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!
rain on a roof

Friends, I was so overwhelmed by all the stories, advice, and questions you left in the comments of the first downsizing post, OUR DOWNSIZING STORY! I thought I knew just how relevant and important the topic of downsizing might be to many of you but I had no idea just how big this topic really is!

So today is part 2 of our downsizing story.

Before I begin I want to thank you for your care, love, and concern for me and my foot! I am doing well and am living a full life with my handicap. You never know what kind of curveball life will throw at you! I had a choice. I could wallow in the fact that I don’t have a foot that works or I can be thankful I have a foot! I chose the latter. Life goes on and so do I! So thank you! You really are the best!

If you have not read Our Downsizing Story, part 1 you might want to read it to get the full story.

We left off in our downsizing story with Bobby and me wrestling with the notion of downsizing and praying that God would give us guidance. And God certainly did!

Wow, it was such a whirlwind of decisions and meetings! After going through our finances and getting a promise from Bobby that we could do the upgrades on my list we decided we were going to put an offer in for this unicorn of a condo. And we did!

The owner countered and we countered again. And he accepted our offer.

Oh, goodness we were buying a house! Which meant we had to sell StoneGable!

When not living in my beloved StoneGable became a reality, the weight of it all sucker punched me to my core! This was an emotional, visceral experience for me. Everything had happened so so fast!

I went through a time I called The Great Mourning! You can read about it HERE. I wrote about leaving StoneGable as I did my last “walk-though” of our empty home. Just so you know, the post is very sentimental and I cried the whole time I wrote it. Remember I told you I would be very real with you?

Honestly, I did a whole lot of crying. Ugly crying! You can read all the soppy details in the post above.

During that time I got up in the morning and literally cried all day as I was also purging 24 years of stuff in the basement and other areas of our home.

What do you do with 24 boxes of school papers and art and reports and achievement awards and more from your children’s years in school? Each box was neatly marked and all the papers neatly filed away? Still, 24 boxes! One box for each year! How do you get rid of them?

And how do you let go of all the trophies and glittery crowns your son and daughter had won over the years?

And who will want the furniture that won’t fit into the new condo?

What do you do with all the stuff? I certainly could not take it with me!

We will talk in length about how to purge and how to let go of things that are precious to you that just won’t make the cut and will be left behind.

From the time we signed the agreement we had a few weeks until StoneGable went on the market. So I had to make a lot of ruthless decisions about our “stuff”. Looking back it is such a good thing I did not have a year to mull over what I would do with all the stuff. UGH, that would have been unbearable.

At first, I asked my children if they wanted all their treasures I had so neatly stored away in our basement. A box of tutus and toe shoes, a box of baseball gloves and jerseys and so many more boxes. American Girl dolls and dress-ups. And guess what they said? No thank you! No thank you except the American Girl dolls and a meaningful baseball bat that are now living in my Tanglewood basement!

I decided to widdle down the 24 boxes into one and only kept a few things from my children’s school years. I also kept one crown, one pair of toe shoes, and a baseball glove and jersey. I gave the other things away and sadly the rest were thrown away. I did, for a few seconds, think about scanning their school papers but thought better of it.

We ended up calling a junkman and we negotiated on a price for all the stuff-now-named-junk in our home. Mel the junkman was happy to haul it away and of course, I cried! How could such beautiful and meaningful things now be called junk?

During the weepy daytime of letting go of precious things others saw as junk the nights were quite different.

Late into the summer night, I would lay in bed and think of all the things I loved about our Tanglewood house. It’s soaring ceilings, panoramic views, an open floor plan, and a first floor bedroom!

And I’d plan how I would decorate it and dream of a new kitchen. It would be a white kitchen of course carrying on the white kitchen tradition that started at StoneGable!

I decorated and redecorated Tanglewood in my mind every night and slowly began to think of this Villa condo as ours. I thought about all the Christmases we would celebrate there and how I’d bathe any new babies that came into our lives in my new farmhouse sink just like I did at StoneGable.

I began to see a new chapter of our lives begin full of new possibilities. This home would be our second forever home!

The days became less weepy and more productive. I was zealous about purging everything that did not have a purpose. And I tried very hard not to give in to bouts of tears and sentimentality!

