Have you downsized your home? Or is downsizing in your furture? Come hear our downsizing story and share your story with us too! This post is part of a year long series on the best practices of downsizing.

Downsizing can be a hard and emotional journey. Do you have a downsizing story? Or is downsizing in your future? Here is the rest of our downsizing story.

If you have a downsizing story please share it with us. There are a few important “themes that are surfacing that will be important to talk about in future posts about downsizing. So please share!

And if you have questions or want certain topics discussed in this series leave them in the comments too.

If you have not already read Our Downsizing Story, Part 1 and Part 2 you might want to read them now to get our whole story.

We last left off on move-in day at our Tanglewood Villa condo on a golf course. I was totally numb and the whole moving-in experience seemed completely surreal!

I remember standing in the great room/living room as the movers were moving furniture and boxes into the house and I whispered to myself, “I moved into a tiny home”!

The house felt so small! Very tall and very small! We had, earlier that day, moved from a 4,000 + square foot home and now we’re about to live our lives in a 2,700 square foot home.

So really not a tiny home at all. But I’ll never forget that first move-in day impression!

The movers kept asking me where things should go but my mind just decided to take a bit of a vacation that day. Thank goodness, my friend, Katie showed up just in time and she did most of the moving in choreography.

I really can’t tell you much more about our move-day but at the end of it, my new home looked empty and messy and not like home at all!

Here is a post, Welcome To The Tanglewood House I posted shortly after we had moved in and my mind came back from its vacation!

The movers did a wonderful job getting everything in without scratching or dinging our freshly painted walls! And all the furniture we decided to bring to our new home seemed to fit without a problem.

That night, Bobby and I crawled into our freshly made bed in our first-floor bedroom exhausted.

The next morning I could feel my mood lighten and my thoughts were far less foggy. I opened our bedroom door to bright light and lots of beautiful windows! This home has the best light and the prettiest views! What a nice thing to wake up to. Things had certainly taken a turn for the better somewhere in the night!

That morning I discovered something fun and wonderful about our Tanglewood house!

I discovered what I call “the secret passageway”.

Not that I did not notice it before but I noticed a new way to use it.

I could go out my bedroom door, step into the hall and through a heavy swinging door (love), across a little passageway that held the washer and dryer on one side and a big pantry on the other, through another heavy swinging door and end up at the coffee maker in the kitchen! It sounds like a big journey but it was only a handful of steps away!

Coffee was so close in the morning! And my mornings start with coffee!

As the days and weeks went along I found more and more to love about our new home.

Although I was finding more things to love about our new home I could not find anything else. Too many boxes! The basement was filled with them. Although they were all neatly marked with the content within, it was hard finding what I needed!

It took me months and months to find everything I needed or wanted! Then there was the challenge of giving them all a home.

At StoneGable, I knew just where everything was and where everything went. It was like muscle memory!

Here at Tanglewood, I wasted so much time arranging and rearranging, and trying to find the right spot for everything. We had done a good job of only taking the furniture that would fit in our new home but I had overestimated how much cabinet and drawer and closet space we had.

I think trying to find the right space to put all of our kitchen gadgets and candles and wrapping paper and office supplies and books and baskets and decor and such became my greatest challenge. Thank goodness we have a big basement because many things are shelved down there. I still need to purge lots of “extras” and things I no longer use from our home. I’m sure we will talk about this more in a later post in the Downsizing Series!

Another challenge raised its pretty head very soon after we moved into StoneGable.

It did not take long for me to discover that the Farmhouse style I loved so much was not a good fit for our Tanglewood House.

At first, I tried my best to make my beloved Farmhouse style work in the Tanglewood Home. But try as a might, Farmhouse style and our new home were always fighting! It became clear, our new home would dictate its own style and I just had to follow.

I think this was a huge lightbulb moment for me! I began to really understand how a home has a built-in bent for a style and the best thing to do is to decorate it accordingly!

That has meant a slow and thought out move away from Farmhouse style to Transitional Style with a cleaner and more uncluttered look. And guess what? I really love the change!

Living in an open concept home is a joy but it is tricky to decorate! Many new downsized builds are open concept. I’m sure we will talk a lot about moving from a more traditional style home to a more open living home in our Downsizing Series.

