Home > Downsizing...


May 28th, 2008 at 02:02 pm

two years ago brought a lot of stress, the good, the bad, and the ugly. In anticipation of retirement, we sold our family home and moved into a smaller two-bedroom townhouse in the same city.

The good: it was a financially sound move because we cut our housing expenses in half. DH and I are a blended family… I have two daughters and he has a son and a daughter from previous marriages, all of them now grown and gone. We had bought the family home when we married (his children were still in school and mine were in college by then). Once the nest was empty, we wanted out of the expensive upkeep of a five-bedroom house with its large “high maintenance” back yard. Our timing was good because the house sold quickly, and currently homes are not selling at all in our area.

The bad: we had way too much stuff! Some people by nature can be packrats, but I could not believe what we had accumulated over the last 20+ years. I still had income tax returns from 1983 and cancelled checks from 1969! DD1 tipped us about using a professional shredding service (hospitals routinely use them), so for $5 per banker’s box, we safely got rid of obsolete financial and personal papers. Condensing 11 rooms into 5 smaller ones was a challenge. We gave away our extra furniture to friend who had just bought her first house in exchange for help with sorting and packing. We donated 25 boxes clothing and household items to Goodwill and our collection of children’s literature to the library. Although friends suggested a garage or yard sale, we simply did not have time because of the escrow deadline. A yard/garage sale would have been a moneymaker, though, and I would not hesitate to do it in the future.

The ugly: DH wanted to rent a moving van and move with the help of friends and family, but fearing for his back, I insisted on hiring professionals. The movers I found online, and who seemed very reputable, ended up charging us 50% more than the quote… they justified it by re-shrink wrapping all the furniture we had already prepared for moving. They charged an exorbitant amount for the materials and held our furniture hostage until we paid them. So, a move of less than 10-miles cost much more than it should have because I didn’t do my homework and didn’t ask the right questions. If we hadn’t already moved all the items we could transport by car, it would have cost even more.

Although I occasionally miss my roses (I had 50+ bushes that bloomed until November), my tiny patio is just the right size for me to easily maintain. MC, my 18-year- old kitty, formerly an indoor/outdoor cat, at first had some adjustment problems to an indoor-only life but he eventually settled in. We love living in our smaller, cozy townhouse that will give us the freedom to travel more in our retirement.

MC always finds the best seat in the house, er...patio.

4 Responses to “Downsizing...”

  1. Elly Says:

    I love the picture of your kitty!! Smile

  2. managinglife Says:

    Very cozy and pretty patio.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    Our first home was a condo because it was all we could afford. Not so sure we ever would have bought so small, otherwise, but we eneded up loving it. We look forward to downsizing again when the kids are grown. Though I am afraid we are getting accustomed to lots of space (& stuff).

    Heck, we'd downsize back to our old little condo but these days it cost almost twice as much as our house (in another city).

    I won't miss the yard work. Wink

  4. nance Says:

    My DH and I are about the same age as you, but we have not downsized. A large house on a small acreage is not easy to care for, but it keeps us in shape, and is great for when the kids come home for a visit with their kids. We are also a blended family, and have been together for 21 years.
    We, however, have a lot of "stuff" to get rid of. DH is a pack rat, and we need to have the "Mother of all garage sales" in June!

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