DOWNSIZING A HOME, OUR STORY
Have you ever thought about downsizing? Or have you already downsized to your second forever home? Come hear our story and tell us about yours too!
Everyone has a downsizing story if you are blessed to live long enough. Maybe you have just downsized and your story is still raw. Or maybe you have downsized a while ago and your story is good and a bit bittersweet. Or maybe your downsize story is still to start! Today I’m going to share our downsizing story. There is more to it than you think!
I never thought we would move! But we did! We moved from our much-loved family StoneGable home and into our second forever home The Tanglewood House a little over two years ago. I’ve wanted to write this post about our decision to downsize for almost as long!
I think it takes time to digest the process of downsizing so now is the perfect time to start a series about all things downsizing!
In this series, we will talk about our downsizing story and so many other useful downsizing topics like when to know you are ready to downsize, the emotional process of downsizing, what kind of home to look for, how to know what to take to your new home, how to part with the things you love, when to know you are taking too much to your downsized home, how to create a place that feels like home, and how to change your style to work with your new home and more!
So today is the beginning of a year-long monthly series all about downsizing and how to do it smartly! Friends, I’m going to be very real and tell you just like it is!
I know many of you have downsized so feel free to comment and give us all your best advice! And tell us your (abbreviated) downsizing story too.
And if you are thinking about downsizing put your questions in the comments. I’ll try to answer all of them in future series.
Now, let’s start at the beginning…
WE WERE NOT LOOKING TO DOWNSIZE
Bobby and I were not really looking to downsize.
Here’s how everything began…
After church the day before Memorial Day 2019 we went to eat breakfast at the clubhouse of Bobby’s golf course about a 15-minute drive down in the southern tip of Lancaster Co.
We were sitting at a window where a beautiful section of the golf course sprawled out before us.
While we were eating our omelets and toast Bobby casually mentioned that he saw one of the Villas on the golf course for sale.
He knew I wanted to get a look inside them. Not to move, I just wanted to see how well they were made. And there was really nothing else like them in Southern Lancaster Co.
There were 6 Villas, really condominiums, three on each side of a country road that cuts the golf course in two. And easy Villa held two condominiums. So there were 12 homes in all.
I thought the outside construction look so beautiful and well done and the road and driveways and gardens and grass always look pristine. Certainly, someone was taking care of them.
After breakfast, we drove to the Villas, just a stone’s throw away from the parking lot of the clubhouse, and found the Villa on sale.
I could tell it was bigger than the other Villa attached to it. At close inspection, although all the Villas look the same they had small differences and I really liked that.
We took the name and phone number of the realtor from the for sale sign and gave him a call. And within 24 hours, we were in the Villa, just so I could take nosey around.
I was so surprised by what I found! A beautifully built home with high-end amenities. This condo had a master bedroom on the first floor, two and a half bathrooms, a very open floor plan, a large upstairs sitting area, along with two upstairs bedrooms, and a bath! This home was about 2,700 square feet and had a huge daylight basement the footprint of the entire downstairs.
It also had a covered patio that looked onto the 7th tee. Actually, the land the 7th tee was on was part of the Tanglewood’s property.
We spent about an hour looking around and left. Just before shutting the door and walking away, I said to Bobby, “I love this house”!
What you probably already know is how I have struggled with a foot that is really no use. If you have read this part feel free to skip over it. I promised to be real. My left foot became such a big part of our downsizing story!
A few years ago I developed arthritis in the navicular join (they call it part of my ankle) in the inner ankle of my left foot.
I had it operated on at The Rothman Institue in Philadelphia and was in a cast for three months and in a wheelchair too. I was totally immobilized. We bought a stair chair so I could get from the main floor to the upstairs at StoneGable and vice versa.
When the cast came off a pin that held the flange and screws to the bone had come loose and had broken through the skin. This caused a bone infection.
So I started a fight to save my foot and probably my life! It started with a round of IV antibiotics dripping in my heart (this was the worse part) that caused SO many health issues and trips to the hospital. I had 11 operations to save my leg and foot, and an operation to take part of my hip and plant it into my leg.
I spent almost 2 years in a wheelchair and a boot up to my knee.
My wonderful dr saved my foot but because of the infection and nerve damage, it was of little use. But the happy news is I do have a foot!
My life became very small at StoneGable, even though I loved it so much. Going out to the garden became nearly impossible and so did getting from the mudroom to the garage.
I was not able to enjoy or big wraparound porch unless someone was with me and I could no longer go to the basement to get decor I needed. Thank goodness I have an assistant that is my right hand in all things decorating and cleaning up! Katie is a gift from God and I am so thankful for her!
I hope this gives you some perspective to our mindset and my health as we started on this downsizing journey.
On the car ride home, Bobby and I talked about what we liked about this unique home. You see, homes like this are a unicorn where we live! The southern end of Lancaster County has nothing like this!
We both love the layout, the convenience for me, the vaulted and cathedral ceilings, the big beautiful windows, the way this home looked out onto a gorgeous golf course, and more!
But liking a home and downsizing to it are two very different things?
I think we were very surprised by how well-constructed and thought-out this home was.
After a lot of discussion around the idea of downsizing we called the realtor and asked to see it again. This time we looked at it differently and very closely. We took a measuring tape and measured every wall and window!
A few days later we looked at it again. I don’t think Bobby and I could quite grasp the idea that we might be thinking about downsizing. It happened so quickly!
So how does one know that downsizing is the right thing to do?
For us, it was a matter of prayer and a checklist. We looked to God to open a door or opportunity. We told God that if he opened doors we would without hesitation walk through them.
I knew this gem of a home would sell quickly because it is just so unique in this area. But we were certainly not there yet! At all!