Finally, StoneGable was ready. It never looked prettier! Even the gardens were resplendent with white butterflies that fluttered around us in circles as we walk through them picking flowers. Magical!

We had quite a few showings and our home was sold to the first family who viewed it. I was thrilled about this new family was moving into StoneGable. This lovely sweet family with young children. They would continue the beautiful legacy of life at StoneGable.

The house was basically purged of every bit of junk, things my children did not want, things others did not want, things I could not sell, and things I couldn’t give to a charity.

But there was a lot left!

Bobby and I spent much of our time split between StoneGable and Tanglewood. The painters worked for two weeks painting Tanglewood and the new rugs were ripped out of the bedrooms and hardwood was laid. Those were our two main goals to have done before moving into Tanglewood.

At StoneGable, I made so many decisions about the furniture that would go to Tanglewood and the furniture that would be left. If you have downsized and not gotten all new furniture for your new home, then you were probably like me, and found this process quite arduous!

In my mind, I knew what furniture and accessories would work but convincing my heart was a different story! How could I ever part with my dining room table? Or two bedrooms worth of furniture? These items and a ton more were beautiful and my style and still in amazing shape. How do you let that go?

I called up my BE RUTHLESS attitude and tried very hard not to be sentimental. This mental toughness really got me through selling and giving away the furniture I could not take to Tanglewood. I must admit, I think I’ll forever miss my dining room table. Every time I see a picture of it on the blog I get a bit wistful!

I had six professional packers come in and pack up everything we were taking to Tanglewood in just a few hours. We had taken everything from the kitchen and mirrors and pictures to Tanglewood before the packers came.

I’m so glad we made settlement on the Tanglewood house two weeks before we made settlement on our beloved StoneGable. This was precious time! We could have workers in the house all day and we could take a few truckloads of things to the Tanglewood house in the evening.

The packers came a few days before our StoneGable settlement and packed everything up and took it to Tanglewood. It was moving day! And we were moving in. Honestly, I really just went through the motions that day. It just felt so surreal!

I remember standing in my new great room/living room feeling numb. And I whispered to myself, “I moved into a tiny home”!

Let’s stop here. I’ll finish my downsizing story next week. If you have a downsizing story or a downsizing question please leave them in the comments! We are very interested in what you have to say.

Just so you know, it does get better. Actually, wonderfully better. But downsizing is a process both physically and emotionally!

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  1. Yvonne, I actually teared up reading this. I think we were all shocked that you were leaving your beautiful Stonegable, but we all will be faced with decisions like this the older we get. We are still looking for our “next” forever home. I have been culling out for a couple of years getting ready for this move. One time as I kept mulling over if I wanted to get rid of a beautiful wing chair my daughter said that once it’s gone you won’t even think about it. She was right – it’s just stuff. A cozy beautifully decorated home, great meals, family (granddaughters) is what’s it all about. I do have one problem though. My in-laws gave us a beautiful expensive service for 12 china for our wedding. It hasn’t been out of the hutch in about 15 years – our daughter doesn’t want it – but how do I get rid of it without hurting my husband’s feelings? I feel no attachment to it, and really he doesn’t as well, but it was from his parents. I think that when we do move I will invest in proper china storage boxes and put it away, and let someone else deal with it after we’ve gone!!

  2. I am in the processing of moving from Az to Tx in a home 40% smaller. I have so many books, crafts and baskets. It’s amazing how less attached you become to so much when starting anew.

  3. Once you lay hold of the reality that the memories are still there even when the “stuff” isn’t…you’re free. And so are your kids, grandkids and life itself.

  4. Nancy Slate says:

    My story is very much your story. The only exception is that I was ready to “let go” of “stuff”. I decided that many of the family items were my parents and grandparents memories, not mine. I had enjoyed them and now I was thinking how excited someone might be to discover these treasures in the thrift store. I donated and solD, but still kept too much. I’m now disposing of the extra things. I’m still redecorating the new place, but it feels good to have less. I want to own only things I really love.

  5. I can relate on so many levels of this! We downsized after having 5 teenagers upstairs, and now they all have homes of their own. We went from a huge 2 story, to a small log cabin. My children, like yours did not want any of the keepsakes we had saved. A different time in our life, but I love our log cabin!

