In 2011, when my wife and I decided to sell our three-story home in New Jersey and move to an apartment just three Metro stops from Washington, D.C., we had no idea we would be becoming part of a growing Baby Boomer trend.
How would you feel if a relative or friend died, leaving a house full of clutter behind them, and it fell to you to sort it all out?
Unfortunately, this situation is very common. I often meet people who have toiled for months, or even years, disposing of someone else’s stuff.
It’s normal to accumulate stuff on our journey through life. Not only do we buy stuff, but our family, friends, career, interests and hobbies encourage us to get more stuff.
I recently had a wake-up call while preparing for Hurricane Irma. I live on an island, and the storm was on a path to our area. As my husband and I prepared our home, we realized that we may have to evacuate.
It’s lovely to have a guest room in your home, but it can easily turn into yet another place to store things you rarely or never use.
Have you found, as I have, that at dinner with friends if the discussion moves to future living plans, somebody will suggest – to great laughter and applause – that we all move into a big house together.
Many of us share common fears as we enter retirement. We fear financial challenges, failing health and feelings of disconnectedness as we grow older. The good news is that there is one strategy which can help us effectively face all three – living with roommates.
“Much of what we acquire in life isn’t worth dragging to the next leg of our journey,” writes Gina Greenlee in Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road. “Travel light,” she adds. “You will be better equipped to travel far.”
Finally, you have reached the age when you are beginning to think about downsizing. Perhaps you have familiarized yourself with all the practical and even emotional difficulties involved and have decided you are not quite ready to take the plunge.
Is there anything you can do in preparation for the eventual day?
So now you’re retired: Kids are out of the house. Alarm clocks are quiet. Schedule is free. You might be walking around your home thinking, “Gosh, we have a lot of space.”
Retirement is a new chapter in life, and many see it as a chance to try something different and exciting.