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Old 07-15-2009, 11:43 AM   #21
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I'm pleased with our decision to downsize. We moved into a smaller house, sold things/furniture we no longer needed and used that money to buy new things.

Some other benefits:

-- lower utility bills (not heating unused rooms)
-- paying less property taxes based on sq ft
-- spending less time doing yard work (with smaller yard)
-- spend less time cleaning with fewer rooms

More time to golf
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:22 PM   #22
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DH and I live in a 975 sq ft house. When we left to travel for over a year, we "downsized" our stuff to fit into a rented 10X10 space, except for garden tools and old furniture left for our renter to use, and one car that we parked at a relative's house.
It was a LOT of work to sort through all the stuff we'd crammed into the closets. We worked solid for 30 days, morning to night.
Looking back on it (more than 10 years ago) I wish I'd gotten rid of more.
I'm glad I kept all the photos and slides.
The only thing I kind of miss is my 10-speed bike from high school/college that I gave to charity. It was not fancy but had some memories attached. OTOH a friend has given me another of the same vintage, higher quality, as a spare bike. I'm a bike nut.
If we buy another house, I wouldn't want any more space. Less stuff is better.
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:04 PM   #23
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Thank you all so much for your input -- especially enjoyed the George Carlin spot. We've been holding on to two homes (one in OH and one in FL). Since we stay in FL 7 to 8 months a year -- decided to sell the OH home so as not to worry about it in the winter. Put it up for sale when we came back in May -- really thought it wouldn't sell, but it must be meant to be because it's sold. Don't need any of this stuff in OH so I'm going through everything -- giving the good stuff to our kids (if they want it) and I guess donating or taking stuff to the auction house. It's just tough doing this -- so many happy memories of the stuff and this house.
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:33 PM   #24
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We actually had a very good experience selling stuff on Craig's List. I posted photos and prices and folks who were cruising the internet at work would write back and ask me to hold them until 5PM. (I could tell because their emails would be from places like Dell, IBM, or some state agency.) We sold all sorts of stuff that way, china, silver, furniture, artwork, and rugs. I enjoyed meeting the buyers, and felt like our things ended up with folks who wanted and appreciated them. You have to be OK with selling things at near garage sale prices however.

When it got down to the wire and we had to be out of the house, we put our lawn tools and things like that on the front walk and posted a "free, come and get it" ad. on Craig's List.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:30 PM   #25
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I empathize with the difficulty of giving up things you've lived with for years.

When we went overseas, we were obliged to downsize for 3 years to a very nice flat. Three-quarters of our belongings went into storage. Instead of finding this liberating, we missed our former space, belongings, art, books, furniture, and yard.

We are selective about what we acquire, and rarely get rid of anything. Once age erodes our health, we know we won't be able to take care of everything we own, and D R E A D the inevitable downsizing. These objects and rooms bring us joy. If we had kids, we would give them our things so we could at least come and "visit" our stuff now and then.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:41 PM   #26
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For us, downsizing simplified our lives, lowered the stress level and brought our ER date much closer. What's not to like?
ditto. We downsized almost 6 years and have absolutely no regrets, going from 3,500' to 1.400' and from a 5 bedroom to 3 bedroom.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:31 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I empathize with the difficulty of giving up things you've lived with for years.

When we went overseas, we were obliged to downsize for 3 years to a very nice flat. Three-quarters of our belongings went into storage. Instead of finding this liberating, we missed our former space, belongings, art, books, furniture, and yard.

We are selective about what we acquire, and rarely get rid of anything. Once age erodes our health, we know we won't be able to take care of everything we own, and D R E A D the inevitable downsizing. These objects and rooms bring us joy. If we had kids, we would give them our things so we could at least come and "visit" our stuff now and then.
My dear mom foisted a bunch of stuff heirlooms on us before she passed, but, frankly, I only took most of it to keep her happy. I am constantly reassessing the need for the stuff I have, and especially for new stuff.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:31 PM   #28
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We went to an auction today just to see what our "stuff" might be worth -- how depressing!!! Might as well give it away and save the auctioneer's voice. Funny how we sometimes even buy these items "on time" and think they are so precious -- a solid wood dining table and 6 chairs went for $40!! A beautiful mattress, box springs and frame went for $20!
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:40 PM   #29
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I'm planning on downsizing in a few years to do some extended travel.