The list of things I liked about this Villa at Tanglewood was LONG! But there were, for me, several things that had to change. Remember we were just talking… nothing settled.
- the whole house needed to be painted (I thought caramel was an aweful color to paint such a lovely open area)
- the carpet in the bedrooms had to be removed and hardwood to match the house laid
- the kitchen had to be totally madeover
- the wimpy fireplace had have a grander mantel
- the office had to have built-in bookshelves
- and the stair had to be have new white spindles, pretty wood newel posts and banisters and a great runner
- the upstairs bathroom needed to be refreshed.
Thank goodness I have a blog and Bobby realized my readers expect a certain LOOK from my blog. Oh, thank you, sweet readers! I don’t think I could have pulled off so many things on my wishlist without you. Seriously!
Bobby, thankfully agreed with most of this list.
Bobby’s list, dear Bobby, was much smaller. Just the fact that this was his golf course and he could walk out the door and play gold was a dream come true!
The one thing he did ask for was to take part of our large basement and make it into a bar and game room. I added a powder room in his room to the list.
There was one thing I had such a hard time getting past that was almost a deal-breaker! Although there was a lovely covered patio there was no convenient way for me to get there.
Either I had to go down two sets of steps in the basement or go down a small hill to get from the garage to the backyard.
Bob, like me, had some issues with the patio for my sake.
We knew we would have to make a decision pretty quickly. And the whole concept of moving from StoneGable just seemed entirely surreal. We had not planned to move, we had not hired a realtor to look at StoneGable and Tanglewood, we had not even looked at finance. Honestly, this is not the way to downsize.
We both realized we had but days to decide. We also knew there had been some interested folks looking at the house too!
So we prayed and prayed and called a realtor friend, Rob Hess from Kingsway who was amazing!!!!
He walked us through the process. It had almost been 25 years since we bought a home.
And we all prayed. Our family prayed. And our friends prayed. Then the doors and windows of answered prayer and direction just flew open!
Although an answer to prayer does bring me so much peace, answered prayer does not mean a wellspring of emotion and regret did not happen. Because this was the most emotional time of my life!
Next week I’ll share Part 2 of our downsizing story! I might have had a totally different outlook about downsizing if we had planned to downsize! But this is OUR story!
Next week I’ll share how we waded through almost 25 years of stuff and memories to get ready to move!
See Our Downsizing Story, Part 2, and Our Downsizing Story, The Finale.
Bittersweet is a word that keeps going through my head. We had decided almost 4years ago to move just 15 miles to be closer to our wonderful daughter and her family, as well as a lifestyle change to a historic village. After waiting for the right property to come on the market for almost 2 years, the pandemic hit. No homes have been on the market, and those that do are priced completely over the value. Sometimes I feel that downsizing is kind of like giving up, but I keep telling myself the lifestyle change will be invigorating. We are still waiting for a property to come on the market that suits our needs. We went from looking for the “right” house, to looking for “a house”. We have decided to remain patient until this happens. I think this topic is very relevant because there are so many of us baby boomers that are contemplating downsizing. Also, I think it’s a good idea to put a plan into motion before something happens to our health that necessitates a move. Yvonne, I am so sorry to learn the details of your health journey, sending you best wishes. I am looking forward to your future posts on downsizing.
Thanks Lyn, I’m living a very full life with a goofy foot! Don’t be discouraged. Think of what you have to look forward to. I just prayed for you!
1. So sorry for your health journey. Thanks for sharing.
2. We downsized to a townhome in 2013. We “accidently” looked at a nearby townhouse that was larger, in a prettier location, and had a first floor owners suite. Here’s where I Story matches yours. Much deliberation We moved.
3. We did quite a bit of remodeling.
I so love hearing your story. My husband and I are right there with you in our phase of life. It is bittersweet and a little scary, but exciting at the same time.
You are so right! We are really in such good company! Just think how many did not make it to make this choice! That really puts downsizing in perspective!
Thanks so much for sharing your story. I was shocked when you moved from Stone Gable. I thank God your doing well and enjoying Tanglewood.
We are at that point in our lives. I cry everything I think of leaving my dream home. I know God we help me. But sometimes it seems overwhelming
Looking forward to hearing how you made it happen.
God bless you!
God bless you too in your decision, Jill!
What a perfectly timed post Yvonne ! My husband and I have been praying to the Lord for a few years about downsizing and we are right now testing the waters . We have found that the Lord has been drawing us to a certain area without us fully realising it . If we cannot get the price we believe is from the Lord , then we know the window at this time is shut . We have faith and trust and our old home that was in need of decluttering and a slight spruce up , will be fine to stay in if that is the case ! A blessing either way !
There is nothing so leading and helpful as prayer and listening to God’s leading, Angie! I love your faith. It will bring you peace!
Twelve years ago we moved from the family home to a townhouse downtown, which we loved. However, as our children married and had children of their own, our place was too small for our special family get-togethers. We weren’t planning to move, though. One day we went to an open-house at a townhouse around the corner. It had been on the market for over a year, and no one had made an offer. It needed a major, major overhaul. We made a low-ball offer, and eventually (after months) they accepted. We gutted it, did a 9-month remodel, and are now as happy as can be. This place has a third floor which is perfect for the grands. It has its own heating system up there, so we just shut it down when they’re not here. We use all of the other rooms, including the formal dining room where we eat several times a week. The best part about down-sizing was purging junk and furniture. We now have a one in/one out rule so we control the amount of stuff we have. If you downsize, you need to let go of sentimentality.