We have been in our Tanglewood home for two years and a few months and I can finally say Tanglewood feels like our second forever home.

I’m still changing things and updating things inside and out to reflect our style and trying to purge things that I no longer need from boxes in the basement, but Tanglewood feels so much more like home!

I drive past StoneGable several times a week on my travels and blow it a kiss! But I am happy where Bobby and I have landed in a unicorn of a Villa condo on a country golf course tucked way down in the southern Lancaster County countryside!


Please share your downsizing stories and questions. We would love to hear from you!

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  1. We moved my parents into assisted living last week. They have been married 75 years. My best advice to anyone is get rid of your stuff. If you don’t do it for yourself, then do it for whomever will be going through your things when you no longer can. You’ll be doing them a favor. I can bet that other than a few mementos, your kids/friends/family won’t want your stuff. My mother had saved report cards, magazines, newspaper articles, boxes of photos, cardboard boxes, gift bags (so many gift bags), pillows, greeting cards, thank you notes, receipts, fabric, etc. We made major progress but still have a good week of hard work before we can put their house on the market. And the funny thing is that she is not a hoarder. I have never liked clutter, but when I came home from there, even I was able to do some purging (and we have already down-sized.!) I’m getting rid of some family pieces that I thought I needed to save even though our kids don’t want the stuff.

    1. Great comment, Janette! We were gifted the same job over a year ago by my in-laws. Some of the siblings made the job even more challenging for us because they weren’t ready to let go of the family home. My husband is the only one living in this part of the country and all the responsibility fell to us. (This, on top of tending to the needs of his elderly parents who are now living in a seniors’ centre). We both have our own significant health issues, yet we spent our entire summer clearing out their home. A year and a half later, we’re still trying to get through papers and files. We’ve paid a huge price on behalf of those who just couldn’t let go of things. As I go through my own home, I think of my children and how I don’t want to burden them. This mindset really helps in the purging process.

  2. We downsized over 10 years ago. It was lots of work after raising children in a larger home for 25 years. But it was something we very much wanted to do. That made it easier. We now love our open floor plane, 2 bedroom duplex townhome. However, much like you, I decided a few years into it that farmhouse style will not work here. I’ve started to slowly change things. I’m looking forward to hearing your advice about changing styles

  3. Thanks for sharing your downsizing story and the good tips about getting rid of stuff. We have a city junk day (every 2 years) where you can place anything you do not want down by the curb for free pick up. I plan to do some decluttering this spring to take advantage of this. I find it’s easier to keep on top of this instead of leaving it for one big job. We are empty nesters, but will not need to downsize. We live in our same first home as when the kids were growing up. Many of our friends moved to larger houses and now are moving to smaller places. Our home suited us fine then (kids had to share a room) and now is the perfect size for just the two of us too.

    1. One suggestion is to graph out the measurements in your new home do a layout and use small pieces of paper to represent furniture, Think about what you Want in your new home FIRST, then start categorizing the rest, sell, donate, give, etc. second thing I did was set up a legend for the movers as I wasn’t there with large pieces of colored packing tape, ie, yellow-kitchen, blue-master bedroom, etc. They LOVED it. And made everything so much simpler for everyone. I also took photos of each box before I packed it, labeled it so I knew what was where. Work, but lifesaving. I kept those photos and had matching numbers, on each box.

  4. Not only will you have the physical move to consider, but the emotional move is one to consider, also. We left our family home of over 30 years and moved to a community of mostly retired folks. Many of our new neighbors have second homes and are often away. After being an integral part of a supportive community in our previous neighborhood I feel isolated in our new home. My new home is newer and pretty, but I have had to work very hard to try to make and maintain friendships. Covid certainly hasn’t helped. If it had been up to me I would not have moved probably for another 10 years, but my husband was insistent. At times you just have to make a compromise and hope for the best.

  5. I am really enjoying this series! We plan to retire in a few years and move to a warmer climate. I am already beginning the process of thinking through what type of home I want and what I need to get rid of. After clearing out both of our parent’s homes, we definitely don’t want to leave a big clean-out job for our kids. As someone who loves to decorate and has quite a stash of home decor, I look forward to learning from you!

