It’s harder to leave a home if you have lived there for many years, raised your kids there, and experienced many life milestones there. We develop a close attachment to the place we live in.
We have many happy memories in our home. For years our home could have been busy and bustling, but now, maybe not so much.
Many people in this situation, where the kids have grown up and moved out, choose to downsize to move closer to their kids or to move to a smaller home that is just easier to maintain.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to downsizing. Some take a practical view, and see downsizing as a way to not have so many things to maintain. Others focus on the negative. These people have a harder time, as they look at downsizing as the closing of an era.
I like to look at downsizing as the start of a new era.
Many people love the idea of getting rid of all their kids’ items piled high, their eighth grade yearbook, their first grade stash of baby teeth, their sixth grade hobbies and collections. I feel that many homeowners don’t mind the organizing and cleaning part, but what gets to them is the thought of leaving all the memories behind and starting something new. That’s the daunting task that I see people facing many times.
There are innumerable things that you can collect over a lifetime and I’ve seen it all. Many times, the thought of downsizing leaves people feeling very reflective – reflective of the lives they lived in their homes or reflective of the changes that are coming or the changes that already happened. So when I meet sellers, if it’s a couple, I tell them they should both be grateful they were able to clean out their house and go through years’ worth of items (junk?) together. It truly is a blessing to be able to organize and clear your house together, to have the mental and physical capacity, and strength to do it, and to do it together as a couple. It doesn’t always happen that way, so when it does, count your blessings.
We discussed this concept with a few of our clients and we wanted to share some of their comments with you. The feelings range from feeling extremely nervous and scared to many people telling me that having less has opened the door to so much more for them. When they had a full home, there was always a laundry list of things to do, and more stuff created more loose ends around the house. But now, they can focus on the creative projects, things that are more important to them that they didn’t have time to do before.
What It Feels Like To Downsize
Here are some thoughts from our clients regarding downsizing:
What was a fear/worry when you were thinking of downsizing?
JB: As people get older, keeping track of so many spaces and possessions of a large home takes up so much of their headspace. In a smaller home with fewer items, things they need will be right within reach.
PS: A worry that I had was packing 35 years of things and memories. I did not know what to do with all my stuff. I was worried it would take me months and months to pack.
What was the actual experience like?
JB: Especially if your home is old, consider moving to a newer construction. Less repairs. Things actually work!
PS: The experience ended up being very smooth, thank Gd. I was able to give away or sell a lot of stuff. I ended up not having as much to pack as I thought.
Reflecting back, can you share a tip with our readers who are thinking of downsizing and moving to a smaller space?
JB: Realize that you will have to have less stuff. It’s just not possible to fit all of your things (and often “inherited” things) into a smaller space. Get help! From design to packers to realtors to professional organizers, these people have done it before with so many others, they can really take the stress out of the move.
PS: There are a lot of gemachs and organizations that would love to take things that you don’t want. Ask for help with packing! Don’t sweat it, it will all work out!