I am wanting to move after 35 years in my current home. This series is one I’m truly looking forward to reading. I had my entire house interior painted 2 years ago and used your colors. No trip needed to the paint store! My interior has always been white, love your choices! Thanks and keep writing😍
I’m very excited to follow this new series. My husband and I are approaching the time to downsize and move out of Miami after 30 years here, to be closer to one of our children. (The other 2 are in Michigan, so we will visit there in the summer, haha!) We are very active in our church here, and honestly, that is one of the hardest parts for us to wrap our heads around – starting over with a new church family. I have been following you for a long time, but I did not know the extent of your journey with your ankle. I cannot believe you went through all that and still kept up with your beautiful blog! Will add you to my prayers.
Mu husband had arthritis in his right ankle, bad like you. He had an ankle replacement and 2 yrs later a pin came out also. Unfortunately it was to late for him as sepsis had set in. There was no other alternative but to remove his leg from the knee down. He has been in and out of the hospital too with problems regarding the prosthesis. I know what you have gone thru I feel the pain of everybody who has. May God grant you many more days with the leg you have even if it is not 100%. The alternative is horrible.
Thank you for sharing this adventurous journey you and Bobby went through. My husband and I are “ready” for such a change, but have not yet found the right home to actually make the move. I feel we need to be better prepared for when we do find it and look forward to your next post. In the mean time, I guess I better start cleaning out closets and sorting what to keep and what to get rid of!
I am so sorry to read of your health issue but happy for you that you are doing better. What a challenge to coordinate everything once you and your husband decided on the move. Our home is much smaller than your downsized Tanglewood home so we are staying put as long as we can. We have lived here almost 40 years and raised our sons here. I am at the point of purging unnecessary belongings and freshening up every room. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to reading more.
We had 4200 sq ft. and 48 areas with gardens all around the house that had over 70 varieties of hydrangeas and hundreds of perennials planted when we thought we wouldn’t age. Because I had a DVT and both lungs full of embolisms, it took 3 years to sell and we moved to 17 acres on the other side of town. We were going to build at the ripe age of 75 . We moved into a 288 sq ft hovel on the land to watch the build. Immediately covid hit and I began some kind of auto immune disease that hit every joint in my body.. With the price in building doubling we paused for what we thought would be a short while. Now a year later., we are just beginning to build. I have not gone anywhere except docs for a year and my illness has me in a wheelchair. I am determined to get better and enjoy our new house.
So very sorry about yoir health Ruth ! May God heal you quickly and hope your new beautiful home will go off without a hitch and you will be enjoying it soon ! Prayers💯😀🙏Cindy
I am not sure if we actually downsized, or “resized,” as they call it. Six years ago we went from a 4 bedroom colonial to a ranch with a guest suite (we use a third bedroom as a study), and two years later added another family room and full bath to the basement, resulting in the same square footage! The key is that we can live on the first floor if necessary, and we currently have extra space if we want or need it. Bottom line, we are so glad we moved. It forced us to keep what was important to us, and get rid of what wasn’t, because open floor plans require less “stuff”. Your blog has given me invaluable inspiration in setting up and decorating this house. I don’t think I could have done it without you!
You are so right about resizing! We need to find a home what is “right” for us!
Sad to say, a dear friend of mine is downsizing the hard way. When she and her husband divorced years ago, my friend kept the house. It was beautifully decorated, and had been the backdrop for raising her only child and celebrating holidays and special occasions with family and friends. The house meant the world to her.
After her daughter relocated, got married, and gave birth to her grandson, my friend went to live with them to help with the baby. When the baby turned out to have special needs, my friend stayed on, returning to her original home periodically to check on things and to take a break.
I had suggested that she sell the house and purchase a Condo so she could still visit her home city from time to time, but the house meant too much to her, and she wasn’t interested in giving it up.
Then Hurricane Ida hit. The roof was damaged, and windows were broken. Water came in through the windows – even the undamaged ones – and the interior of the house sustained a lot of water damage. When the officials finally let homeowners back in the neighborhood, my poor friend’s heart was broken.
Deciding that the well-being of her grandson was more important than the house, my friend made the decision to sell her house. With the assistance of an estate sale company, she sold her surviving furniture and decor. Giving up some of her prized possessions was very difficult, because they held a lot of memories for her.
Now her house is empty and is listed for sale. She will always carry her precious memories in her heart, but she will no longer have the burden of maintaining her home while living in another state. And now she is free to focus her attention on her grandson.
This is a sad story! I pray the best for her.
Can’t wait for the next segment! We downsized about 5 years ago & did not do it the smart way. Still have 2 storage units full of “stuff”. I’ll be paying close attention! Thank you for sharing your story.
I had to laugh out loud when I read you were “downsizing” to 2700 sq ft!! We have lived in our 1250 sq ft home for the past 45 years. What I wouldn’t give to live in a home your size with a full basement! We definitely follow the rule one thing in, one thing out.
My husband and I are both recently retired and say at least now we don’t have the stress of downsizing!
Don’t get me wrong, we truly are thankful for the blessings we have, but with 5 grandkids we’d love to have more space when they’re all here visiting!
I’m happy you found a home to better fit your needs!
We all need to “rightsize”, don’t we?
Thank you, Yvonne. I assure you that she greatly appreciates your prayers.
Yvonne, all I can say is WOW! What an ordeal you and your husband have been through. While my husband and I are not quite ready to downsize (our home is mid-size, anyway), I was riveted by your account about your left ankle. I am facing the EXACT SAME scenario and was told last week that my only option (apart from doing nothing) is the same kind of surgery you underwent. This is giving me pause, for sure. As a follower of Jesus, I already know not to rush ahead without praying about something, doing my homework, and even waiting if necessary. So, for now, I’m going to postpone any thought of surgery, learn how to live joyfully with my limitations, and see what God has in store. God bless you, Yvonne, and thanks for being so transparent.