  6. I’m LOVING this series and hearing all the different stories about downsizing!

  7. The one thing I loved about our previous home was the big windows that let all the sunlight pour in.We have big windows in this home but some how the look isn’t the same.There isn’t the amount of storage that the other house had, so that is a constant struggle.I do like everything on one level, easier upkeep.Still getting rid of “stuff” after 6 years, always a work in progress !! Glad you are loving your new space.

  8. This article is so timely. We just moved from MD to FL and purged 20+ years of stuff from a family of six home. There are only 2 of us now as they are off living their own grand adventures. We actually are moving into a slightly larger home but with less stuff. I expect some rooms to sit mostly empty until we have the time and money to buy furniture for upcoming friends and family visits.
    Looking forward to more writings from you on this topic.

  9. Been trying to downsize for almost a year now. Our son now off at college. I hate downsizing, because it’s so hard to do. For instance, having to let go of so many memorable things. Items that been in your family for to many years to recall. Hand me downs from families. Things you spent probably to much money on, just to get nothing for it, or having to give it away, because of being so tired of moving/cleaning out of stuff you have acquired over the many years.

  10. We bought the house my mother in law owned and she continued living with us for two years before moving into a retirement place. She took what she wanted/needed, and boy there was SO much left behind as she had lived in this house for 30 years. It was left to me to clean out every nook & cranny. ( I actually found two urns she had left behind, one was her first husband!) It took probably 3-4 years to declutter, give away & dump things, but now our house is neat as a pin. We have breathing space now. Oh, and don’t forget your outside spaces! We don’t have a garage but there’s a backyard shed that hadn’t been cleaned out in decades. We could only walk in a few steps, it was so packed! My hubby & I tackled it on a weekend & I’d estimate 90% was cleaned out.

  11. Christy H says:

    I’m enjoying this series so much. After dealings with all the belongings of both our parents plus an aunt and cousin after they passed, I decided I did not want to put my children through that so I’ve done some purging. And even though we aren’t downsizing YET, I know that day is coming. In my case, my children don’t have a sentimental bone in their bodies, so it will mean getting rid of lots of things that are sentimental to me, which I am finding difficult. After talking to my friends, I’m told they are in the same boat with their children. If you have any suggestions for how to handle sentimental items, that would be a good post for a lot of us. Thank you!

    1. claudia bassano says:

      Try taking photos of things you may need to purge

  12. Cynthia Halbgewachs says:

    Thank you for sharing your downsizing story! You have always been my favorite blogger since I started preparing to downsize three or four years ago. Imagine my surprise when I realized you were downsizing at the same time! I am sorry about your health struggles, but your faith shines in the darkness of your trials. I am 73 now and my husband is 80–so much older than you. We moved from the town in Nebraska where my husband was born and the home of forty-three years to southern Oklahoma to be near at least one of our children. We lived in a rental for about a year while we built a new house. I thank God that I found the color specialist Maria Killam’s blog so I could use her professional services as a new build designer. The sizes of our former home and our new one are comparable to yours. I love our new home, but the downsizing part is like so much of growing old—it ain’t for sissies!

  13. I, too, would love to hear how to deal with treasured family heirlooms when your adult children are not the sentimental types. ? Any excess “clutter” is gone but now down to things that are not appropriate for the curb or yard sales etc. For instance, silver (think we were the last generation to receive as wedding gifts and actually use it (next generation doesn’t have interest/time to polish), china, fine jewelry, antique dolls/trains, artwork, antique furniture, book collections and so many sweet family pictures. The hardest things to deal with. What do you do? Where do they belong in this new, unfamiliar world of not cherishing things from prior generations. We were always SO grateful to have these things ha def down to us but seems to not be the case with the our children’s generation. Full disclosure… it’s so heartbreaking….. Collectors and antique dealers seem to have been squeezed out by impersonal, online businesses. So sad. Would be oh so grateful for ideas!!!