  6. Deborah Ost says:

    My Husband and I left our home of 20 yrs away from our children and Grandkids. As much as we saw them the grandkids were older and it was harder to get together, and I knew we needed our own lives. The Pandemic initated Our move. I had decided to retire and my husband could work from home. We decide to move to Georgia , warmer and close to all the areas we like to travel and a bonus my husbands sister lived there. The house sold in 11 hours and everything happened so fast. Finding a house was difficult everything was selling as we were driving to look at it. We ended up with new construction, I did not want to rent and I did not want a fixer upper!
    I purged quite a bit as well and now that we have lived in our home 18 months I miss some of the things I gave away or sold!
    BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU TOSS! I made hard cover books of the kids Pictures using Snapfish! WE HAD SO MANY PICTURES!

  7. I enjoy visiting with you through your post. You are my sister in Christ Jesus and thank you for not being ashamed of the gospel. Beautiful homes are wonderful but a woman of Godly character is priceless. Thank you for your encouraging faith.

    1. Agree! You are so filled with His Spirit Yvonne!

  8. Love your story!! My husband and I are close to the “downsizing” time in our lives. I appreciate your honesty and candor. The question that comes most to my mind is how you host your holiday gatherings now that your dining room table is gone?…………

  9. I know exactly what you have been through, it’s a tough decision to downsize. Been there and done that, but now a few years later we are so happy in our smaller home!

  10. We downsized 4 years ago and haven’t regretted it at all. The process of letting go of things was the most difficult part for me, but I don’t miss one single thing. In fact, I hardly remember the things we donated. We had a lake cottage which we gutted and remodeled. The planning of doing that kept my mind busy and the excitement level high! It took seven months for the construction to be completed, but we’re very happy with our decision. We knew it was time and God provided us with what we needed.

  11. Jill Jaynes says:

    I’m anxious to downsize……we live in a large 3 level home and have renovated every part of it, now that we’re done with it, I’m exhausted LOL. With teen children, one heading to college this year we do not need this much house. We are lucky to live in a vibrant and sought after housing market. I can’t seem to get my husband on board to move. When I was single I bought and sold houses like I do clothes and did very well. My husband is alot younger than I am and doesn’t understand the toll on upkeep of a big property and home, he also grew up in one home his entire life in rural upstate NY so different mindset . I’ve been praying my way through this and have begun to edit all of our stuff……much too much stuff so hopefully when and if the Spirit moves we’ll be ready! Yours is by far my most favorite blog. Your decorating is exquisite. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  12. Of all the decorating blogs I’ve read, your blog and style are my favorite. And then you moved! And it got even better!
    My story about downsizing is it was forced upon us and I don’t recommend it. The 2 story 70s house we had lived in for 25 years with 4 bedrooms and a huge pool was flooded with almost 2 feet of water during Harvey in 2017. We were away at our NH house so we didn’t actually see it, until a week later. Our daughter and son-in-law saved so many things, but we lost almost everything on the first floor..lLuckily we had flood insurance, but that’s another story and a book! 4 years later I am still dreaming about or searching for something. I don’t know if I still have it? This experience was incredibly surreal, disorienting….I cried and cried..neither of us could sleep…we lived with my daughter and SIL for 4 months. They saved our lives. We started looking for houses within a few days once we returned to see the damage..after much thinking, looking for a non flooding neighborhood, still nearby…not easy in Houston…we finally decided on a brand new build in a new neighborhood. And we actually bought a LARGER one story house in a still being built subdivision. We looked at over 55 communities, but our theory was at our age, when you fall down you need someone young enough to pick you up! Ha! After 4 months, I was so anxious to have a home back bought furniture I wish I hadn’t’..and the kitchen, I too am a white kitchen girl…is a zillion dark cabinets. Yes, we could paint, but at this stage my husband.l.never one for change..We got a deal on this house as it was already bought and returned to the builder… they couldn’t actually settle the financing. It was high and dry, never lived in…only 25 minutes away from our daughter and still in our “bubble” of doctor, dentist, shopping etc. I envy people who can start from scratch…I still have boxes of crap to go through…I wish you’d moved before our flood…(!) My mistake was not a tight color palate…buying stuff…just so we could feel”home”…oh, the lessons I have learned…but your story gives me encouragement…I can still make changes…I think I am still in shock and of course the pandemic hasn’t helped. Anyway…all things considered…my children are safe and healthy, but two granddaughters, 9 and 5 are darling…and we spend summers on a lake.we are blessed..thank you Yvonne for all your encouragement…you have included in these posts…

