Not long ago I wrote a post about our coping with home maintenance. As dear husband and I have been talking more about it, though, we find ourselves headed in a new direction. I am not sure where it will lead us but I think downsizing is in it. Yes, there’s a plan in it somewhere. We just have to tease it out.
A couple of things brought us to the turn in the road. Clearing the snow this year has become more of a challenge for us. It isn’t unusual for me to open the garage door to a foot of snow on the right and a plow drift a yard deep on the left side. All this has to move before the car does.
And that’s a fraction of the whole, which my husband normally gets with the snow blower. Only today, the snow blower belt fell off track and he couldn’t finish cleaning up the yard till he’d repaired it. Worse luck, it’s heavy and wet today. With his arthritis, he struggles with back pain a lot more when things like this happen.
So we got to talking again. Dear husband said he didn’t think he had too many more winters in him. He also came to the conclusion the summers, with all the yard to mow, aren’t looking too good either. He said he needed to have a much smaller workload.
As the budgeter, I had been discouraged about the cost of living here long-term. We have a somewhat unusual place here and it might be hard to sell. But because of all the upkeep, it needs people with more energy and money than we have.
Downsizing rears its scary head
So we started kicking around some ideas about downsizing to an apartment or possibly his late mother’s trailer if it doesn’t sell. At any rate, we’d be lucky to find something affordable that gives us 900 square feet to live in. We have stuff for four times that.
That night I didn’t sleep because of all the downsizing in my head. I was trying to imagine us going into a two-bedroom apartment or that trailer, and it wasn’t working. Clearly we will have a lot of letting go to do.
Consider the fact that we have had houses to live in since 1979, and have been in this one since 1989. We have had a lot of interests. That translates to a lot of stuff.
Excess stuff roll call
We built a large kitchen in this house, with 17 pieces of cabinetry, well beyond what most kitchens have. They’re full, mostly because of technology, because my husband favors it and he loves to bake. Lucky for me. We have more of everything than we actually need, and we also save containers for no good reason and glass jars for dye-making. (My bad.)
We have a wood shop in the basement with which dear husband did some Making of Things, such as my weaving bench and woodwork for the house. He doesn’t really like woodworking that much. To make up for it, he has plenty of tools for things made of metal. Boxes and boxes thereof. And he may not be able to imagine life without them.
We have a room that’s hard to walk in because of all the framed pictures, cameras and old computer gear. And books. Well over a literal ton of books.
I have studio space with two looms, a stationary bike and a Nordic Track, plus a load of quilting and sewing stuff. And I have a small room that closes off just for carding and spinning wool. This, because the fibers that get loose make dear husband sneeze horribly. He’s allergic.
Over the years we amassed stereos, music recordings in various forms, and more computers. I also inherited Irish linens for a table acres larger than mine, sterling silver, and my father’s kilt and plaid–the whole nine yards. There’s a Celtic harp and two guitars as well. Something tells me we’re going to put ourselves on the map with Craigslist over the next couple of years.
How to detach from all this?
This will be tough to let go of. It will be nearly 30 years we’ve lived here. That is a lot of stuff. It will be harder to let go of things we’re firmly connected to, such as tools for my dear husband. I’ll be able to keep my spinning wheel, but not my floor looms–they’re too big. Ouch!
Then there’s all our history. The guitars we used to play, and my harp, just don’t get used any more. All the books and records we’ve amassed will need new homes. We can probably get the tunes and tales most important to us online again if we need them. It’s a new world. Our old stuff just won’t fit.
I guess we’ll have to keep our eyes on the prize, concentrate on the benefits of a simpler life. We really do need to have a smaller place, that doesn’t take as much work to keep up. A place like that won’t keep the budget redlined, either, so we might have some extra for fun.
Here goes nothing!
Frankly, it’s overwhelming to think about right now. My approach will be sort of archeological, removing layer upon layer. I’ll leave the tools to dear husband, though.
We will let go of the musical instruments we haven’t played in years, the pile of old computers, all the stuff that just sort of collected. To be honest, I’d just as soon toss the loose photos too. There are organized albums already. This stuff is like shed hair. It used to be part of us but we don’t need it around any more.
What the heck–it’ll be an adventure, figuring out how to rehome our good stuff and palm off the rest to the transfer station as cheaply as possible. Even if we weren’t thinking of moving, some downsizing would be a good thing. And best of all, this doesn’t have to wait. I can start it any time. Wish me luck!
Any thoughts on whether you might downsize?
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