One of the new buzz words in real estate is "rightsizing". Rightsizing is about finding the right size home for where you are in your life - people are searching for the perfect space for their needs. This concept not only applies to your search for personal space, it's also a concept that is being applied to building and city planning. With an aging population, increasing density and a greater emphasis on lifestyle, the switch in thinking from "more space" to "the right space" makes a lot of sense.
Rightsizing is often brought on by a life transition and the accompanying awareness that you have grown out of your current situation - your home just doesn't "fit" you any longer. There are many things that may trigger this awareness: your last child has left the house, you've been laid off or you've recently undergone a divorce or the death of a partner. Maybe you're retiring, want to get control over your rising debt, or an injury or illness makes it just too difficult to tackle the stairs everyday. Whatever the motivation, you've realized that it's time to find a home that is better suited to your needs.
Rightsizing asks you to consider thee things: 1) what is important to you? 2) what are your needs? and 3) what makes you happy? When you know the answer to these questions (or have a fuzzy idea), you can then begin to design your life (and home) accordingly.
Often the rightsizing concept focuses on pairing down your possessions in an effort to get rid of the endless mementos that you've been dragging around for decades. It is possible to live a meaningful life without all those things, and by culling your belongings you may be able to live in a smaller, less demanding (or expensive) space. Trading size for lifestyle is also appealing - lose the big house in suburbs for a loft in the city, swapping the commute for convenience and possibly doing away with the expense of a car altogether.
Perhaps a smaller home will allow you to enjoy more of the design features you desire. Your kitchen may be half the size, but you can afford the cabinets you've dreamed of and a heated slate floor. Maybe you've always longed for a greener life and are willing to trade your urban existence for a little cabin in the woods.
A big focus of rightsizing is to free you from the responsibilities of home owning so that you have more time to do the things you want to - for instance, if you have a big backyard that requires your constant attention, but you would rather spend that time kayaking, traveling or going to the movies then why keep the space? Trading your time-sucking plot for a more manageable patio garden will give you the time back and allow you the freedom to do what makes you happy.
Although much of rightsizing concentrates on moving to a smaller space, this isn't the only focus. Rightsizing is not so much about choosing a smaller home; it's about enhancing your environment by understanding what you really want. You might need more space - perhaps an elderly parent is moving in or you dream of starting a home-based business. It might be that you're considering a move to a home with more square footage, which includes a rental suite so you can generate extra income, allowing you to work less and play more.
There are lots of resources available to help you "rightsize your life", including a great book with step by step instructions to help you determine what you really need in your life and what you can let go of. A quick search online will turn up lots of inspiration. Remember, this transition may bring up a lot of emotions, but when it's over you can enjoy your new freedom and the happiness it brings.