  13. Kay Shumate says:

    I am enjoying your story since it relates to me right now. I am having to let go of STUFF that we won’t have a place since we are downsizing. Things I have bought over the years & won’t have room for them in our next home. I am in the middle of setting up for a huge garage sale. It is sad but I have to remind myself we are moving to be near our family & I am excited for that. Family means more to me than all my STUFF at my age. Praying God will direct us on which house to purchase. It’s over whamming but I have turned it over to him so I have to let that go. He has a plan for us.

  14. We started planning for our move in 2018, and we only just moved into our newly built retirement home in November, 2022. Our journey isn’t over yet. Building a new home is challenging and building during Covid added even more challenges!

    Since we had planned on relocating in retirement, I had been going through items that I knew we no longer needed and donating them to charity for years. But by the time we were ready to move, there was still a lot of stuff to go through.

    To help me figure out what to take with us for our out-of-state move, I started by drawing out each room in the new house to scale and placing my existing furniture, also to scale, in the drawing. I found a website for a local furniture store that allowed me to do this design work online. Starting with these drawings helped me to figure out what furniture pieces should be moved, which furniture pieces I should get rid of, and what furniture pieces I still needed to purchase.

    Next, I figured out what design style I wanted for the new house. Since the new house is in the South, I decided that I wanted the house to have a traditional, Southern feel, but with some modern updates. That helped me to begin to visualize the new house. As I went through each of our decor items, I asked myself, “does this work with Traditional/Southern/Updated?”

    These are steps that helped me make the difficult choices of what to keep and what to get rid of. Perhaps someone else will find these steps helpful as well.

  15. One important thing your story tells is: do not save all your children’s stuff! They don’t want it. Purge every year and save one or 2 things.

  16. Arlene Starley says:

    Hurricane Michael took my home and ruined my possessions.
    I’ve been filling my home little by little and I love it
    It was very emotional for me. But I survived. You have an amazing eye for decorating !!

    1. God bless you Arlene! My heart goes out to you! I just prayed for you!

  17. Yvonne, I am having such fun reading these two posts because the similarities between my story and yours, as well as the emotions involved is uncanny. Your words echo all that I did and felt. I too, would lay awake and recall every room of the new house that we purchased and began to fill my heart with the thrill of a new adventure. I felt so grateful to have been with my family and shared so many memories in one home for 36 years, but it was time to allow The Ridge go to another family. The day I hauled tub after tub from the attic filled with the kids mementos, we held our last family dinner in the dining room that night as they went through them. It was priceless as the “found their childhood.” A wonderful way to close the book on our chapter at The Ridge and begin at The House in the Hill.

  18. Patricia Lawlor says:

    I understand all of the downsizing. 10 years ago, due to my husbands job we downsized to another town and a much smaller home than my beloved home that we had built and had a robust life. We lived in this other town for 9 years and I did not like the town or the home we bought. I cried for 2 years. I did not downsize, I took it with me crowding one of the bedrooms to the rafters which overflow which I never opened or touched. I was retiring along with my husband and our daughter and husband and their 4 little girls lived in another town only about an hour away. They too built a home but while it was being built, they bought a condo to live in. They asked us if we would like to move into the condo/garden home and we would be 8 min from them. We agreed. We put a lot in a storage and moved. Now 5 years later we have emptied the storage locker, and this past Monday took the last two totes to charity. It has taken those years to go through everything that I wanted to keep and how I could incorporate it into my new home. There is very very little storage, no basement so everything that I wanted to keep had to have a forever home. If you have to dig for something, chances are you are not going to use it and it just sits, so creative storage had to be put in place. I have china which I use and just before Christmas an elderly friend gifted me with her china. I use them, not everyday but a lot. I don’t think of things as just stuff. Most of them are a lifetime of memories. The items that did not hold great memories were what I got rid of. I am happy to say that every single item that I kept have meaning. Christmas decorating was great, put up the things I love and store back the same way. As our daughter is an only child I did not want to leave her with a “what am I going to do with all these things.” My dear sweet grandaughters have made claim to some things which is great. Every piece that I stored and eventually donated was a little piece of myself that went with it as my husband did not buy it. I did. In getting my head wrapped around keeping the things that I love and have been a part of me was important. Now after this long journey of downsizing, I am happy. Happy using the “stuff” that is what I had deemed to be a party of me. Happy because we are 8 minutes from our grandchildren and happy that it doesn’t take forever to clean my house and every single thing has a home and is not cluttered. Such a joy. In saying that, everytime we go by our home we left 10 years ago, I still get a pain in my heart and probably always will. It’s a journey that is rewarding but not always fun

