retirement-101 Blog

Let there be discovery & purpose in your new life.

Downsizing should be easy

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Because we are moving, we need to stage our home for perspective buyers. That means it needs to look like a home where nobody really lives. Excess furniture, knick knacks, pictures and house plants must disappear! Remove at least half of the clothes from your closets say the relators.

I hold in my hand a Brooks Brothers blouse which I have refused part with for 25 years because the buttons are unique and it was the most expensive blouse I ever bought. But it doesn’t fit me. Then there is a vintage dress my mother-in-law wore to a wedding that I wanted to give to my daughter and the Swiss costume that my husband’s grandparents wore when they sang in our wedding thirty-six years ago. I can’t just give away these items to a thrift store. Okay, the blouse maybe.

We are downsizing now that we are retired, but what if the children and future grandchildren need more room when they visit? Shouldn’t we invest in an upstairs for when they all come for the holidays? Truth—for the past 5 years we have traveled to see them.

So we could get the sunroom instead I offer. But what about storage my husband asks? He has refused to part with his grandmother’s mahogany twin poster beds, and matching dresser and vanity. Let’s buy the upstairs unfinished he suggests and then we can have room to store the stuff we may need later on! This is craziness. Maybe stupid.

Last Wednesday I visited my ninety year old aunt in a group home who doesn’t have any belongings with her except her clothes and hearing aids. Her previous home was filled with her lighthouse collection. Replicas adorned the fireplace; tea towels, magnets, shower curtains and throw rugs all featured historic lighthouses. I asked her, do you still have your lighthouses? Oh, yes, she smiled. I still have them.

My retirement goal is to try to give away some things. I’ll take them to the thrift store and let other people buy them. We all love to buy things which make us happy.  And our taste is unique like the buttons on my blouse. But then we somehow need new things or different things. Now my closets are half empty so that perspective buyers can imagine their clothes hanging there instead of mine. Once someone buys my house, I can buy a new one. “This is our last home,” my husband announces. “I am too old for all of this packing.” I don’t say what I am thinking. You might end up in one room like my aunt who still has all of her lighthouses.


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