Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rightsizing: a paradigm shift

Just about exactly a year ago I wrote a post called "Downsizing: a difference of opinion". I talked about our big house, our eight kids grown and gone, icy stairs and driveways to fall on, and the "stuff" we've accumulated. You can read that blog post here.

A lot remains the same now, a year later. But there are changes in the wind.

When we got back from Tucson in April, after five months away, we were very aware of how much the traffic has increased in the Seattle. How many apartments are being built, without a corresponding expansion of the road system. Real estate values are sky high - "a new Silicon Valley" is one description I've heard - and some people have even been priced out of the rental market, contributing to the homeless situation. In the parking lot of my church there are nine spaces reserved at night for women - with or without children - living in their cars. We provide a safe place to sleep and shower.

It doesn't feel much like home here now.

So I started exploring the possibility of a move. At first I looked at downsizing to a smaller house in this area, or a condo, but it's all expensive. Then I thought about an apartment for a year or so. Art and I looked at several and found one we like. But we'd have to sign a 13-month lease even though we'd be gone for five months of that time. And the apartment rent is a bit higher than our mortgage! Also, parking is an issue, as are roads getting to the complex from the congested freeway. Still, it's an option.

Then we began talking about a full-time move to Tucson. We already have our little place there, furnished and equipped with everything we need and want. And, close by in the same 55+ resort are manufactured homes, quite a bit larger and much, much cheaper than anything here in Washington.

We could do that. In the current housing market our place would sell quickly and for almost four times as much as we paid for it 23 years ago. But we'd have to get rid of our "stuff" - if not before we put the house on the market, then before escrow closed six weeks later and we had to move.

I called Rhys, a real estate agent who goes to my church. He came over for a walkthrough. We were encouraged, though daunted by the magnitude of the getting-ready-to-sell part. He recommended a friend who is a decluttering coach. I made an appointment. Penni came over today and spent two hours with us.

Oh, my goodness. She had fabulous ideas. A strategy to help Art overcome his reluctance to rehoming or disposing of his possessions. A suggested order for doing things, and which of us would be responsible for what. By the time she left, Art was smiling and so was I.

With this plan in place, Art and I have committed to work on "right sizing" for two hours a day. It will take the time it takes. It will take calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, and hiring someone to go to the dump multiple, multiple times, and putting a "free" sign in the parking areas, and donating to Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity, and asking family and friends if they want anything, and finding a company that does estate sales.

Most likely our house won't go on the market until next spring. But when I made that prognostication to Art tonight he said, "Maybe sooner."

Maybe! With this paradigm shift, it's possible.


Kathy @ SMART Living said...

Hi Linda! Congratulations on your decision to rightsize. Rightsizing happens to be one of my very favorite words and I write about it all the time. That's because I think rightsizing is the perfect idea for getting rid of EVERYTHING that doesn't fit or really matters to us and instead embraces those things that do. I avoid the word "downsizing" because it always sounds like a sacrifice. Rightsizing isn't a sacrifice at all. It is the choice to finally focus on what really brings us joy and contentment. Much of the time it can look like a smaller home and less stuff, but again, it really isn't about what you own, it is recognizing that whatever you do own is there by choice--not by accident. I hope that you and Art are able to easily decide what is most important to you and then slowly work towards it. If my own experience is an example, it will be the best choice you ever made! ~Kathy

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Good for you. Just making the decision is major, but you are an organized person with a plan and I am sure your husband’s prediction will come true.

This is something I always plan to do, and do it in spurts that I always “intend” to continue, but alas, I am still at square one. It is hard and emotional and lately, I am not up for it. Maybe next year.

Olga said...

Sounds like a wonderful declutter coach -- to leave you both smiling AND committed to action. I would love to hear updates on your progress.

DJan said...

Hooray for you! I love the word rightsizing and am so glad to hear you are going about it in the "right" way, a little at a time, with a coach, no less. Congratulations and I look forward to hearing how it all turns out. :-)

Roberta Warshaw said...

We just went through all that ourselves. We got rid of a lot of stuff. Luckily my son wanted most of our furniture so we gave it all to him for his new home.

Boston is like Seattle. The real estate is so over priced but we made it work well for us.

We moved full time last week to our house in Tucson. We are glad we made that decisions and will be using some of the money we got from the sale to make this house perfect for aging in place in. Fix up bathroom showers, kitchen etc.

Good luck. Just keep at it. Every day we did something for the downsizing/move. It is worth it, I can tell you that.

Arkansas Patti said...

Getting rid of "stuff" is the brutal part of moving so it is neat that you have allowed yourselves plenty of time. Sounds like the real estate marked is perfect to sell.
Have you tried Tuscon in the summer? It can get HOT.

Tom said...

Make no mistake, downsizing is a lot of work, and there can be some emotional issues as well. But you gotta do it sooner or later. One suggestion: If you just can't find a way to get down to the level you need, then rent a storage unit and put your overflow in there. After a few months of paying the fees, go back and take another look. You'll have a fresh eye on things and can probably complete the job at that point.

Linda Reeder said...

I will watch and learn from you. Some day we will be ready too.

Joared said...

I like the term “rightsize” rather than downsize. Language can matter in our thinking. Maybe that will help me get more into doing so here as I want to do.

Madeline Kasian said...

When we were ready to downsize, our son was putting HIS home on the market and I LOVED HIS HOUSE! It was the perfect size,still had a pool which I had to have, just lotsa goodies, but smaller. Due to the timing, we had to get busy and "right size" more quickly than originally planned and this worked in our favor.husband started piling up BOOKS I thought he'd NEVER get rid of, and taking them to library- I put my work clothes and high heels into consignment shops, we sold some large furniture that would not fit in the next house.. it went pretty smoothly, but was exhausting too.Still, we moved on time and got into a house that is perfect for this stage of life.That was 5 years ago. You're MUCH more careful about accumulating,thrift store shopping, or purchases of any kind,after you do the right size thing.AND your priorities change so much!! I know you and Art will find that,too, as you move closer to making Tucson your new home!! P.S. After the first "round" of tossing stuff out and giving away, you get a thicker skin and start moving through the piles faster!! LOL! Don't WAIT for family to claim-- one chance and then OUT WITH IT!!

Sally Wessely said...

I think you are making the right choice. I think you will be happy to downsize. Wait. I know you will be happy to do so. It is Art that is struggling with the idea, but I think as he has someone rethink the amount of possessions we acquire in a life time, and as he begins to rightsize, he will feel better about moving on.

When we moved, we began downsizing and tossing months before. I had dear friends who came to help me make decisions on what to toss, what to keep, and what to give away. That helped so much. It needed to be done. It needs to be done again.

It will be fun to see how you progress through this process.

Angela said...

Good luck! Last year, I decided to do some massive de-cluttering. It was a lot of work, but I'm so glad that I did it because now I feel like I can really enjoy the things I truly love now that all the things I didn't like and the things I only sort of liked have been removed. I'm now surrounded only by things I really love or find really useful and it's a great feeling.

Allison said...

I do wish the Poor People's Campaign received more coverage in the press. Thank you for your willingness to participate. Sometimes you do have to unplug, I need to quit spending so much time on the laptop.