Downsizing: My Personal Experience
Downsizing is certainly not what I expected to be doing quite yet. We had talked about it for when the kids all left home that perhaps we might want to downsize. We had been in our house for about 15 years and had many fond memories of raising the kids, family gatherings, Christmases, Easter egg hunts, good neighbours who became good friends, and many a home project undertaken. We moved in when our oldest was in grade two, our middle one in kindergarten and our youngest still toddling around.
The house was quite small, it only had two bedrooms but the feel of the house just felt like us. The previous owners had done a good job updating the property so we were able to just move in and enjoy it. After a few years it did feel too small and we wanted another bedroom. So we hired Tina and her husband Graham, of Smith Architecture, to renovate our little house. The house became all that we ever wanted and more. They did an amazing job!! It still had all the character and nooks and angles we loved but there was more of it and our family was able to spread out a bit more.
To say I loved that house is an understatement. It wasn’t a glamorous house. It was a true family house and we always had some project we were working on. It never felt completely done, but it was a work in progress I enjoyed to no end. I spent many hours in our garden heaving earth into a wheelbarrow to make new flower beds and learned about berms and heliobores and wisteria and container gardening. I learned about wallpapering, painting, old pipes and electrical in that house. I learned about wood vs gas fireplaces, and all the restrictions that come with an old house.
But life sometimes throws curveballs at us and I found myself in a life changing situation. My husband and I separated very unexpectedly. I was buried in grief.
Somewhere in the rubble, I knew I couldn’t stay in our family home.
My two oldest were away at school and my youngest still had another year of high school but he was going to be going away to school soon as well so I decided to move while he was still with me so we could make some new memories in a new place.
I found a townhouse in Kits, the neighbourhood next to the one I was in. I looked at many townhouses but finally decided on the very first one I saw. It has been an adjustment to downsize but honestly it was the best thing I could have done. This townhouse is brand new and has a contemporary, light vibe.
It is big enough to house me and my animals and any of my kids that may be between schooling etc. but small enough that I can take care of it myself.
It is close to the beach so I can run my dog along the water and close to many coffee shops and great restaurants. It has a garden but it is tended by gardeners so I do miss getting my hands dirty in the soil. I think this year I will do some containers for my deck.
What downsizing has taught me is how much “stuff” I had. I don’t think our house was cluttered at all but in the process of packing I had to get rid of A LOT of “stuff”. I passed on many platters, and dishes, furniture pieces and linens. I kept all the basics but really pared down on the extras as I just don’t have room in this new place.
What it has helped me do is streamline my possessions. I now just have my set of white dishes and not all the extra china pieces I had. I have no tablecloths anymore and my glasses can duplicate for wine glasses as well. I have one pot of each size and have to use my hand mixer now for baking.
I was able to use a lot of the same furniture from my house, but I used it in different ways. For instance, I took the family room sofa and carpet and paired it with the living room chairs and the media room coffee table.
I did get a new dining table and chairs and a light I had been coveting for years ( Zettle 5) from Germany. I’m loving it!
I am happy in my new place. It is not where I expected to be at 49 yrs old, but I can honestly say I am me again and life is good.
If you are downsizing or even upsizing(!), good organization will go a long way.
If you need some help, we have Jane Stoller giving a workshops called, Get Organized: Learn How to Simplify Your Life,Tuesday May 19th 12:30 to 2:30, and Wednesday May 20th 7-9pm.
The planter photo is from pinterest