Author and Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom once advised her readers: "Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open." Good advice from someone who knew both abundance and poverty. Yet life need not be quite so dramatic in order to put this adage into practice. Indeed, every life has seasons -- in some we acquire; in others we release. This truth is well demonstrated when it comes time to downsize to a smaller residence. Letting go is hard but often also the best course of action. Several realities make downsizing a preferable option.

Too Much Work

Upkeep is a constant challenge for property owners. It truly is a task for the young. Yet youth is fleeting and decades of maintenance take their toll physically and financially. Taking care of a house also becomes a large consumer of time. When this truth dawns on owners, they see wisdom in exchanging the home for a smaller dwelling, perhaps a condominium or apartment where many of the management undertakings are amenities provided by a homeowners' association (for a fee, of course). When home ownership becomes more fatiguing than satisfying, a smaller place beckons.

A Surplus of Empty

A home can be a place of countless happy memories, especially when a brood of children are raised there. Once grown and gone, however, they leave empty space in their wake. While memories are precious, those now barren rooms retain something that predates the kids: financial worth. In fact, square footage is an essential element for appraisers when estimating home value. When facing a number of rooms simply gathering dust, owners can decide to exchange that square footage for cash and pocket the savings when acquiring a smaller domicile. Don't worry: the memories will remain.

On the Road Again

Whether traveling for work or for pleasure, it does an owner good to take stock and look at the ratio of days away to days at home. Home value not only applies to how it performs in the real estate market, it also refers to the impact a dwelling has on the life of the occupants. When owners are absent more frequently than they are present, the value of the residence is limited. Why make hefty mortgage payments each month when the subject property is seldom enjoyed? Downsizing here makes sense.

Autumn Becoming Winter

Noted above is the burden of caring for a large home as years go by. In fact, those in their senior years do well to depart from a full-size family homestead when they may require more help on a daily basis. For one thing, the proceeds of the sale can assist with financial security. Beyond that, moving to a community where help -- medical, safety etc. -- is nearby and readily available is a logical step when body and mind slow down. In addition, bonds of friendship are more easily forged there than in a neighborhood where new, younger neighbors are displacing the previous generation.

The Great Escape

When families are struck by death or divorce, the familial domicile can become associated with pain and brokenness. A strong urge to make a clean break will assert itself in many cases. While every tragedy is different, it can be an emotionally healthy act to leave the old atmosphere and set up the household in a smaller, more intimate setting. Moving on can be harder unless it involves, well, moving. Downsizing saves money, too, when an income is either curtailed or eliminated by death or divorce.