    1. CarolBinTX says:

      You might find someone who would be interested. My daughter has developed a love for vintage glassware. She displays them on shelves built across the window in her butlers pantry and she uses them a lot when entertaining. No two are alike, different shapes and colors. She got that idea from a blogger. It’s really pretty! She bought most of them from an Etsy shop…I think the owner of that online shop peruses used goods stores in Missouri/Arkansas. Maybe try selling your stuff (if you can part with them now) on FB Marketplace or Nextdoor Neighbor or other online venues? It’s probably what your kids will do one day. When my brother passed, his four sons had an estate sale company deal with everything. They didn’t ask me or my surviving sister if we’d like anything. Most of the stories behind the items are gone for good I think this is so sad. Fortunately, I ended up with most of my mom’s, grandmothers and great-grandmothers things and I’m making my grown kids listen to all the stories! I also put notes in boxes while undecorating the Christmas tree last year of the ones they should consider keeping…but who knows what they’ll do with them. I am obnoxiously controlling over sentimental things! Also, my mom used to really appreciate that I used all the old dishes and serve ware. When you do that, the kids start realizing good memories about the pieces. My son keeps telling me that he wants this set of bowls that I bought at Walmart probably 25 years ago! The salad bowl was broken long ago and the entire set probably cost $8 or so. He always visits via plane, so it might be awhile before he can take them off my hands!

    2. Here are just two suggestions that we did: we had all of our photos digitized. It’s a lot of work, but worth it. We had a cd made for us and one for each of our children. As far as the jewelry goes, I am having the stones removed and remade into more current looking pieces that I will wear.

  14. Carol Lupiani says:

    If you’re considering downsizing here are three things that helped us. First, make a spreadsheet of the items.packed, assign each box a number on the spreadsheet to correspond to the items. This saves time both packing and looking for items after you move in. Second, use “space bags” (the kind where you vacuum out the air) to pack pillows and bedding.. lastly, we hired an estate sale company to sell items we knew we wouldn’t be using. This eliminated emotionally trying to do this ourselves. I’d still be doing this 4 years later.

  15. You’ve made lots of changes in two years…all of them good! Unless we find something that we cannot walk away from and we act fast in this seller’s market, we’ll probably never downsize. We have 2400 SF, 4 bedrooms. Our daughter and family lives 5 miles away and our son who hasn’t lived at home for 15 years, is the nostalgic one who tells us never to sell! Even though I’ve been decluttering for years, my goal is to clean out all closets (no stuff on the FLOORS) and drawers in the next year. My most favorite memory of moving to this house from a 550 SF apartment, was accidently running into an unused closet at times! After two kids and becoming empty nesters…those closets are filled to the brim! Time to get sorting through them again…I’m not EVEN going to tell you what my garage looks like…no cars!

    1. It’s wonderful when you know you are where you belong! And yes, no matter where we live purging and organizing is always so important!

  16. Karen Ciambrone says:


    This series of downsizing really spoke to my heart. I cried and cried during your post regarding saying good-bye to your former house. I moved from Indiana back to Ohio following the death of my husband. Our house in Indy was our dream home. Not the most beautiful house in the city, but to us, it was everything WE wanted. It was a real diamond in the rough when we bought it, and with lots of money and TLC, we restored it to the beautiful house it was meant to be. Once my husband died, there was no reason for me to stay in Indiana. Most of my family and friends were back in Ohio. However, on moving day I sat in the living room (my favorite room) and watched the movers unravel 11 years of amazing memories in my adopted city. I was overcome with sadness. I could see my husband in every room of that house, and all the plans we still had for it before his unexpected death. Once the movers left, I said a tearful good-bye to each and every room, thanking it for all the beautiful and tragic memories. That house will always be “home,” and nothing else will ever give me that feeling again.

    I downsized from 4,000 square feet to 1,600 square feet. I have a cute house now back in my hometown, and it is decorated well and is safe. However, it is not “home,” as my husband isn’t here to share it with me. But, as with everything in life, we can only move forward. I feel my husband’s presence, so that gives me some comfort, but the sadness of leaving our Indiana home still lingers.

    Thank you for sharing your special story.

    Karen C.

    1. Oh, Karen! I can just hear the pain in your comment! I am so sorry for the loss of your precious husband. God bless you and comfort you, dear one!

  17. My husband is getting ready to retire this fall. We are looking to downsize. We currently have a 3500 square foot house. I want to downsize to anywhere from 2500 to 2700. I am already seeing the problem of what furniture to get rid of. This is hard.