Hi Yvonne, we have downsized twice now. The first time was our move to Lancaster Co We sold lots of our NC made furniture. It was a little freeing to purge some. The most important thing I did when we moved was to align myself with a church and a Bible study. Fortunately I found a wonderful Bible study with an amazing teacher. That teacher was you Yvonne! I do miss learning and growing with you. We have now moved to South Carolina and the search for a Church and Bible starts all over. This search will be much harder with all that is happening with the pandemic. I do know God is in control and will direct my steps.we sold everything we could before we left PA because we could replace our furniture cheaper in the south than what it would cost us to pay a moving company and then store everything. (It still cost close to $10,000.00 to haul and store what we kept. So keep that in mind if you downsize long distance. BTW Rob Hess is a Realtor I would recommend!!
This is going to be a great series, and I am looking forward to reading all the comments. Thank you for addressing this topic.
Love love this series hubby and I go back and forth on downsizing so many emotions and issues to consider, thanks looking forward to your thoughts and ideas!
I don’t think we’ll ever move from our lifelong home and that’s ok with me. My husband and I would be the perfect candidates for Love It or List It. He’s the one that wants to move. We’ve been in this home for 30 years and he would like something brand new, something that he has a say on design and color choices, he also wants acreage. I think that we have so many unfinished projects and ideas for this current home and that we haven’t “given it a chance”. The things we’re talking about in a new home would cost money and time to maintain…not something I want to do as I advance in age. The only way I’d concede is if we found a one-story home, with a pool, a non-existent basement (not gonna happen in Texas), where we don’t have a mortgage going into retirement…he’s been looking, but he procrastinates such a long time in making a decision, doesn’t want to pay $100 over market (reality in Texas now), that it’s off the market within days!
We lived in a very beautiful large home that we designed and had built when our children were young. Our children now have families of their own,and thankfully live nearby. When we decided to put our house on the market, as it was just to large for us then.The house sold in one day! Everything was so fast it was hard to process and kind of numbing! I remember moving day so vividly though! My hubby was directing the movers and my children came over keep me company on our back deck. Such a pretty day it was, a sad one too as we couldn’t help remembering so many wonderful blessings we had growing up in that home. Then we saw our new home …Gods gift to us! As we drove up ,the house spoke to us( not in so many words) I knew this was the place and said it out loud before we even walked in the door! My hubby and children laughed. There, before us stood sweet little yellow farmhouse with many beautiful old sugar maple trees on its acre of property.They gently shade the house in the summer ,but let in plenty of light in the winter! The house is absolutely welcoming and charming! We are so happy to be here!
Oh, what a lovely story!
Your story is similar to mine. My husband and I found ourselves facing health issues and mobility limitations in our dream home. It was an English country cottage style that I adored but it had laundry in the basement and bedrooms upstairs. Three levels of living became nearly impossible. We sold this home in 2018 and sold about half of our possessions. We had accumulated so much in 23 years in one house! We moved 900 miles to a single level home that worked for us. I am now near my only 2 grandchildren. My husband unfortunately lost his valiant fight with health issues brought about by exposure to Agent Orange last January. This house is large but I will remain here unless circumstances force a change. I am very lucky to have my youngest child living with me. She is a great help with the “heavy lifting” chores I can no longer manage. My advice to others is to get rid of anything you can when downsizing. A new home has a different feel and will probably not fit with your old decor.
Thank you for your story. We plan on downsizing within the next few years so I’m holding on to every word. My question is about a dining room……we are hoping to build our downsized home. Do I add the extra space to the great room when it’s used so rarely (basically for family holidays as long as I’m able to cook)? I currently have, what I’ll call a kitchen table, similar to yours. It’s beautiful but can only hold 5 people comfortably. I know you love to have family and friend gatherings. What do you do now and how did you come to terms with that?
I am also interested in your answer for this, Yvonne.
We recently built our retirement home. When I was looking at potential house plans, I saw that older plans had a breakfast nook off of the kitchen, and a separate dining room. The newer plans seemed to eliminate the dedicated dining room but expanded the breakfast nook to make it large enough to accommodate a dining room-sized table. Since the back of our house overlooks a lake, I wanted as many living spaces as possible to overlook the view. Our great room/kitchen/dining room are an open concept plan in an “L” shaped configuration, with the great room at one end, the kitchen at the other, and the dining room off of the kitchen and around the corner from the great room. We only just moved in, so I don’t have a lot of input yet as to how this floor plan will serve our needs, but I expect it to work out very well.
Looking forward to this series. I hope to move to a 55 and over community within the next few years so this should be helpful info Your story will be interesting to hear. I too am sorry for your foot issues but happy to heat you are doing well and adjusting to the change.
I have followed your blog for years and recall your ankle issues, did not realize the extent of your problems. Bless your Heart and Bobby’s too. We “right sized” about 3 years ago. We were living in our forever home having just installed hardwood floors, plantation shutters and my brick flooring in the kitchen. Our sweet young neighbors told us about a lake house where the deal had fallen through. DH and I drove up with our neighbors, got out of the truck and looked at each other – we knew we were moving. We don’t regret the move and like your DH, Bobby, never dreamed it would happen for us. We are now living the dream! I do miss our large jacuzzi tub and DH misses his workshop. I felt the Lord guiding us the entire process.
We’re in that terrible stage of trying to make a decision about downsizing, but unfortunately in our area every villa that comes on the market also has dozens of interested buyers. Before we can call a realtor and see the property there is a contract on it. Then there is the problem of how to leave a place that was my home from the moment I walked in the front door (just looking at a new build, 27 years ago!) We keep circling back to the convenience of having a smaller home so we don’t need to work quite so hard. And then there are the many decisions about what to keep and what to let go. I continue to pray asking for direction and clarity and I know that when the time is right, the door will open for us. Thank you for sharing your story.
