Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Downsizing is Emotional!

Six years ago, we moved away from our house near Philadelphia, in order to be closer to our families in the midwest. We had lived in that house for sixteen years, and I loved it. It was a center hall Colonial with three fireplaces. The rooms were large and it had nice details like bay windows and skylights. The back yard was wooded, with township open space behind. I loved that house at first sight, especially the minute I saw the kitchen. It was large and pretty, attached to a casual dining room that had a cathedral ceiling with beams and a skylight, wide paneled hardwood floors and a brick fireplace. It was light and airy and cozy all at once.

During the sixteen years we lived there I furnished and decorated that house in a way that suited it perfectly. The decor was country-ish, with a lot of blue and white. I felt comfortable just being there; I thrived in that house. Then we decided to move, very much with mixed feelings. (My husband wasn't quite as emotional as I was, though.)

When we bought our new house, we decided to downsize. We reasoned that the old house was really more space than we needed for just the two of us. We found a cute little ranch that had many nice features. That's where we are now. It's a nice-looking little house, but the style is completely different. The colors are more earth-toned; there are no bay windows or skylights. The things we had brought from Pennsylvania really didn't fit in. We used some of them, of course, but stored many more in the basement. We have lots of lamps, pictures, curtains, that are not being used in this house. I've been spending the last six years trying to let go of them. The problem is, it's difficult for me to let them go because they remind me of the other house.

Now we are thinking of moving to a 55+ condo when we retire. That will mean downsizing again. It's becoming more urgent than ever to let things go. It isn't any easier, though. My husband thinks I am just a "pack rat". But I guess I am hoping to recreate the feelings that I had in our other house, wherever we go. I want to use as many things as I can that I used there, so it's hard to let them go. It's hard to plan for the future while thinking of the past.


Natalie said...

I understand.

judy in ky said...

You're the best... thanks.

the veg artist said...

In my family, furniture gets passed on from one home to another depending on need and space, but we have lots of 'stuff'. Books mostly - I'm not exaggerating when I say thousands! We also have lots of art stuff, including a printing press, several easels and a beautiful oak plan chest, as well as paper stocks and boards. I also make (messy) stuff in an outdoor workshop, and hubby has lots of tools and kit in the garage. (Oh, and all the gardening 'stuff'.) I would dread moving to somewhere smaller. I can only hope that it will coincide with not being physically able to do the things we like doing anymore. I suppose I'd still like bookcases to hold some books, to put my sculptures on, and walls to hang my favourite pictures on!!
How on earth did the fortunate among us get to this stage? Worrying about having so much!

Jenn Jilks said...

We downsized moving to Muskoka, both boys were moving out, though, and it worked well.
Then we moved back to the Ottawa region, and upsized. Still a bungalow, though, and we are delighted. The cat shares hubby's 'office', his computer and books live there.
Then we have a spare bedroom. The basement is full, and we have two TVs. It really is a perfect size for us. I love it when the grandkids visit.
I admire people who can downsize. Every time my actor/son moves he purges almost everything - although we have a large storage box of his in our cold storage room!
Good for you for planning. In my hospice work we find people hanging on to big houses but they cannot afford (either $ or physically) to manage them. You go, girl!

judy in ky said...

I have lots of books, too. When we moved here there were 65 boxes full. I have been sorting through them and giving some to our local library. It's hard deciding which books to give up.