and neighbors. Smaller homes are generally closer together and may be located in tightly knit neighborhoods that embrace their members, condominiums and retirement communities. If you’re tired of being isolated and are looking for a chance to get more social interaction, the neighborhoods surrounding smaller homes can give you that opportunity.

Final Thoughts

Downsizing is not just a physical change – it’s a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. The process of letting go of your excess material possessions and embracing the simpler lifestyle necessitated by a smaller home can lead to profound insights.

Downsizing is not just about moving to a smaller house; it’s about expanding your horizons and finding greater contentment in less. For those considering this path, reaching out to an experienced REALTOR®  at F.C. Tucker Company can be a first step toward your goal.