  19. Carol A Heringer says:

    Hi! I can soooo relate. I find that as a former wedding coordinator and decororator….and a woman’s luncheon fanatic for years, I have so many beautiful things that only I appreciate. I don’t want to just give it away, and yet, I know my children will have a mess on their hands is I leave it behind!!

  20. I downsized years ago. It was actually easy for me. I believe the memories are in my mind and heart and things are just things. What was hard was moving away from my daughters.
    I found my children did not want my china or crystal. A familiar story. I donated mine to a century home that is open to the public. They sell donated items to pay for the upkeep. This way I felt they were going to a good cause and whomever buys them will appreciate them.
    I love my smaller, one story, open concept home. It is perfect for two and with two guests rooms, we can still host friends & family. I’ve had a knee and hip replacement so the stairs up and down a three story would have presented a challenge.
    I know leaving Stonegable must have been terribly hard but Tanglewood is lovely too and having your master on the main floor makes life easier.

  21. Hi Yvonne ,

    I smiles as I read this posy . Every word that you wrote , I related to , as we are finally nearing the end of our decluttering and purging . I laughed over the children’s special things , well special to us , but not to them ! The exact same thing happened here . Sitting on our front nature strip is a tiny , 40 year old Ike they all rode and I couldn’t part with . It is waiting for the hard rubbish pick up . I am still sad , just looking at it ! I have jokingly called myself , Ruth Less , as that is what I have become . Now , this home has a disconnect after all of the decluttering and even feels soulless . A good thing if we are to move on . The saddest realisation for me was knowing that after living in 6 homes , that any future move , will not be with my 4 children . Thank you again for sharing a very personal and real experience .

  22. Deanna Inman says:

    I have appreciated reading your down sizing story. It’s very timely for me because we are working on down sizing. We have been in our home 37 years.
    We hired a home organizer to assist us in cleaning our basement & closets. It has been helpful having a person without any personal attachment to our things. Once a box is filled she moves it outside, so no take backs. We have donated many car loads of items. We have had 3, 4 hour sessions & we can see we still need to cut deeper. Currently, we taking a short break to recoup as the experience is the emotional & physical draining.

    Another hurdle for us is, we may be buying our next home without physically viewing it because our market is so hot & competitive. We are told by our realtor friends this is the new reality of home buying & selling. Homes are usually under contact within two days & selling well above asking price. If we didn’t have health issues we would stay.

  23. Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I are about to start this process once again and it is never easy. I have many furniture pieces and other items that belonged to my parents and they will not all be able to go to our new, smaller place. Our kids do not want them, they have their own “stuff” in their own homes. Sharing the emotional trauma of the process is helpful and makes me realize that I’m not alone with the tears of letting go.

  24. I am writing this trying to see through my tears, having read this post plus “The Great Mourning”. How precious are your memories. Thank you for sharing your heart. As I’m reading the other comments, I see that I am in good company; my daughter (only child) is not interested in any of the things that I have. Additionally, I have dear friends who lost their home in a fire that swept through a community of Colorado Springs in 2012 (over 300 homes burned) – they lost everything, but had such a good attitude and outlook. Their grace through their loss has shaped the way I feel about my possessions.

  25. We downsized in Jan 2020 from a large two story house with a huge yard and pool to a smaller one story house with a tiny yard. I went through the emotional roller coaster with laughter and tears and come through to the other side absolutely loving our decision and new house. We were in the big house for 25 years and raised our three now grown children there. There were lots of memories but the move was the best thing we could have done and ultimately such a great choice for us heading into our older years.