You are voicing just how hard to make the decision to downsize is! We have lots to talk about in the series!
We downsized three years ago. I approached it with the mindset that “now I can pare down to what I truly love the most!” It is a compliment and testimony to God’s faithfulness when friends and family our age come in and say, “We need to do this!” Of course we know, as you said, everyone has their own downsizing time in story.
I can’t wait to hear the rest of your story. And thank you so much for baring your soul about the medical journey you have been on for the last couple of years.
You have been and are such an amazing inspiration to your readers and I am sure, all those who know you. Your joy in the Lord, no matter the circumstances, proves that “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” Thank you.
And may I encourage Deborah to check out “Praying Medic” on social media for encouragement with her ankle issues.
Comment to Sheri about letting go of things.
Food for thought: It’s not too hard to let go of the “junk”, but the cherished items are soul jerkers. We found that by starting with the pieces or items we loved most AND that fit the downsized home (both spatially and aesthetically) we could develop a blueprint for materially downsizing.
The cherished things that didn’t fit the new home were offered to our children and grandchildren. That way we ALL could still enjoy them! We realized that if we kept anything that didn’t make the cut, it would become a burden to us by storing it and a burden to our family when we passed. Who wants that legacy??? Hope this helps. 😉
Thank you for sharing your story. We are in a similar stage of life, and are faithfully praying over the next step.
Wow, what a story, Yvonne. Like you I have a problem with my left foot. Born with a club foot I had my share of surgeries at a young age. What I didn’t expect was that in my 40’s arthritis and wear and tear would cause so much havoc in my life. I returned from a trip to Italy in a wheelchair. Young doctors today are not familiar with this condition and see surgery as the only option. Lucky for me an older doctor in the practice told me I wasn’t ready for that type of intervention. I’m glad I listened because at 69 I make do with medication and learning to pace myself. Again, like you, I have the most wonderful husband who continuously finds ways to help me get around.
Six years ago we began our downsizing journey waiting nearly a year to make an offer on our home. We downsized from a two story colonial to a mid-century ranch on a lake circa 1960. Only this past year have we come to feel this was not a mistake. The little house has turned out to be a really good home with features that we never realized we would someday need. One major reason was to have all my living area on one floor. There is nothing worse for me than stairs. I struggle to lose weight which has been difficult especially after covid. So many well-meaning people tadvise me to exercise yet my doctor says no.
But we feel so very fortunate to be here on a small lake in central Massachusetts where my husband has made two very shallow steps from the dock to the boat! Of course, your home is nearly three times our size, the main floor being just about 1000 square feet, I ant imagine what it would be like to have that much space in retirement!
Looking forward to the rest of your story, Yvonne!
I had no idea you went through all that pain and anguish with you ankle and leg. So glad you are healthy now. I loved your former home and love this one also with your changes to make it YOU. Looking forward to reading more of your story!
I’m doing much better Linda! Thank you for your sweet concern.
We are in the process of downsizing & moving back to Al where our children & grandchildren live. I am trying to let things go but having a hard time but not knowing what we will have room for in the next home. Should we buy first so we know what to keep or sell & then purchase?
I think this is one of the most common issues of downsizing! We will certainly spend time talking about how to let go of sentimental things in the series.
Husband retires Jan 28th I have decided my idea of down size and his well they are much different. I pictured less square footage over all, he on the other hand thought of it as less wasted space. Lol we bought our home in July on a golf course we both play. I knew the moment we walked in. I felt at peace. The vibe was beautiful and we got in before it went on the market and bought at a great price. We are now remodeling before we move in next week. The unfinished basement is next and where the downsize ends lol. I am excited and looking forward to this new stage of life.
This post is so timely! We just made a move after 22 years in the same home. All the memories and 5 kids raised there, as well as the addition of grandchildren who also loved our huge home made it very difficult. We moved in Oct. to a still large home but lost about 1500 sq ft. It’s been a really trial and challenge to make it work and am continuing to work through it in getting rid of items and needing furniture more appropriately sized for the new space… would love some advice and help in this very emotional and difficult endeavor. Thank you for sharing your story, Yvonne!
I am saddened to hear of your health issues.I am going through some health issues now, one similar to yours.We decided to downsize 6 years ago.We left New Jersey and headed south.We now have a smaller home and everything is on one level.I am still getting rid of furniture and miscellaneous that just doesn’t fit.It’s so hard to know what will what work and what won’t.I think your taste changes to fit the home.Always a work in progress.Can’t wait to read more of your series.Prayers for continued good health.
What a timely post! Sorry this is long, but here’s our story: We downsized about the same time – about 2.5 years ago. When we became empty nesters, and our 20+ year old house was needing a complete update as well as a few costly repairs, we began a systematic search for our new house. This started 5-6 years ago. We had a list of things important to us (1 story, condo living, warm climate, access to good health care, proximity to major airport and with social opportunities to enable us to make new friends) We stumbled across the over-55 concept of communities and zeroed in on those. We weren’t adverse to moving from Texas and explored several areas of the country (Phoenix, Scottsdale, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, etc) We came to the conclusion “there’s no place like home” – we wanted to stay in our Dallas based area because the list we made was satisfied by everything in our area! Except the house! Then, our very favorite model was coming to a brand new neighborhood being built just 5 miles up the road! Building a home was a bucket list item for us, so we bit the bullet, paid the premium for the lot we wanted, and the fun began! It was about an 18 month project to build, which gave us time to get rid of furniture and belongings and keep just what we love (that was super hard, but got easier with time. Once we decided “sentimental furniture” was not a reason to keep things, it helped!!). Yvonne’s blog was such a HUGE help to us choosing colors & features in our new space. I love her style and emulating it gave me the home we wanted. Light, airy, lots of antiques! It’s still a work in progress, as we’re doing much of the work ourselves, but its a labor of love. No regrets!!
