Downsizing. For Real.

About mid-way through last year, DSH and I decided that we were going to downsize.  For real.

In other words, we’ve been talking about downsizing for a while now.  I have been ready for far longer than my DSH.  I am tired of cleaning a house that is much too large for just the two of us.  Even if it means that the few weeks each year that our remaining two college-aged daughters are home leaves us a little less room than we are used to having.

I am tired of spending almost every weekend during grass growing season – cutting, trimming, watering, and fertilizing an oversized yard.  Seriously, DSH is so crazy about his lawn that there are periods when we cut it three times in a week!

Easter Weekend Jack 04 07 2012

I have a lot of things on my bucket list, and I want to start checking some of them off the list.  Before I get too old.  Or die.  And I can’t do that if we are tied down to a too large house and a too time consuming lawn.

So about the middle of last year, I started going through every room, every closet, every drawer and even the basement to clean things out and purge.  Call it my mid-year New Year’s resolution.  My goal – get rid of at least one thing a day.  On some days, it’s a small thing.  I may skip a few days.  But on other days, I get rid of a large load of stuff.  I tick off the pounds that we won’t have to move once we finally sell this house.

Rachel's Empty Room 2012

Our middle child graduated from college last year and moved out which meant that an entire bedroom of furniture plus some extra stuff we had in the basement moved on to a new home.  We went through my kitchen, which is well stocked, and I purged extra stuff to help her stock her kitchen.

My biggest challenge is with DSH who happens to be a bit of a packrat.  I remember when we were transferred to Dallas, and I was left with the task of getting our home ready to sell and move.  I threw away an old stick that was in the garage.  Seriously.  It was a dirty old stick.  A stick which DSH used in some weird tool fashion when working on the cars.  Apparently, it was the perfect stick.  He will never let me forget that I threw away that stick.

Oh, but he’s had plenty of ideas for stuff of mine that I can get rid of – like my desk.  That I love.  So, every evening I rattle off the stuff I’ve moved out of the house.  Forever.

I  suggested / asked / begged / cajoled him to join me in my endeavor to downsize our stuff prior to a move to a smaller home where we can age in place.  I talk about the things that I’m getting rid of, and he has started to do the same.  Whenever he gets rid of something, I smile / clap / rejoice / reward him for participating in this goal of downsizing stuff.

Now if I could get him to get rid of the years of papers, magazines, and journals he has stockpiled in various spots throughout the house and garage.  He thinks I don’t know about them.  But I do.  And I consider them a fire hazard.  They’ve gotta go.  But I’m taking baby steps with him in this area.

Not only am I going through all the stuff in our home, but I also recently downsized my car.  I am done driving mini-vans, station wagons, and SUVs.  I downsized for real to a small hybrid that gets double the gas mileage and is much easier to drive and park.

We also finally put our home on the market late last Fall.  By Thanksgiving, we had a few showings, but no offers so we took it off the market for the holidays.

Hennsley House

Next week, it goes back up.  In the meantime, we have cleaned and repaired and staged our home for showings.

2013 – the year we downsize.  For real.

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6 Responses to Downsizing. For Real.

  1. I love this piece and wish you luck. If only I could act on the inspiration…….

    • Mama says:

      Yes, we’ve always seemed to be at the wrong end of the housing market in spite of judicious upgrades and maintaining a nice home. Sigh.

      Mama

  2. Word Nerd says:

    I’m with you. I want less, a whole lot less. For our last move, we used Pods (GREAT, by the way). The first stuff we loaded was seasonal/holiday stuff, and then little by little, we packed all but the very basics. Right before the move, we were down to a bed, couch, TV, a handful of kitchen essentials, a few duffel bags of clothes, some toiletries, and a small stack of towels. Really similar to the stuff we’d started out with decades before. And you know what? We never once went into any of the Pods to retrieve anything we’d already packed away. We didn’t need any of it.

  3. Marifrances Heiligenmann says:

    It’s a chore, that’s f’sure! I did it 27 years ago, to move into a 2 bedroom condo and I thank God every day that I did it. I’ll keep you in my daily prayers until you make the final move.

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