  26. Yvonne, I’ve been thinking about your story all week!
    I’m so sorry about your health issues & glad you’re dealing with it in such a positive way, I know it’s not easy. My husband ruptured his Achilles a few years ago & has never fully recovered.
    We’ve been downsizing for years & still not done! My husband has this relationship with paper & this year he’s finally agreed to tackle it. I’ve heard this before but I’m determined to get it done & your story encourages me.
    So many of us wrongly thought that our kids would want all of those things that we saved for them. It’s so hard & painful to get rid of it & we’re taken back by the way they’re so casual about it.
    I can’t wait for the next chapter of your story.

    1. Judie, I’m doing just fine! Yes, if we all live long enough we will probably face something.

  27. Yvonne, I can so relate to your story and sense of mourning. My story of downsizing is quite different than the others I’ve read here.

    I lost my husband of 45 years suddenly in 2017 due to an aortic aneurism (the widow maker). My whole life was turned upside down and I spent many months mourning my loss. I had to close down his business, inform all his clients, settle his accounts, prepare his business taxes, sell his truck and make a thousand other decisions I was not prepared to make. I had only retired a few months before his passing and we were finally living our retirement dream.

    Fast forward 3 years and one of my dearest friends of 40 years suddenly lost his wife. He reached out to me (through FB of all places!) and we rekindled our friendship. Our first telephone visit last 5-1/2 hours! It didn’t talk long to realize we wanted to share our lives together so after a year of traveling back and forth from Colorado to California, we got married, he sold nearly everything and moved to Colorado to be with me in my former home.

    Once we got to Colorado we had talked about downsizing and buying “our” own place but had decided to wait several months. Well, God had other plans and I found a one story duplex in a very desirable neighborhood I had been watching. We hadn’t even been married a month when we went under contract! The previous owner was quite elderly and had moved to be near her son. Sadly, she fell ill shortly after moving and passed away. This threw a huge wrench into our plans and we found the state of Colorado requires a 4 month waiting period before a house can change ownership. I was devastated and thought God had closed this door. We looked at several other places but knew in our hearts this would be “our” forever home so we stayed under contract.

    After waiting those four months we finally closed and began an extensive 3 month renovation. Thankfully, we were still living in my previous home so it wasn’t too inconvenient or painful. The housing market here is extremely hot so when my house went on the market we had 42 showings over one weekend and by Monday had 7 offers all over asking price! I had prayed that a young family with children would buy that house and that’s exactly what happened! We FINALLY moved into our new home after almost 7 months of waiting.

    I spent all those months culling through my “former” life and it was so very difficult. I finally decided to buy 3 large, waterproof tubs. I packed what I thought my kids would want of their things into one for each of them and then packed their dad’s things in the third. Those now live in the basement. Once I”m gone they will have to decide how to divide his belongings. I also created shadow boxes with some of his personal belongings and some photos of each of them with him that I’ve given them already.

    Needless to say it’s been an exhausting 16 months, but I am so blessed to have an understanding husband who has held me each time I’ve cried over my “stuff”. I will admit I do miss some of my things but those memories fade a little bit more each day.

    My advice to anyone reading this, get rid of your “stuff” long before it’s forced on you. It’s only that….”stuff”. I sold some things but donated many, many items that I know will be a blessing to those who’ve found them.

    Thanks for being transparent about your health and reasons for moving. It’s been an encouragement to see how God works in our lives even if we don’t understand at the time. Your sister in Christ, Judy

    1. I’m so sorry Judy! God bless you! You are so right about getting rid of stuff! Thanks for sharing your touching story!

  28. Sharon Swain says:

    I have so enjoyed your story of downsizing. Yes, I have kinda been there. I say that because our downsize didn’t really mean a smaller house, just different.

    We are from Virginia and relocated to Florida some 50 years ago. At a point, I knew we were not going back to Virginia, so we had a two story colonial build here. Everything about the house screamed Williamsburg. It sat on a nice size hill and looked so majestic. I was born and raised with all the tradition of Virginia and Williamsburg was my most favorite place on earth. Needless to say, decorating my house was fun and easy, I knew what I wanted and how to make it happen. After 28 years of living in and loving this beautiful two-story, we decided it was time to move to a one- story. Main reason was because all the bedrooms and bathrooms, except for power room, was upstairs and you know as we get older and situations change, those steps are the enemy.