Ok, so we sort of “side-size”. Is there such a thing? Similar size but different layout. We are empty nesters and wanted some room for when the grand babies come to visit. Through the process we let go of many things. As I began packing things up I said to myself, does this bring me joy and serve us right now? I continually ask myself these questions every time I bring something into my house and practice keeping things simple. Not always easy! WHEN we decide to move again in a few years, I hope the downsizing process will be easier.
Can’t wait for the next segment! We downsized about 5 years ago & did not do it the smart way. Still have 2 storage units full of “stuff”. I’ll be paying close attention! Thank you for sharing your story.
I am so excited for this series. We too are planning a downsize, although very different from most. We are planning a large addition on our current home that my husband and I will move into. An in-law suite per se. It will have a garage below (3 car) with living above. A 2 bedroom 1.5 bath with an open kitchen, dining, living area. We are still in the planning stages. Our son and DIL who currently live with us, will stay in the main part of the house. We are excited but also, as you said, a little “bitter sweet” about it. It will not be that much smaller than what we have now (A 3 bedroom ranch) but the layout will be different. Anyway, I can’t wait to read the next post and what others have to say on this subject.
Oh, I would have loved to do this too! But at the time we made the decision to move our children lived in a different state. I think you are so so lucky!
First let me say I am sorry to hear about all you have been dealing with health wise. You will be in my prayers.
We made the decision to sell our house 6 years ago and build a new home on family property. We downsized to a certain extent but we did purge many things before we moved. I was a little shocked when you announced that Stonegable had been sold. I discovered your blog about the time we started discussing our new home. I loved the farmhouse style and Stonegable reflected how I wanted our new home to look. I scoured your blog posts and photos and got so many ideas. Thank you for that! Your new home is beautiful and I love what you have done with it. I am glad things turned out well for you and you found Tanglewood at just the right moment in your life. I look forward to reading the next installment. Much love and admiration!
Hello, we did everything backwards. Because we had a job that moved us a lot, we didn’t buy a house till we were in our sixties. The last job change didn’t happen, he was in Government finance, so we’re considering doing our own business. Now, instead of moving, we’re believing to hang on to the house we have. God has a plan and that’s what we want to fulfill. I do so admire how you’ve come through all of your challenges. You, blessed and healed lady, are an overcomer. Thank you for all you do and share with all of us! I admire you so much.
Oh, yes I am an overcomer on more than one level! Rev 2:7
I just love how you prayed for God to direct you. He gave you a totally unexpected surprise. Thank you for the encouragement.
He ALWAYS takes us on a learning and leaning journey when we follow Him!
I am so sorry to hear about your illness. I know you are relieved to have a master on the main level. My story is quite the opposite and something I never imagined. We moved from out of state to be near our son and his family. We always planned to move back to Atlanta at some point. Our grandchildren were young, and we did not want to miss those precious years with them. Long story short, we ended up finding a much sought after lot in our area and built an even larger home than the one we left. To get the lot we wanted it was necessary to build at a minimum of square footage. (HOA regulation). We got the house we always dreamed of and actually use all 4500 sq feet. It was a wise financial investment as well. We have not looked back and are so glad we did. We did all this in our late 60’s eight years ago. Crazy, I know. Everyone has a story. Hopefully our future years continue to remain healthy ones and the same for you and your family.
Crazy but I know what you mean about accommodating our precious family. Right now we are thinking about knocking out a wall and adding a bunk room upstairs for our 5 grandchildren,
You are right! Downsizing was one of the most emotional times of MY life, even though it was the right thing to do and the timing was right. When it came down to the dining room table where I had such happy memories of teaching my granddaughter about place settings, napkins and sitting up “like a big girl”, tears rolled. But I think it is important to make these decisions while we can still manage on our own, think for ourselves, etc. Don’t wait until your children have to get an attorney to manage your estate. Do some planning TODAY. Think about yours and your spouses health needs in the future. Conveniences such as going to the grocery store, the pharmacy, nearness to hospitals, doctors, etc. And chances are, you may even do this again if one spouse should die. We were very blessed to have done this when we did. Are there still things I miss? Yes. But we have everything we need.
Hi Yvonne, looking forward to this series. My husband and I are talking about this issue right now. Due to my health and too many steps, it’s become a problem that we are facing. Can’t wait to read your next installment.
I so need this blog right now! My husband and I downsized 9 years ago but need to make one last move to a smaller place on one level that we can plan to stay in forever. (We thought it was this one, but realize that its not.) We are looking at a place with levels of care that one or both of us may need in the future. At nearly 80, the time is now to do this. Our children do not live near and we want to make these decisions before one of them needs to make it for us. The problem of course is how to dispose of family heirlooms; furniture, crystal, and other treasure that are a part of my heritage. There will not be room for much in a smaller place. Your future tips will be greatly appreciated.
my husband and I downsized from a John Weiland 5600sq ft. home with 5 bedrooms and 4 full baths. It also had a full daylight basement plumbed for a small kitchenette and bath and whatever rooms you wanted to make; I think the square footage was 1500+ sq. ft. My husband was an executive with Home Depot and we were new empty nesters. We bought this house new; having moved from Huntington Beach, California. We knew we would have lots of family and friends visiting, so that’s why we took on such a huge house. Our master bedroom was upstairs. We basically lived in four rooms! My husband worked until he was vested with his retirement. We ended up selling our house and moved to the Pacific Northwest. We have a two story house; but our master is on the main floor and has it’s own on-suite bath that we remodeled to accommodate a roll in wheel chair if necessary . My husband’s knees were getting bad so we needed minimal stair climbing. I sold my living room, formal dining rm. and master bedroom furniture on consignment to a store in Cobb county Georgia. Our furniture was too formal and big to fit our cottage here! So, when you talk about “downsizing” I know and feel your pain. I had a lot of sentimental gifts; i.e. china sets, paintings and furniture that I offered to family and friends. The items not wanted were sold and I hope are being enjoyed today.