Right now I'm in a ~1800 sq ft house with about $5K total worth of stuff, which includes the $3K car. That's comfy for me and my three kids, but when it's just me I know I'd do just fine in a ~500 sq ft apartment or a teardrop trailer.

For the most part the stuff I have is just stuff and I have little attachment to it. The stuff that I tend to want to save is either utilitarian (clothes, bed, etc.) or sentimental, like the old oak desk that was my father's and his father. Not a whole lot in the latter category.

One thing I'm doing now is actually turning the question on its head a little. Rather than thinking "What do I want to get rid of among the stuff I have now?" I think "What do I need (and I'll get rid of everything else)?" I'm actually tracking what I use on a daily basis of the things I own. It's a pretty small subset of all my stuff.

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Downsizing Regrets
Old 08-28-2009, 11:53 AM   #30
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Downsizing Regrets

Are you done with clearing out all the "stuff" yet? Have you moved to a smaller home? Or are you still going through the process right now? I am organizing and trying to sell and/or donate some of our stuff right now to prepare to downsize from a 5 bedroom home to a condo so I know the pain that you are referring to. We can take our discussion off line if you'd like because I really would like to learn more from you on how best to go through this process. Thank you.








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Have you ever regretted downsizing your home and belongings? Seemed like a good idea a few months ago, but now, I'm fearful.
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Old 08-28-2009, 12:07 PM   #31
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4 years ago we downsized from a modest home (1800 square feet) plus sailboat kept at a marina to a motorhome. I owned the home for 20+ years so you can imagine how much stuff had accumulated!

Got rid of most of our stuff - we have a small amount of keepsakes and favorite things stored in a 5x10 climate-controlled storage unit (but no furniture - sold all that) and a bank safety deposit box. Everything else we own travels with us!

No regrets at all!!! Of course we don't plan to live this way permanently. I expect in another 6 years or so we might buy another modest home somewhere, buy some furniture and a bit more "stuff" since we'll have more space.

Getting rid of all that stuff went a long way to curing me of "blind accumulation".

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Old 08-28-2009, 12:59 PM   #32
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Thank you, Audrey. Congratulations on your success with getting rid of the stuff that you wanted to get rid of. Sounds like fun living in a motorhome and traveling. What freedom. I will learn from you and stop the "blind accumulation" now as well as working through getting rid of my stuff. Enjoy your retirement.
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:16 PM   #33
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For the most part it's been good for us, though we may have downsized slightly too much. One more room and at least another half-bath would be ideal; a 2/1 isn't too small for us usually but since I work from home almost exclusively now, a separate home office would be nice to have (but would need a third bedroom or other "bonus" space). And even though we only "need" one bathroom 98% of the time, that other 2% can be a real drag.

Still, downsizing is what got us completely 100% debt free, including no mortgage, and has made easier to live on a LOT less which will serve our financial security now and in the future. So in the end, I'm glad we did it even if it hasn't been ideal in all ways for us.
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:20 PM   #34
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Interesting comments. DW and I recently retired from career #1 after 32 years, and moved from a 2400 htd 4/2 to a 900 htd 2/2 while we are building retirement home.
Retirement home is 1756 htd with a 437 bonus room upstairs, and it's all on 4 acres of hills and large oak/maple trees, and surrounded by forest. We've been planning this for years, and poured the slab last week. 75% of our stuff is in storage, and right now, we cannot find anything.

We've moved 10 times in the past 35 years always advancing in the j*b, but also, always living in nice upscale subdivisions. I hate subdivisions, and am looking so forward to living on a few acres of my own where I can walk out and pee off the back porch if I want.