    My ugly cry, as you call it, did not happen to me until the big 18 wheeler pulled up in front of the house to start the move. My husband opened the front down and my meeting with reality hit me. I ran out the back door and stood on the patio just crying my eyes out. At the same time, my daughter-in-law was dropping my son off to help. She saw me and told Michael there is something terribly wrong with your mother, go see to her. As boys will be, he came to see about me, but not being one to know what to do when a woman is crying, he just stood there and patted my back. Haha.. so sweet. At least he was trying. Right?

    After about, a year of looking we decided to build. Here in come my difficulty. We build an open floor plan. When you walk in the front door you see the dinning room, living area, kitchen, and kitchen nook. Once we moved in I knew some of my beloved furniture would not work. I knew I wanted a coastal theme, but not beachy. You and I know there is a difference. I started selling my dark furniture and replacing with lighter almost natural color wood pieces. Some are two tone white/natural. The problem I ran into was I was not being successful decorating this house. It was more of a chore than fun. We have lived here now three years, and I am just now beginning to get the hang of the new home we have. With that being said, it is a long way from being the model home look my old Virginia home had. It may never reach that level, but hopefully will have its own place.

    No matter my difficulty with the decor, I am very thankful to the good Lord for blessing us with this home. We LOVE the new location and we have a lake view out the back with no houses and have enjoyed it so much. Having our living all on one level is another.

    I now think of the new house as a low country style home and Charleston is now my new most favorite place on earth. So the moral of the story is, we can move on from a once beloved home, but it will forever have a place in our hearts that only it can fill with the memories it holds.

    1. I love Williamsburg too and visit it often! I think it’s harder to decorate our downsized or second home especially if we have lived at the first home for a long time. It’s like muscle memory. You just know your home and what will work. It takes time to get to know a new home and know how to decorate it. I adore Low Contry style! And Charleston is certainly one of my most favorite places! You are blessed!

  29. Natalie barton says:

    I.must be a.cold.hearted person because I love journey and buying new things for a new house. I can easily.let go of things I no longer use. I always think of the person who ,,,junk, my kids…don’t want my stuff but I do save some things I think my grandchildren might like.

  30. We are in the process, this year of decluttering. one of our New Years resolutions.Eventually we will sell this home and move close to our grandkids but are not ready to do that yet. i know what you mean about your children not wanting their childhood things.So, for now i have the room in my basement and i am sorting their things into large plastic bins with their names on it. Someday they will have to deal with those boxes themselves.My Mom threw out many sentimental things of mine when i left for college.I was so sad to find all of them gone…. My husband’s mother threw out his baseball cards ( which the sale of could have probably put our kids thru college ) but saved all his plastic trophies. I do not feel that is it my right to dispose of the things in their boxes and they never seem to have the time to go thru them. so they sit in our basement but at least they know where they are for now…its funny how events from your past are recalled and influence how you do things in your own family.

    1. Different time! Our kids are not savers, like many of their generation.

  31. I was absolutely ruthless when it came to downsizing. Having had to clean my parents’ home when they both passed quickly I knew that my mother would have been mortified that I had to go through some of her stuff. I vowed no one would ever have to do through all my crap!

    1. You are right! My Mother is an amazing purger. She does not have one ounce of “crap”. Yay for us and we are so thankful to her.

  32. Carol Taylor says:

    Yes, we too downsized in 2020-2021, leaving our beautiful, large Missouri ranch home with a full basement. It was our forever home that we built to be close to our son and daughter-in-law. It was on a small lake with spectacular sunsets and sunrises. The kids moved to Florida and it was terrible not to be able to spend holidays together. We tried to sell the house in 2016, but it was not a good market. So we held on until 2020 and rented a storage pod and began the process of packing and purging. Then came the serious purge of the basement that I had not done in 2016. We gave away so much and called the junk people 3 times. It was very painful. People do not want your old stuff. I had to get rid of many family treasures and furniture that I knew we just wouldn’t have room for and wasn’t willing to pay to move.
    Thankfully the house sold quickly. Even with the purging we still had 3 days of packers and movers. Finally we were on our way to Florida! We found a lovely new home right away and as I unpacked, I was thankful for the purge. I miss our wonderful home, lake and the views, but to be with family is so much better than I could have imagined..

