Downsizing to the Extreme… a personal experience

Thinking about downsizing but wondering what the downsizing experience would actually be like? This seller is graciously sharing their experience below, which she called “Downsizing to the Extreme!” They are still in their house until it closes in a little over a week, when we will be able to share their sale price… they were very happy! For now, the cupboards are bare and it shows that they are in the process of getting ready to move…

In the seller’s own words…

Downsizing to the Extreme

That is how I feel this adventure is defined. Selling a 3600 sq ft five-bedroom home and everything in it, to move 1350 miles across the country to a 1000 sq ft already furnished beach front condo is definitely downsizing to the extreme. We “practiced” fitting everything we are taking into a taped off space in our garage that will be our pod size of 6’10” wide by 8’2” long. That is about half the size of my walk-in closet to put it into perspective.

There are two huge aspects of downsizing, the physical part and the emotional part. I’m not sure which is tougher.

We decided to list our home rather last minute and gave ourselves about six weeks to get it market ready. Having been in our home over 23 years that time frame should have been a year and six weeks but we thought we were up for the challenge. Three garage sales back to back to back, adding items daily almost did me in due to the number of stairs I climbed each day to get things out to the garage, much less set up and priced.

The great thing was that our home sold with multiple offers and over list price in a matter of days. Then the second wave of purging began. I decided I was not having another garage sale and began selling everything in our home myself. Using an estate sale company didn’t work for us for many reasons, we couldn’t vacate our home for the sale being one of them. As each piece of my home left it took another piece of my heart. The day all three of my living room sets left was the toughest day. It was right after the home sold and we still had almost two months to live in the house so looking at all those empty spaces each day was tough.

I am a designer so not only was each piece of furniture and accessory planned out, we purchased a new construction home so every flower, bush, tree, paver patio and boulder was something we did. I designed a sunroom porch that I literally lived in daily. A complete remodel meant very trim board and door was selected and replaced, a new kitchen and four new bathrooms meant many personal selections and time. To say there is an emotional attachment to this home is putting it mildly. Then throw in all the memories and wow.

As I watched each piece of furniture, kettle, candle, lamp, bedframe, artwork, bowl leave the house it felt like a slow death. Many things didn’t hurt but boy…some were rough. I have one last item that I just listed for sale, it sold right away but it hasn’t been picked up yet. My big cozy chair in my beloved porch that I sat in to work, knit, read, do my devotionals, watch TV, watch the thunder flashing and the snow falling. When that piece goes I will know it’s no longer my home.

All of this is to say our homes are an emotional piece of who we are, what we created with things as well as with people.

I’m not sure if this method of slowly seeing our items leave was tougher than having everything picked up and moved in one day but I do know it gave me time to process leaving. Did I cry…yup. Will I still cry…yup. How can we not?  But I am also embracing the new and the exciting adventures to come. The move needed to happen for so many reasons but it doesn’t make it easier. I am so glad we didn’t put it off both from a physical standpoint of being that much older but also starting a new life sooner.

My main advice is, if you can, give yourself a little more time to do the downsizing than we did.

Start now.

Contact us to talk about starting on your own downsizing journey. It is different for everyone, but what is the same is that it takes more time than you think it will… and it is not just a physical move but an emotional one as well.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – shensrud@homesmsp.com

Written By

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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