As we go through life, our priorities and lifestyles evolve, and so do our housing needs. What once seemed like the perfect home may no longer be the right fit. Maybe the kids have moved out, and the empty bedrooms and unused space are becoming a burden. It's interesting how dusty an unused area can get.

downsizing from a large 2-story home in Scottsdale to a one-level Scottsdale townhouse

The maintenance and upkeep of a large house could be taking up too much time and money. Or, you may just feel like simplifying your life and living with less. Whatever the reason, downsizing to a smaller place could be the solution.

Do you have a pool that isn't getting much use? It might be time to find a place without one, or someplace with a community pool you can use without the upkeep. Taking care of a pool can be costly even if you do it yourself. Most people end up hiring a pool maintenance company, which can be prohibitive on a fixed income.

Full pool draining, cleaning, & refilling.

We're not ready to downsize yet, but I have been thinking about it recently as we're getting older. We have a large home and our yard and pool require a lot of upkeep. I have been teasingly accused of being a hoarder (and I think my husband has more stuff than me), but recently I've been starting to go through boxes and donating some things that I realize I haven't looked at in years and really don't care about.

Unfortunately, the desire for antiques has waned with children and grandchildren, so I'm taking that into consideration. We have an ongoing joke in our house that I'll be leaving my antique salt and pepper shaker collection to my granddaughter. We laugh that it might be worth.......... $100.00! I hope it's worth more than that, but who knows? Maybe it will be less.

I have a spot in our dining room where I'd love to put another tall china cabinet in that I've seen online from a company in Mexico. But it's big and expensive and I don't think I'd have anyone in the family that would want it, and if we downsize it most likely won't fit in a smaller house. Maybe the buyers of this house would want it, but if they don't then we have to get rid of it.

In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of downsizing, how to determine if it's the right time for you, and some tips to make the transition smoother.

The Benefits of Downsizing

  1. Reduced Expenses

One of the most significant benefits of downsizing is the cost savings. A smaller home typically means lower mortgage or rent payments, lower property taxes, and lower utility bills. You'll also save money on maintenance and repairs, as a smaller home requires less upkeep than a larger one. These cost savings can be redirected towards other priorities, such as travel, hobbies, dining out more, entertainment, or retirement.

  1. Less Clutter, More Freedom

Another advantage of downsizing is the opportunity to declutter and simplify your life. Moving into a smaller home forces you to go through your possessions and keep only what's essential. This can be a liberating experience, as you'll have fewer things to clean, organize, and maintain. You'll also have more space and time to pursue your passions, whether it's a new hobby, travel, or spending time with loved ones.

  1. Easier Maintenance

Maintaining a large home can be a time-consuming and costly endeavor. A smaller home requires less upkeep, which means you'll have more time and energy to enjoy other aspects of your life. Plus, a smaller home can be easier to clean and maintain, which can be particularly beneficial if you're getting older or have health issues.

  1. More Flexibility

Downsizing can also offer more flexibility in your lifestyle. A smaller home may be easier to rent out or sell if you need to move, and it can also give you more options for living arrangements. For example, you may be able to move closer to family or friends, or you may have the flexibility to travel for longer periods without worrying about leaving a large, empty home behind.

Our friends and family are back in Illinois. I'm thinking about maybe being a snowbird in the future with a condo here and another in Illinois. This would definitely be down the road for us. I don't plan on retiring from real estate anytime soon and it's too difficult to do while living in separate states. I know some agents that have continued working into their 80's. I'm not sure I'll be doing that and some of them needed to retire as they couldn't keep up with the tech.

flying snowbird cartoon

Is it Time to Downsize?

Now that we've discussed some of the benefits of downsizing, let's explore how to determine if it's the right time for you.

  1. Empty Nest Syndrome

If your children have moved out of the house, you may find yourself with too much space and too many unused rooms. Downsizing to a smaller home can help you free up space and energy for other pursuits, such as hobbies, travel, or spending time with loved ones.