    1. Family trumps everything! I’m so glad you are with your family, Carol!

  33. My husband hasn’t been in good health for a few years and we moved from a 3,000 sq ft home on 23 acres to a 2,000 sq ft home on a tiny lot five months ago. It was a hard decision, especially for my husband, but when he finally realized we needed to move, we acted quickly. We found a new, move-in ready house and moved in about six weeks after we started looking, then got to work getting our old house ready to sell. It was a lot of work and wasn’t easy, but we did it! We listed our house about a month after we moved and sold it above our asking price in 3 days. I miss the country life but I’m enjoying being within minutes of everything we need. Downsizing was hard, physically and emotionally! I’ve questioned our decision more than once, but I know it was the best decision for us. We both had to accept that we’re getting older and can’t do the things we did 20 years ago, but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy life anymore! It’s just a new adventure.

    1. Thank you for sharing your downsizing experience. God bless you and your husband. I hope this move will be easier for him.

  34. Our “downsizing” experience: We had retired, 4 kids had long since left & gone on to their own lives, we were still working on the big house in the country on the acreage we’d bought 23 years prior. When we told our kids we were ready to sell, expecting them to not want us to, instead, they wondered what had taken us so long to come to that decision!!!!! Long story short, we downsized a little, but not really. Our layout now with our garage is a tad but more sf than we had in the main house before. It was more about simplifying our daily lives. We moved from the country into our little Northern Wisconsin village, picked our lot & designed a newly built home, went from 10 acres to 1, a hilly yard with 2 acres to maintain as yard to a flat lawn with 1/2 acre of mowing surrounded by pine trees, from a septic tank to city sewer, from a tri level sprawling house with a propane tank to 1 story on a heated slab, from 5 window air conditioners that we wrestled with twice a year, in & out, to mini split units that operate at the flick of the remote controls each season, from painting the exterior siding & trims every 5 years to permanent exterior materials, from a detached garage a few thousand feet from the house to a heated attached one. I could go on & on. Yes, we miss & absolutely loved the country house, but it was time for a change. Sorting thru stuff was not so bad, our kids absorbed a lot, the rest went to GoodWill & Habitat for Humanity. So much work & so many emotions, but our kids helped with the move, our youngest son & his family welcomed us into their home for a year while we planned & researched & built on a lot right across the street from them that my daughter in law had first told us was going to be coming up for sale. We spent Covid quarantine in their downstairs area, it turned out to be a blessing to have some of our favorite people in our Covid “bubble”. And we drew plans & researched, & online shopped, & started the build when weather permitted. I found Maria Killam on Pinterest & followed her new build advice for a classic, transitional home foundation & our home will be as in style 20 years from now as it was the day we moved in. My mantra was simplify simplify, so we laid the same LVP throughout, the walls are painted SW pure White in flat, the trim is Pure White in eggshell, & the cabinets are Pure White from the factory with a bit of caramel glaze. Lovely, simple look. I went the same cabinet style throughout the kitchen, 3 bathrooms & laundry room. 1 faucet style throughout in chrome, the same lovely white linen drapes hung high in every room for some softness. We were sure to add layered up moldings & trim & Pure White shiplap walls in areas of interest in every room, to avoid the brand new sterile home look. I have had a bit of trouble going from the country farmhouse look that was such a help in selling our previous home to figuring out what this house wants for decor, but fortunately I found Yvonne! This is what my mother would have called our “feet first” house. (meaning, I hope the only way I have to leave this house is when I get carried out of this house feet first. it worked for her when they built theirs in their 60’s.) Our joke was, if our systems, siding, roof, etc came with a 20 or 25 year warranty, that oughta do us. We built this home at 66 years old, there are definite advantages to that!!!!!

  35. Hi Yvonne
    This is so useful. I am a blogger and real estate broker and you captured the emotional and the realities of downsizing. I will share your story on my blog at a later date! I did smoke with the American Girl dolls and the thanks but no thanks mom.
    How much of your holiday decor did you downsize?

    1. Hi Laura, how nice to hear from you! Because our basement is the footprint of our home, and the fact that I am a blogger, I had TONS of Christmas decor. I let go of about half of my decor. However, I still have quite a big stash in the basement. One thing I am very happy about is my basement. Thanks so much for sharing my story.