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Online help for those who want to simplify their lives

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By Reid Kanaley
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Downsizing your financial life, by choice or by force, is tricky business. Whether you are retiring to smaller digs or just eager to simplify your lifestyle and save money, these sites could help.
At, Heather Levin writes about the joys of downsizing from her suburban home to a city loft. "It was one of the best decisions I ever made and my life has become not only so much simpler, but also way more inexpensive!" Levin found downsizing, among other things, gave her the chance to "declutter" her life, and shake off attachment to accumulated "stuff." Yes, she says, "we can hop off this consumption train any time we want. And if you do, you just might find you're happier, have more time, and definitely have more money in your pocket." That's money you'll spend less of for upkeep, utilities, and maybe even health care (by getting away from the musty clutter and the stress of ownership).
For retirees and empty nesters, there are more reasons to downsize, and some are listed here by Joe Udo at Beyond unloading junk, Udo notes that being free of a job that ties you to a place means a chance to explore for a location that will put you near children or weather more suitable to your taste. If you do move for such reasons, Udo suggests renting for a few months "to see if you can handle the transition. Consider this a trial run."
Take it slowly if you intend to downsize by selling your home. Selling real estate quickly often means cutting the price and selling at a discount, says this item at Financial Web. "The point of downsizing is to maximize the amount of money that you have. If you leave money on the table with the sale of your house, you will be defeating the purpose of downsizing," it says.
Don't downsize -- at least not without thinking hard about it. Downsizing has costs that may not be obvious, according to this post by Marilyn Bowden at The cost of moving is a variable, but usually a large expense that can cut deeply into the immediate savings from a less expensive home. Then there are taxes and repairs. And downsizing to a rental exposes you to the high likelihood of rising rents.
Tips for downsizing, listed at the green-living site, include deciding to limit what you keep to the space available. For example, "Only the books that fit on the bookshelf, only the toys that fit in the bins, only the greeting cards that fit in the box you designate for that kind of memorabilia," says writer Erica Sofrina, a life coach and feng shui expert. ---
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