Friday, July 10, 2009

Internet Magic Fridays

Jane Booras is the Editor of numerous newsletters including our Campus Times. She will be sharing how you can find whatever you need - photos, clipart, information, maps, phone numbers - on the Internet.

Thoughts about…Downsizing


Four years ago, my husband and I were sitting in our comfortable living room.  It was April, and the prospect of spring yard work and cleanup loomed large. We had just replaced our water heater, and had another leak in the spa fixed.  We looked at each other and in that moment, for some reason, we both decided we were ready to downsize and simplify our lives.  I don’t know how, but YOU JUST KNOW!

 We built our home in 1974, raised the kids and saw them off into the world.  We had always said we would downsize then, but instead, we added a solarium (I needed a place to set up the ironing board)!  In fact, we remodeled and redecorated two or three times.  We took care of most of the modest-sized yard ourselves, as the shrubs and trees continued to grow and multiply.  At one point, we even took up gardening.


 But after 31 years, it seemed that every drawer, closet and the garage were full, and “stuff” was stashed everywhere.  We were beginning to feel overwhelmed.  We said, “Let’s don’t leave the downsizing or cleanout of all this to our kids like our parents left it to us!”

 The mortgage had been paid off for several years.  We realized that the value of our house had grown about as far as it ever would, and we were sitting on (in) our biggest asset (which was probably not going to increase).  Putting that money into our portfolio and renting seemed like a very good idea, as our portfolio was increasing in value.  Our financial advisor agreed.  No more maintenance, no more property taxes – no more yard work and our money would be somewhere where it would appreciate!

 So we sold our house and moved to an apartment.  The kids were stunned; our friends puzzled.  “How could you part with the treasures of a lifetime?” some asked.  But more than anything, we heard, “You know, we (husband and wife) have been THINKING ABOUT doing something similar for a long time.”  We started asking, “Then why haven’t you?”  Inevitably the answer was “I just don’t know.”

Is it resistance to change?  Reluctance to part with family “treasures,” lack of energy, or just plain fear and indecision?  I don’t know.  But I can tell you how we handled it.  We looked at it as a great adventure.

 There ARE a lot of decisions involved.  We started with a plan.  Research led us to some very worthwhile (free) seminars by Senior Relocation Specialists in the real estate industry (yes, they do exist and are very helpful).  We also visited several senior retirement communities.  We finally decided that since we’re still active, drive and love to cook, we aren’t quite ready for that level of retirement and care, so we settled on a lovely  2-bedroom apartment with a creek view in a quiet, newer neighborhood. 

 Then we set to work on the house.  We cleaned and painted the inside of the garage and went through every drawer and closet.  Possessions were divided into categories – keep, give away, sell or toss.  We contacted our children and told them to come and earmark or take anything they wanted.  Surprisingly, they wanted very little.  We had our antiques appraised; then contracted with an estate sale company to handle the sale of the “sell” items, including antiques. 

 I remember walking through the house the night before the estate sale.  It looked just like a store in the historic downtown section of our city.  I couldn’t believe we had all that “disposable” stuff.  Did it make me sad?  Only a little.  I was thinking of the proceeds, and the neat new furnishings we had ordered from Pottery Barn!  The sale went smoothly.  What didn’t sell was donated to charity and provided a nice write off on our income tax bill.

 So after making that first decision in April, we were happily settled in our new apartment by the end of September.  As we sat on our beautiful patio looking out over the trees and the creek, we toasted our courage and resolve.


 In the past four years, we have spent more time outside (on our patio) than we did in 31 years living in our house.  Why sit in the back yard and look at the fence?  Here, we sit on our patio and watch the waterfall and the “pet parade.”  It’s a great activity for meeting new people – both two-legged and four-legged.




We are truly living our “happily ever after.”


So here is one more thing you can do on the Internet – get information about senior living and/or relocation resources for yourself or your loved ones.  If you’re not up to relocating on your own, as we did (and it was hard work!) , to independent apartment living, just Google “senior relocation services.”  It’s a good place to start looking  and there is reliable help available.  Often, your local realtor will have information to offer as well.

Jane Booras is Editor of the Campus Times Newsletter for Computer School for Seniors (

1 comment:

Katie said...

I'm sorry I'm only seeing this post now. The National Association of Senior Move Managers is a great resource for finding help with moves and downsizing.

Katie Hustead
Owner, Paper Moon Moves LLC