In the past, selling the place you lived during your full-time working or parenting years was part and parcel of traditional retirement. Nowadays, big shifts in the workforce, real estate market and economy in general have made the “downsizing” movement a more complex proposition with no one-size-fits-all answers.

Is downsizing for everyone? Perhaps not. It works for some people, but not for all. Is the real estate market today operating the same way across-the-board as it did when previous generations downsized? Surely not. Some people find that smaller quarters or perhaps moving to a new community frees up funds and time and others are choosing to stay put, either because they are staying in the workforce longer, sharing their homes with grown children or other relatives or just because they want to. With the rise of the sharing economy, plenty of people are using what they’ve got in new ways to supplement their income. Another new approach is to join an intergenerational community and possibly contribute time in exchange for subsidized rent, and it’s catching on. 

And what about stuff? If you’re thinking of selling your house and downsizing, it’s staring you in the face. Where do you start? Even if you are planning to put off downsizing and you think the smart answer is to stay put, people are simplifying and reassessing their relationship with things. Also, new career paths, like Online Reseller or Professional Organizer  have made it possible for people to earn some money as they navigate these changes.

Regardless of whether you find yourself–hanging on to your old crib, going nomad or something in between–there are more ways than ever to make it work for your goals.