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Downsizing from a Vancouver house to a condo. What are the challenges?

by Maggie Chandler

Downsizing from a Vancouver house to a condo. What are the challenges?

by Maggie Chandler

by Maggie Chandler

Downsizing from a Vancouver house to a Vancouver condo is something that primarily comes with becoming empty nesters or assists in facilitating travel and/or retirement plans. There are a lot of factors that can make this transition challenging some of which are emotional and others purely practical and logistical. Downsizing your living space is a process that forces you to do a lot or re-evaluating of spaces and belongings in your life. This process of purging can be very difficult, however, what you’re left with often becomes all you need and the new adventure you’re left with make it easy not to look back for what you’ve given up. It’s a new adventure in life and one that many Vancouver Baby Boomers are currently dealing with or considering. Think of the fun  you’ll have when you lock your condo door and set out on a different life adventure!

The process of purging can often have a bit of a slow start. The decision to get rid of a certain knickknack you’ve had on your bathroom windowsill for 10 years can feel like an impossible one. The justification as to why it should come to the smaller space can seem like an easy one. As the process continues, it becomes much easier to make the cuts. When asking yourself questions about these items such as “what’s the sentimental meaning attached with this item?” “when was the last time I used this or even looked at it with a sense of joy“ “If I lost it in the move would I even notice?”. The answers to these seemingly tough questions get easier and easier and eventually you barely have to think about it, and can even become a bit ruthless. This natural progression of the eliminations getting easier is a reason why it’s a good idea to give yourself the time to do more than one round of purging. Even being open to purging as you unpack on the other end isn’t a bad idea. You may find things that you forgot about in the couple of weeks they were packed away in the corner. If your heart doesn’t flutter when you pull if out of that box…leave it in the box.

You cannot start too early when it comes to clearing out an entire house. Tackle one room at a time so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. You can even start as small as one closet or shelf at a time. By starting early and giving yourself the time you need to clear-out a home you’ve most likely lived in for a large portion of your life, you also give yourself time to go through your belongings more than once, you may find the items that made the cut while you were just getting started, no longer speak to you in the same way once you’ve found your groove with clearing out and have a more ruthless lens. This also gives you a chance to go through the process properly and not feel rushed, which will help you avoid purging precious items and holding on to hunks of junk that have got to go!

The emotional aspect of downsizing and purging can be challenging because of the moments you’re forced to have with belongings you’ve just always had the space for and not considered their true value. Moving is never easy and people do it for all kinds of reasons, however, downsizing from your Vancouver home to a Vancouver condo can be one of the hardest versions of moving. When you’re young and entering the housing market there’s the common goal of aiming for a larger home to inhabit longer term. Something with some outdoor space, space to have a family, entertain and throw parties, as well as, something in a neighborhood with a sense of community and a space to build on that. A large family home is often the peak of the mountain when climbing your way through the housing market. This ascent to owning your “dream home” is a big reason leaving the home you may have worked the majority of your life for, is particularly challenging. It can truly signify the end of an era for a family. The kids have moved out, you’re ready to retire and spend more time travelling and less time maintaining a property. You spent all of that time convincing yourself you needed the house and the space and now you’ve reached the flip side of that where you’re convincing yourself you don’t need the extra space and excess of belongings. It can be a mix of emotions which land on both sides of sadness and excitement. It’s a trade of items and space for time and travel that can be tough. The time it takes to let that settle in varies, however, when you come out the other side, you’ll feel lighter and ready for the next adventure!

The more practical side of downsizing from a house to a condo can also be a very helpful thing to focus on while dealing with the emotional challenges. It can actually become a really fun challenge to make for yourself. You have to decipher which items are the going to be the most useful for your new smaller space. Can you find furniture that is equally confortable but maybe more compact? Are there small appliances you don’t use very often and could probably live without? How is entertaining in the space going to change? How are the activities you did in your backyard going to transfer to your balcony, patio or smaller backyard space? There are answers to all of these questions and not all of the answers are bad ones. Things in a smaller space aren’t necessarily worse, they’re just different, and finding hacks to make a considerably smaller space as functional and aesthetically pleasing as your previous one can be a very satisfying part of the process.

Let Maggie help you make the move! *SRES* (Senior Real Estate Specialist). Decades of hyper-local knowledge!

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