I knew you had some mobility issues; but never the severity of your foot and ankle health! I will add you to my prayers!
I love your shared stories on Stone Gable! Looking forward to reading your future blog posts. Good Luck!
You certainly have quite the downsizing stories! I bet you have lots of great advice!
I’m looking forward to more of your downsizing story. I hope you’re doing well. You’ve certainly been through a lot.
My husband died of covid in 2020. I’m in the process of renovating a condo I purchased….kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Selecting all new items for the condo has been daunting not to mention the expense. I’m trying to decide what to take to the condo which is 1/2 the size of my home. How did you decide what to take?
What process did you use? All your suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
First of all I am deeply moved by your news! And so saddened for you, Thelma. You are in my prayers.And don’t worry I will address all of these concerns and issues in our downsizing series!
I don’t know how many years I’ve followed you on FB and your blog.I loved StoneGable and I can only imagine how hard it was to downsize. I had to downsize from our two story colonial with a basement. I have arthritis and other health problems.The stairs and my beautiful yard became too much. It’s been almost two years since we’ve been in our two unit condo.I’ve been busy making it my own. I’ve been busy decorating and declulttering
My previous comment was sent by mistake by my arthritic hand .
Decluttering and making improvements made the pandemic more bearable .We downsized around the same time as you .I enjoyed following you through your downsize on Instagram…which I love .
Isn’t it a real wake up call when you think you will be healthy and just go on? Who knew my foot would eventually help me to wake up! Eventually, we must all face issues and downsizing decisions.
Yvonne – by the number of comments, this is a hot topic for so many of us. It would be so helpful to collect some of the best ideas from your readers’ comments – sort of a “Best Suggestions” list. My husband is wanting to move from Colorado to either Montana or Idaho – both states which we have no connection to and further away from our daughter in Tx. 🙁 I have no desire to move, so this is a tough one for me. I, too, was aware of your ankle I injury from past blogs, but didn’t know the extent of what you’ve gone through. You are such a light in this world! I know God is with you through it all. (If you get a chance, listen to Andrae Crouch’s song, “Through It All”.
Hi Joie, what a fabulous suggestion! I’ll add it to my list. This would be a great end of the series post. THANK YOU!
So sorry to hear about your foot. Not really sure what to say, except I am so sorry. You are definitely an inspiration for me. God Bless you and Bobby!!!
Thanks, Samela! I’m doing fine. I did not write the foot story for pity. Life happens, right? I wrote it to be honest and thought it might help others.
This was a fascinating read. I had no idea about your ankle surgery & everything you went through! You are one tough lady!! I only found your blog after you moved into your current home. My hubby has a disability now & I’m not sure how many years we will stay here. Doing this series is a fantastic idea. Thank you for being so open & honest. You have a great attitude & you are a superb decorator & blogger.
Hi Holly, so sweet! Welcome to the StoneGable family!
I had no idea that you had so much trouble with your foot. Sending prayers for you and Bobby. Be well
We are doing well. I manage just fine. It was a big struggle for a couple years. Thank goodness it is behind me.
This downsizing one-year story is very timely for me, almost a God send. I inherited my parent’s home and have lived here for eight years after their passing. Within the next year or so we must downsize and purge my parent’s belongings as well as ours. So much emotion!! How do you do it? My mother collected antiques and every tea cup and tea pot has a story of her! I will be very interested to hear how to separate from “things” that meant so much to my parents but not necessarily to me. Suggestions please!
Hi Alyse, you are very savvy to start thinking of these things before they are upon you! Yes, we will spend a lot of time of how to part with sentimental things.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is SO timely for me as I am helping my mom prepare to downsize due to her health issues. In addition to the guilt I feel over pushing her to move, I also have my own feelings of sadness over the thought of selling my childhood home. I appreciate the honesty you’ve shared in the past about your mixed feelings (and second guessing yourself) as you prepared to move. I am looking forward to reading your story and learning from your experience. I know you will have awesome advice as usual!
Pam, one of the things we had to get over was telling our children we were moving from their childhood home. Happily, they were thrilled for us and took a huge burden off of our shoulders! I’m sure it was sad for them but they pushed their feelings aside, like you, and were so helpful. They have homes of their own so I think that made selling their childhood home easier.
This post could not have come at a better time for me. My husband recently passed away and I plan to relocate and downsize from his beloved lake where we retired. I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelming this is to me. Looking forward to your next chapter as well as comments from readers.
Susan, I am so so sorry for the loss of your precious husband. I hope this series will bless you!
There are services that will help Ssist with downsizing. What to move, what to dispose of, p.acement of furniture etc. I honestly don’t t think the decision is that difficult, especially where health issues are prevalent. You can take memories anywhere. It seems like too much emphasis is being placed on stuff. Paint, remodeling etc. As long as you are with your loved one[s] it shouldn’t t matter where you lie your head. Si etimes ego is a factor.
Hi Daisy, thank you for the info about a downsizing service. For many of us it does matter where our heads lie and it is certainly not a matter of ego.
Hello. I was very touched when I read about your foot. It was very unfortunate. I have a lot of trust in the drs at HUP.
