Downsizing – sizing it up –  three things to measure!

You’ve lived in the same place for decades – maybe raised a family in it, run a small business, created a place that’s really you. And now it’s time to move.

Lyndon and I are going through this after 32 years – we’re planning to downsize to a two-bed terraced cottage in the same locality. Believe me, it’s complicated and we’ve had lots to think about before taking the plunge and, putting our beloved home on the market with a mixture of sadness and anticipation.

Location, location, location!

Is the world your oyster? Does the south of France appeal? A Highland croft, a city mansion, a rural roses-over-the-door cottage…?  Is God calling you to a far-flung mission field or asking you to get stuck in at the church you’ve always attended? Your choices might be fairly restricted – or impossibly wide. It sounds obvious, but before sticking a pin in a map it will help to create a wish list that matches how you see life unfolding in the afterwork years.


You may have more financial flexibility than ever: with the mortgage paid off, various pension options, fewer outgoings, reduced responsibilities. Or not – money might be tight. In any event professional advice is key as you probably have way more choices than you realised. New opportunities for financial management are coming out all the time targeting the baby-boomer generation. Provision for possible future fulltime care, wise ways to leave your money after you die, freeing up money now to live fulfilling lives are all vitally important to think about as you plan to downsize.

Ideal Home?

What’s your wishlist? Believe that God will provide just the right place for you and pray in faith for specifics. Your new abode will probably fulfil different purposes now. Do you plan on being super-hospitable or fancy a smaller space just for you? It’s not just a question of how many bedrooms but the layout of downstairs living space too. Open plan or secluded spaces to cook, eat, study, relax? What about the outside – do you plan growing your own veg or fancy a small patio with the odd pot of geraniums?

This process will take time and its wise to seek the wisdom of others you trust and who know you well.

And even if you’re not planning to downsize soon – its never too early to start decluttering!!  Watch this space.

Celia Bowring
Celia isn’t retired yet – although she’s recently changed from being office-based to working from home, so working out her own use of time. Celia writes the CARE Prayer Diary along with many other resources. She also chairs Pray for Schools. And loves being a hands-on grandmother!


  1. We downsized in 2011 from a 4 bedroom detached house in the West Midlands to a 2 bedroom apartment on the North Wales coast. Most of our furniture was donated to a charity setting up homes for mothers from the refuge. We moved again last year to South Wales to look after our grandchildren. We love change, moving and meeting new people and making new memories.

  2. We downsized in 2011 from a 4 bedroom detached house in the West Midlands to the North Wales coast into a 2 bedroom apartment. Most of our furniture was donated to a charity setting up homes for mothers from the refuge. Last year we moved into a rental property in South Wales to look after our grandchildren. We love change, exploring new areas, meeting new people and making new memories

  3. Been retired nearly 22 years. Throughout life as a Christian we encouraged and were encouraged to seek out a living church fellowship within striking distance of whatever home we set up. There can be a real draught once the timetable of a working life is left behind. Also, remember, that the idyllic cottage/location may be attractive at 65 but may not be so as the years pass by. I speak as a Cumbrian where there are lovely villages and hamlets BUT if there is no bus service (and one day driving one’s car may be impossible); the doctor’s surgery is miles away; – as also a hospital (say 30 miles away as here in Cumbria; and there are few or no village shop(s) you can feel marooned. Also bear in mind that one day there will be only one of you left to face the future and moving THEN the problems become more taxing. So, from vast experience of having been brought up in Cumberland/Cumbria; served 2/3 of active ministry here and am retired here think clearly, pray earnestly, and take counsel from people who live in the proposed community to which you feel attracted. Even take a holiday let for a month or so in the place to which you feel attracted and get the feel of the place and the logistics involved. Every blessing.

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife