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September is back-to-school month. Leaving for college isn't only a new beginning for teenagers, it may very well mark the start of a new life for their parents. After hassling through the acceptance, financial aids, packing and the orientation with their children, parents may find themselves feeling left behind in an empty house asking themselves "what next". On the other hand, 10,000 boomers are celebrating their 65th birthday everyday for the next 15 years, according to Pew Research Center. These new retirees and empty nesters are setting a unique house hunting trend. Many of them are looking for smaller homes and at locations where they can enjoy different lifestyles. So last week, we decided to explore the topic of downsizing with our experts. Greg Bartell is a realtor experienced with downsizing. Christine Arundell is a professional organizer and life coach who helps clients through the transition.

There are many reasons for downsizing. As our guests pointed out, some of the downsizing is a normal part of retirement planning. Others may be a result of unexpected life changes. While all downsizing come with stresses, the latter may be more difficult to deal with psychologically. Stress may be the result of fear - fear of change, fear of making a wrong decision - or emotions triggered by past memories and lost. This is when life transition coaching can be helpful. Coaches can offer compassionate support during transition, help to resolve lingering issues, and offer expertise in prioritizing.

Supporting the downsizing trend is also the growing mentality of leaving a smaller footprint. Rather than being attached to "stuff", many downsizers now opt for living more efficiently and experiencing life to the fullest. Greg has been following the recent downsizing trend in the Puget Sound area. He pointed out that many downsizers like to move to established cities like Seattle and Bellevue where there are existing vibrant communities. Some suburban cities, like Mill Creek and Burien, have done a great job in creating new condos around their cities that have become very attractive to downsizers as well.

For parting thoughts, our experts offered this great advice -- Downsizing is a process that can take time. Plan early.

After all, home is where our heart is, not where our stuff is.

A lively discussion to get you ready for a simple, carefree and downsized lifestyle.

Listen to broadcast 08/27/13

Christine Arundell, Professional Organizer

Greg Bartell, Realtor, ReMax Metro Realty & DownsizeNW


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