If you have driven around Shrewsbury lately, you have witnessed the annual celebrations of one of our most beloved family milestones, high school graduation. Our newspapers are filled with pictures, local stores are bustling, and familiar white tents and ballooned mailboxes dot our landscape. We have the summer to savor their accomplishments, but before we know it we will be packing them up and shipping them off to college. And, if that new college student is your youngest child, you may have some mixed feelings about this transition, or what psychologists call empty nest syndrome.
Most psychologists agree that the empty nest syndrome is essentially a myth. While many parents experience anxiety anticipating this transition, most couples look forward to having more time to spend with each other. One major transition to consider at this time of life is whether or not to downsize the family home. The days of mom and pop staying in the family home until old age may be a relic of our past.
Couples are choosing to downsize while they are still able to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle, choosing to purge accumulated family “junk” sooner rather than later. The popularity of the 55+ communities is a testament to this trend.
When looking for a smaller home it is important to focus on quality over square footage. Look for homes with built-in storage. Large closets, attic, and basement storage are desirable. Obtain a blueprint of the home and measure existing furniture to see what fits. Purchase new furnishings that include extra storage space. Does the thought of cleaning out the family home leave you feeling overwhelmed? Start with the rooms that are used the least. Take care in disposing of personal paperwork. Central One Federal Credit Union often offers a free drive-through shredding service.
Downsizing doesn’t have to be miserable. Look at it as a new opportunity! With the money saved, book a family vacation, try a new hobby, or save for your grandchildren’s education.