  1. Financial Strain

If your housing costs are taking up too much of your income, downsizing to a smaller home can help you save money and reduce financial stress. A smaller home typically means lower mortgage or rent payments, lower property taxes, and lower utility bills, which can help free up money for other priorities. Many people have paid off their larger homes and can purchase a smaller home with cash and have money left over.

  1. Health Concerns

If you're getting older or have health concerns, maintaining a large home can be a challenge. A smaller home can be easier to clean, maintain, and navigate, which can help you maintain your independence and quality of life. You might want to leave a 2-story home to find a one-level place.

My mother lived until 95. She moved from her home in Mesa, AZ to get a smaller place near my brothers in California as we were still in Illinois at the time. She purchased a 3 bedroom, 2 bath 2-story so we could stay with her when we visited and her bedroom was on the main level. She had a chairlift going to the 2 bedrooms and bathroom on the 2nd level but she didn't use it much. It was in a gated 55+ community and the lawncare was done by the HOA.

front & back of a 2-story house
My Mom's downsized house.

I realize many retirees move to Arizona to enjoy the weather and leave family behind in other states, like us. Those family members and friends want to come out to visit, but even with a condo you can get 2-3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms so there is space for visitors. Some condos even have lofts or a den/office or a separate family room plus the main living room.

  1. Change in Lifestyle

If your lifestyle has changed, downsizing to a smaller home can help you better align your living situation with your priorities. For example, if you're spending more time traveling or pursuing hobbies, a smaller home may be a better fit as it requires less maintenance and upkeep, allowing you to spend more time on the things you love.

  1. Embracing Minimalism

If you've been inspired by the minimalist lifestyle, downsizing to a smaller home may be a natural next step. Living with less can be liberating, and a smaller home can help you simplify your life and focus on what's truly important.

Tips for a Smoother Transition

If you've decided to downsize, here are some tips to help make the transition smoother:

  1. Start Early

Downsizing is a process that takes time, so it's essential to start early. Begin by decluttering and organizing your possessions, and start researching smaller homes in your area.

As I mentioned, I am already starting to get rid of things. We moved into our house less than 3 years ago, but I'm going through the boxes again. We don't have plans to downsize yet, but I'm getting a headstart and if I get closer to moving I'll have to go through those boxes again.

  1. Evaluate Your Needs

When looking for a smaller home, it's important to evaluate your needs carefully. Consider factors such as location, size, layout, and accessibility, and make a list of your must-haves and deal-breakers.

  1. Hire Professional Help

Moving can be stressful, especially when downsizing. Consider hiring a professional moving company or downsizing specialist to help you with the process. They can provide guidance on what to keep, what to donate, and what to sell, and help you with the logistics of the move.

  1. Stay Positive

Downsizing can be an emotional process, so it's important to stay positive and focus on the benefits of the move. Remember that downsizing can help you simplify your life, reduce stress, and free up time and money for other priorities.

  1. Stay Connected

Moving to a new home can be isolating, especially if you're leaving a community behind. Make an effort to stay connected with friends and family, and consider joining clubs or groups in your new area to meet new people and make new connections.


Downsizing to a smaller home can be a beneficial and liberating experience. It can help you reduce expenses, simplify your life, and free up time and energy for other pursuits. If you're considering downsizing, take the time to evaluate your needs carefully, and start the process early. Remember to stay positive and focus on the benefits of the move, and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. With a little planning and preparation, downsizing can be a smooth and successful transition to the next chapter of your life.

older couple looking for a new Scottsdale home in the newspaper

I have helped many retirees downsize to a smaller home or condo. I know the emotions some people go through when leaving a home they've lived in for decades and raised their families in and created many happy memories. If you'd like to entrust a family member or yourself to someone who has the knowledge and experience, call me, Judy Orr, at 480-906-1500.

Posted by Judy Orr on
Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.