    1. Yes, it is Heidi! We will talk about how to get rid of what we no longer need or can use.

  18. I have enjoyed your posts on downsizing. You were smart to figure out exactly which furniture would fit in your new home before moving. We moved from a home that was almost 4000 square feet into a home that is only 1800 square feet, but we didn’t get rid of nearly enough furniture and ended up putting it in the unfinished basement. Yes, thank goodness for a basement, but we have slowly gotten rid of the excess furniture over the last five years since we moved along with other stuff that didn’t need to be moved. I hope there’s not a next time, but if there is, I would definitely purge more, especially big items that I don’t need!

    1. We have a basement full of furniture too. I seem to collect chairs and accessories! I am starting to sell items I can no longer use.

  19. My story is quite different than most that I have read. My husband and I decided to downsize after our kids moved out and got married. (Well, actually it was a lateral move in terms of size, but it was brand new built home.) We were in a 25 year old home we had built and were tired of all the maintenance it required. We bought in a 55+ community. I was excited to move in and enjoyed the 11 years we spent there. It gave us a time to relax and regroup. However, we found that our family was growing and when our 9 grandchildren started getting older they were taking up more room! So my husband and I decided during Covid that our home was of great importance to us and we wanted to live in a home that we totally loved and could enjoy even if we were in “lockdown” mode again. (We hope that does not happen again!) So we decided to move out of NJ to Florida. We also decided to buy a home that was 22 years old, had fabulous bones, was on one floor with1/2 acre of land but needed major updating! We are 66 years old and have been working on this 5100 sq. ft. beautiful home for 1 1/2 years now. We LOVE it! I packed up most of my furnishings that we have been collecting for 44 years of our marriage and brought it with us. Everything fits beautifully and I love that I have the things that I cherished from my family with me. Since this home is on one floor it is much easier to live in due to no stairs. There is not a basement but we have a huge garage that can store what we need for holidays and my art supplies. When our family come to visit we have lots of room for everyone to sleep and play and swim and just hang out. We are just people that need our “space” to move about and host family and friends for holidays and visits. So, I guess the point of this post is to share a different perspective. Everyone has different needs. Before you move, consider what will make you feel “at home” in your new home. Some love new furniture, some love what they have. My husband told me through the entire move “This is our life, bring what you want with you but be judicious.” So that is what we did and it worked perfectly. Moving was expensive but not as expensive as buying all new furniture. Everything looks new in it’s new home. The antiques I loved came with us and I am so happy when I see them in their new environment. We also like that our new development has all ages living there. So I guess the moral of this story is that YOU have to decide what is right for YOU. Getting older does not have to mean downsizing but it is also okay to downsize. I feel like there is a lot of pressure for people over 55 to downsize. For us, that was a mistake so we quickly corrected and now we are very happy living in our new larger home. As for worrying about our kids cleaning out our stuff, I did that for my mom who was quite a collector She had a beautiful home and I spent a summer cleaning it out by myself. It was my pleasure and my honor to do that for her so she could enjoy her beautiful home all the days of her life. I am sure many children will feel the same way as I did. Again, we are all different and must make decisions based on our own families. I wish everyone good luck as they ponder their next move. It is not easy but it is worthwhile.

    1. What a lovely comment Clare. I don’t think people fee Pressure to downsize, I think most of us try to find a space that fits our present lifestyle with a view to aging.

  20. We “up-sized” 20 years ago, building a B&B. We had loved staying in B&Bs, and wanted to share that experience with minister friends. We knew many did not have the extra cash to do something like that, so we hosted them for FREE. We have 5 guest rooms, each with a private en suite bath. We went from 3300 sq. ft. to 12,000 sq. ft. Yes, 12,000. We told our builder what we wanted, thinking about 7,500 sq. ft. When he came back with the plans, we couldn’t see any way to reduce it. At the time we built this home, we had no grandchildren. We now have 9, and all our children and grands were here for Christmas. Our children are now wanting us to move closer to them, about 2 hours south of where we are now. We have known for some time that we will be moving, but I know it will not be easy. We’re looking at something more around 3,000 sq. ft.

    1. What a blessing to give rest and a place to get away for ministers! Our home is close to the size you are looking for. It’s just perfect for us and I hope foryouu too!

