BOULDER – If you feel that your house is bigger than you need, you may be ready to downsize. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recommends taking action sooner rather than later and beginning the process by getting rid of anything you don’t need.
One suggestion is to move to a smaller home as soon as the kids move out rather than waiting until retirement. It’s a big decision, but AARP stresses that selling the bigger house may save on taxes, utilities, insurance and repairs.
Here are more AARP tips on what to get rid of and why.
Empty the storage unit
There are about 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S., according to the Self-Storage Association. If you have a storage unit, the perfect first step to downsizing is getting rid of everything that does not fit in your home.
Donate exercise equipment
If your home exercise equipment is used only a few times a year, pass it along to someone who needs it. One sign to look for is clothes or other items piling up on the treadmill. Or perhaps you prefer exercising out-of-home, either in the gym or outside. It’s okay to get rid of it.
Eliminate unused kitchen appliances and gadgets
If more than six months have passed since you have plugged in that handy whatever-it-is, it’s time put it back into circulation. Maybe your kids are budding cooks and need that appliance. If not, Goodwill is the perfect place for kitchen items.
Let go of a car
This one item can bring you the greatest savings. The current average annual cost of owning and operating a car in the U.S. is $8,698, according to AAA. If you or your partner no longer work, paring down to one car might make sense. When two cars are needed, car-share programs, car rental, or public transportation can fill the void.
Clear out extra furniture
Getting rid of excess furniture makes a big difference in how roomy your house feels and looks. Start with one room, pare down and see how much bigger the room feels.
Go digital with books, magazines and movies
Yard sales, thrift stores, libraries or used bookstores are the perfect place to put your library back into circulation.With the availability of e-books and online media, very little storage space is needed – even your music and movie collections can be digitized.
Shred old files
Tax records need to be kept for seven years and some papers need to be kept indefinitely, but old warranties can be tossed. Consider web-based storage or an external drive for documents you need to keep and access other documents online such as bills, banks statements and user manuals.