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Life Events Series: Giving Yourself Room in Retirement

Retirement is a big life event, signaling your departure from the workforce and the beginning of an entirely new – and more relaxed – lifestyle. Despite the monetary implications of retirement, there’s more to it than sitting on a beach with an umbrella drink, working your way through your savings. Use this Life Events Series article to help you minimize the other stuff, so you can turn your attention back to your next drink order and the sound of waves crashing.

The Time (and Space) to Become Organized

The biggest difference between working and retirement is the time you’ll have on your hands. When you have more time, you may find yourself needing more space for new hobbies. People tend to be happier in clean and clutter-free environments (it’s actually a scientific fact), so if you find yourself at home more often, consider new organization solutions. After decades of collecting memories – and their associated physical mementos – it can be hard to decide what stays and what should go.

Getting more organized at home is all about planning. You do a lot of planning in your life, from family to financial to retirement planning, and now that you’re entering a whole new life stage, it’s the perfect time to also take a step back and look at everything you own. The first step in home organization is deciding whether you want to 1) declutter or 2) go a step further and downsize.

Decluttering: Getting a Fresh Start

Why Decluttering Makes Sense in Retirement: 82 percent of people believe their quality of life would improve if they were more organized. Retirement is often associated with lower stress, more freedom, and more happiness. Decluttering can help make this a reality. Top reasons people struggle with clutter: "I don't have the time" and "It's overwhelming." In retirement, you have more time to tackle the task of decluttering, making this otherwise overwhelming task a lot easier to manage.

Decluttering is all about sorting through your belongings to get rid of unused, unneeded items. What’s great about being retired is that you have no pressure to declutter your entire home at once. Now, you have the flexibility to do a little bit at a time, which allows you to carefully examine what you want to get rid of.

It may be a struggle to move on from many emotional items in the short term, but you will have more breathing room to do what you want to do in the long run. Begin decluttering by going through large items like appliances and furniture, as this will help you open up large amounts of space immediately (and more space is handy as you continue to declutter). Save sentimental items like family photos, scrapbooks, and collections for last – they’re the things you’ll want to spend the most time sorting through anyway.

There’s another perk to decluttering now that you’re retired, and that’s the weight it removes from both you and your family. It may sound dark, but “Swedish death cleaning” is a concept where anyone past retirement age cleans out their belongings so their family members won’t have to take on that burden someday. It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to keep, what you want to donate, and what you want to pass down. You’ve got many more years of leisure and relaxation ahead, and you don’t want your stuff to weigh you down.

Downsizing: Going Even Further

As a retiree, are you considering minimalism? The good news is that you can fake it ‘til you make it. But when you decide to make it a reality, an undertaking like downsizing is not as drastic of a change as you may think – in fact, it can be very liberating. Downsizing is a process many retirees undergo to reduce not only their clutter, but also their amount of space in general by moving to a smaller home. Here are a few reasons retirees choose to downsize:

  • To live without excess
  • To free up money for hobbies and traveling
  • To save on mortgage payments
  • To decrease bills, upkeep, and maintenance
  • To move to a more ideal location (near family, in a warmer climate, etc.)

Downsizing typically begins by decluttering, so if you’ve already started doing that, you’re on a trajectory to make this transition with ease. But before you go all-in on downsizing, be sure to check out the financials. While it may save you money on mortgage payments and home maintenance, there are a lot of costs associated with moving. Also, make sure the decision does, in fact, save you money – a big part of downsizing is becoming cost-efficient as well as space-efficient.

Expanding Your Hobbies

Keeping your home organized doesn't have to come at the expense of all of the activities you want to do as a retiree. Self storage provides you a personalized space to store for the following activities without cluttering up your home: organizing, home improvement, crafting, collecting, outdoor activities, traveling.

Retirement is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby or become more invested in a current one; after all, you have 40 more hours per week to dedicate to other things. Do you dream of finally picking up a paintbrush? Are you hoping to spend more time outside on the trails near your home? Whatever you want to do, space is important. Before you fully invest yourself in a hobby, think about whether you’ll need a full crafting room, a recreational storage closet, or even space in the den for a new collection.

Decluttering is a good way to create space if you need it, but self storage is also a way of doing so without adding more clutter to your home. It’s ideal for storing items related to the following hobbies (and more):

  • Arts and crafts supplies
  • Archiving and scrapbooking family memories
  • Collections, from stamps to trading cards
  • Outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and biking
  • Sports like tennis, golf, and fishing

Travel and Recreational Opportunities

While your paid time off has given you the chance to do a lot of traveling, retirement gives you time for bigger trips to farther-away places. Planning to travel often? Keep your luggage and portion-sized toiletries on standby in their own designated place at home or in self storage. Decluttering or downsizing in retirement is a great goal to have, and it’s also possible to do while traveling. To stay lean, go with smaller suitcases or a single large one. This forces you to pack light.

But getting away doesn’t always have to mean a cross-country trip – it can be as simple as spending more time at the lake now that you’re able to. Whether you want to invest in a small boat or a jet ski, the recreation possibilities in retirement are endless. When you’re done using it, keep it from cluttering up your driveway or garage by parking it in a storage unit at your neighborhood self storage facility. It’s also ideal if you’re looking to store your dream car or keep your camper on standby.

Storage Express: Here as You Head for Retirement

As you gear up for retirement, it’s natural to become more focused on the stuff you have. That’s because you’ll be spending more time at home, as well as more time doing what you’ve always wanted to do. Decluttering, downsizing, and organizing your things is ideal for adjusting to your new lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed. Take advantage of self storage to help you finally live the life you’ve dreamed of – with less clutter and more umbrella drinks.

Storage Express has a storage unit with your retirement needs in mind. Find your nearest facility today to get started!