  21. Oh well, I guess we won’t have to downsize. This is the largest house we’ve had at around 2100 square feet. We’ve been here 27 years so I guess we’ll stay ☺️

    1. How nice! As we age, learning to adapt our living space is also important.

  22. I just read your finale of your downsizing story and then went back to read parts 1 and 2. I enjoyed your story because I am looking at a similar but very different move. I have lived in my present home 43 years. It is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a family room on a corner lot so there is a big yard. Great views though. I am elderly – 84- and a widow so I am considering moving to an apartment complex for seniors – an apartment is about 700 square feet. So there will be serious downsizing. Thinking about sorting through “stuff”, selling and donating what I don’t want and then selling the house is not pleasant. I change my mind about it all frequently. So it will be an experience and adventure.. I’m glad everything worked out so well for you,

    1. Thank you Anne! My mother is in a wonderful retirement community and her apartment is small but just right for her. There are so many other gorgeous spaces in her large community she enjoys them.

  23. I live alone in a 1500 sq foot house. My “downsizing” story is not about moving to a smaller house. My husband first went into a senior living facility in 2013. We moved some of our furniture into his new space. That was “downsizing” number 1. Slowly, the house we bought in 1983 has become a space that reflects just me. Last year, I had COVID/pneumonia and spent 30 days in the hospital and rehab. That led to my most recent “downsizing.” Since I plan for this to be my “forever home” I decided to remodel to make the house more walker/wheelchair friendly in the future. During the remodel, I went through every closet and kept only the things I need. I sorted all the boxes of pictures, report cards, etc., and gave each of my 5 children a packet of pictures from their childhood. Technically, only my bedroom and bath were remodeled but my entire house feels more spacious because of all the things I decided I didn’t need in my “new” house. I echo Janette, get rid of your stuff while you still can! You’ll enjoy a “new” house and your heirs will thank you.

    1. I hope you are feeling better Nancy! You are so smart to purge and organize! Good for you!

  24. I really loved this series on downsizing. My husband and I KNOW we will be facing it sometime soon, however there’s no urgency at the moment. Please share with us your best suggestions on tackling room-by-room ‘tricks’ . I have started a file on my desktop labled “Downsizing”.

    1. Good for you Sue! I wish I had a lot more info about downsizing before I started the process.

  25. Barbara S says:

    Another downsizing topic I think should be discussed is the dreaded final exit plan. Children will appreciate having less furniture and dishes to sell, but what about the mess we leave them if they can’t find how to log into our computers, phones and accounts to close them out. Last month I went through my Facebook friends and deleted 147 of them, people I had not been in contact with for years and weren’t active on FB. Three people were deceased but their families had never deleted their FB accounts. I went through my Passwords binder and closed numerous accounts that were irrelevant, such as online businesses that I purchased one item from and won’t buy from them again. The Executor will go nuts trying to figure it all out. There are many good books on the subject. I just finished “In Case You Get Hit By A Bus” by Abby Schneiderman. I’m considered one of the most organized people in the world, but it opened my eyes to things I didn’t think about. Love this blog and looking forward to more.

    1. Sandy Cerro says:

      Excellent ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!

  26. Yvonne, I enjoy all of your posts. I love your new home at Tanglewood. We also downsized. I feel your pain. It is so difficult to part with our things. We do not have a basement in our new home in Florida. Therefore there is not a lot of storage. I have to be very sure when I buy new things that i really love the item.
    Please keep showing all your new ideas and changes that you make. You have given me so many great ideas.
    God bless.
    Rachel Bowley

  27. Sandy Cerro says:

    I was a young widow in my mid forties. I continued to live in the huge home until my kids were grown and married. The next step was to move to a smallish bungalow in an active adult community. I had to go through my husband’s belongings that I saved because it was too difficult at the time. Ended up saving a shirt for each of the kiddos and donating the rest to a men’s shelter. I took the opportunity to ask myself if I want my kids to have to go through all this “stuff”. Nope. Off it went to the local thrift shop. I am working on having more discretion about what comes into this new home. It is actually liberating. However, the quilting fabric and books to read are another story!

  28. I too really enjoy this series. My husband and I have been looking into condos now, while purging our home. It’s quite a process. Our present home needs updating, so I would like to know how much we should do in order to sell the house, with knowing we plan on selling in the next year or two? I would appreciate and insight into this. I am excited to decorate a new home though also. Im glad to also see so many people are dealing with purging. My husband gets upset with how much stuff we have.