My husband received a heart transplant there. He had the best care in the ICU for 4 months. When I learned of your Dr
I thought God bless him for being such a healer. He was probably destined in this role. Nonetheless, I thought of the many times when we were doing home improvements and placed things in boxes and transporting them to the garage. Afterward, it became too much of an effort to return the boxed items to the house. We never missed those things! The house looks better minimalized!!
First of all, Yvonne, I had no idea your foot problems were that bad. Your upbeat self certainly masked that. You absolutely made the correct decision. I hope in time you will be able to tell us that a way was found for you to get to the patio. We downsized a bit in 2019. For us it also turned out to be such a blessing. For those considering it but dragging your feet for the right time – if you are really thinking about it…it is time.
We downsized six years ago. Unlike you, I did not have a good realtor. I had sold a few things that would not fit in the new house. I had arranged for a charity to pick up the other pieces that were not going into the new house. However, my realtor changed the date of our closing to accommodate the buyers without consulting me. I could not reschedule the charity pick up. That meant I had to pay to move a few rooms of furniture that I was getting rid of. While the movers were unloading the van, I had to direct them on which pieces were temporarily going to be stored in the garage for the charity pick up. I still have not forgiven the realtor for the extra work and expense he caused me. My realtor’s response when I told him how upset I was, “My bad”. My roommate from college, who is like a sister to me, helped me immensely to sort through things for me. A friend of mine, who is a licensed electrician, acted as a handyman and hung-up pictures throughout the new house. I love the new house. I am very aware of clutter and constantly strive not to accumulate things in the new house. An added bonus of the new house are the wonderful neighbors. I am blessed.
One big lesson for me was that I could not accumulate things because there was just not that much room in our home. And so many purchases end up in our basement. Not good! I’m thrilled you love your new home and neighbors.
Good early morning Yvonne,
Greetings from Redmond WA where we have downsized now for 14 years. We had raised our family in Santa Cruz CA and lived in the beloved home we had built over 30 years earlier. When my husband David began to mention downsizing I wasn’t interested, but after our daughter Carrie and her husband moved to WA when he went to work for Microsoft in 2004, we visited them occasionally, and I began to have a change of heart. Like you, we are a Christian couple so we began to pray for the Lord to lead us if this downsizing and moving was HIS will. HE really changed my heart when we began looking at houses in the area. I had been asking the Lord that if it was HIS will for us to move that HE might give me some kind of a ministry in our new neighborhood, and HE did just that, which I will share in a later comment. For now just suffice it to say, we’ve never had a backward glance, although we had loved our home and many friends in CA.
It’s always easier when you move near your kids. Good for you! God’s direction is priceless!
I’m so happy you are taking on this topic. We down sized 5 years ago and it has been a bit of a morning period going from 5000 Aw ft to 2500 sq ft but making the most of it. I know u painted your kitchen cabinets I want to do that as well. Want to know how to chose the correct white color.
Great question. I’ll add it to what to talk about.
I wondered why I wasn’t getting your Blog anymore?????? I kept signing back up and nothing. Well… now I know why. I’m so sorry to hear about your terrible health struggle. I’m looking forward to seeing your new home and reading about your new life both the positive and negative things that you’ve had to conquer. Knowing how strong your faith is helped you move forward. Be well… can’t wait to read your next Blog.
Thank you for sharing that… especially your health circumstances. My situation is not quite the same but I will be moving in the next 2 years and also have physical limitations at this time. So I am always thinking about what to keep etc. I am going to check out more of your ideas to help me sort through my collections. Thanks again and best wishes for continued improved health❣
Hi Yvonne, Thank you for sharing and for all that you do to bless our days. We are just starting the process. We both know that we need to downsize. We are the 4 generation on the family property. It is 40 acres with a creek through the back and my husband build a 2 story cabin on the back part of the property. It is all rustic and so unique. Anyway it is hard to just think of it. We have been there for 27 years and all of our grandchildren have only know this as our home. Because of some health issues we are looking for a ranch with walkout basement. And talk about stuff. My hubby is a contractor and we have equipment and materials and stuff in all of the 4 barns and his shop. I have a She Shed attached to the back of the garage. And we have A LOT of stuff. We know that God will be with us during all of this and we have been going through stuff and getting rid of stuff since last summer to get ready. Thank you for sharing and looking forward to hearing more. Have a lovely day. laurie
Start weeding out now, Laurie! You will be so glad you did
I am looking forward to this series. I need all the help I can get! Sorry to read about your foot – what an ordeal!
Thanks, Jeanette! I’m dealing well with my foot!
A little over 5 years ago and for a number of reasons, we decided to move from the family home that we lived in over 23 years. We moved to a new town only about 15 miles further away. Little did we know that difference in mileage made our work commutes a good 1/2 hour or so longer each way, plus we did not like how the community was developed. After only a year there, we decided life is too short and moved back to the town where we had previously lived. We bought a townhouse with the MBR on the first floor. Only a year and a half later, my husband got very sick and that 1st fl MBR certainly came in handy. The neighbors in this little community where I live have provided so much love and comfort during this terrible time in our lives. I tell people to listen to those voices in your head because they (or the Holy Spirit) direct you to where you need to be! It is a really big decision but after four years of living in this house, two of them alone after my husband passed away, have shown me that this is where I should be. It is easy to care for, and the grass & snow removal is taken care of, so these things make it easier on me.
I still have plenty of stuff to get rid of, but a benefit to downsizing is that you feel so much lighter getting rid of things that serve no purpose other than sentimental reasons.
I am so sorry for your loss, Maureen! Thanks for sharing your story! Virtual hug to you!
I had no idea of all the problems you had with your foot. You never much complained or spoke much about it. That is why so many of us are so surprised at what you went through. Thank goodness they saved your foot and leg. May God bless you.
Thank you Deb. The residual effects of my foot are with me to this day. But I try to make the best of it! No use complaining!