The downside is that there is always lots of grass to mow, but, that gave me an excuse to buy a nice gentlemens tractor (kubota) and finish mower. I now enjoy cutting grass. lol We have lots of room to grow our own vege's and lots of them.
Ever tasted sweet corn that went from the stalk to the pot in three minutes? WOW is the difference. Ever taste really really new new potatoe's ? unbelieveably better than what comes from walmart.
There is little to no savings by growing your own, but the quality jumps up several times over.

my two c
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:42 PM   #35
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Actually we might "upsize" a little when we buy another home - more space. I would love to have a nice large workout space and DH likes to fantasize about his own print shop. So we might need an extra "studio" type building or something. Also, I have some serious culinary demands when I finally get another "real" kitchen.

I had my own garden for many years and sure enjoyed the fresh veggies, but I don't miss the gardening part at all! As a consequence when we find a good farmer's market we are all over it! And sometimes we get donated produce from friends/family - yeah!

Neither of us is looking forward to yard/lawn maintenance either! DH was thrilled to get rid of that chore.

But we sure love our privacy (and hate subdivisions too), so we'll just have to deal with it.

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Old 08-28-2009, 02:10 PM   #36
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since I work from home almost exclusively now, a separate home office would be nice to have (but would need a third bedroom or other "bonus" space). And even though we only "need" one bathroom 98% of the time, that other 2% can be a real drag.
Murphy beds can help. We love ours (two twins = a king) and it enables the home office to quickly become a spare bedroom, but while the bed is not in use it is very inconspicuous -- even has bookshelves if you want.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:21 PM   #37
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We unsized in retirement. Actually the 'main' house is about the same size as our pre-retirement home. However, it is only one bedroom. What would normally be the other two bedrooms is one contiguous space that now makes up the TV room, and wife's craft room. We seperated the other two bedrooms to what we call the 'little house' it is about 30 feet across a gated patio/garden and is only used five or six times a year. As it is completely self contained, it is not necessary to run the ac/heat all the time and such. It also does not need to be cleaned as often.
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:23 PM   #38
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We downsized 3 times. Once out of the McMansion of 5000 sq.ft., then once when we began home swapping, and once again when we bought our place in the sun and sublet our northern penthouse for the winter season.

Although we are upsizing because we added this 1700 sq.ft place in the sun. But we are very aware of avoiding too much stuff. It is like chaos when you buy stuff because you like it. It is even harder when stuff is available for free through relatives' estates. But believe me, it is worth it!
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:52 PM   #39
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Still living in the same "starter house" (raised ranch with double garage integrated) since 1984. The house is moderately sized, but the property is huge. It takes me 1.5 hours to mow it with a riding lawn tractor.
For my age, mobility and FIRE status, it's perfect. It's not like I have to be somewhere everyday at a specific time.
I'm ready to boogie right now, but dh2b needs to finish out his years to get a better retirement. Holding pattern...
Long range plan is to relocate, selling the house and most likely rent. We may retain the homestead for a year or two after he retires, and do trips for a month or so to really check out an area.
This will be a definite downsize operation with respect to furniture and household goods. I'm already w*rking on my 29 year collection, giving most of it away to folks we know who need "stuff" or just FREE by the side of the road.
I'd rather donate to less well off folks than sell it. I've gotten my use from things, so what the heck? I was given a lot of things by older friends when I was young, so I'm passing it forward.
At one time, I could fit all of my belongings in my 67 Dodge Dart. No kidding.
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:17 PM   #40
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When we move to Missouri in 2010-2011, maybe I will upsize. My ideal home would be larger than my present home because I want to set up a home gym, and also will need some hobby space.

I would like a larger, wider lot for privacy, and I plan to hire someone to mow and take care of any landscaping issues. (Young dreamers, note: a lot of aging boomers may have a need to pay $$$ for mowing and landscaping and this is opportunity knocking for somebody).

So, although I would be perfectly happy with a home anywhere from 1300-2500 square feet, my preference would be about 1700-2000 square feet. My present home is 1558 square feet.
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