Adapting To Change

Adaptability expands your capacity to handle change and allows you to thrive, no matter the challenge. I try to make the best of every situation, so I enjoyed creating my combined office/closet/makeup table/workout area. Measuring the floor space and furniture allowed me to map out furniture placement and make the most of the room.

My daily summer uniform often includes white jeans, simple tops, nude sandals, and denim jackets, so my closet reflects the current season. I’ve learned to dress in layers that I can remove as needed since our temperatures can vary as much as thirty degrees in one day. Add visits to high-powered A/C in public spaces, and you would be wise never to leave home without a jacket or sweater.

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Organization is key to making any space function well for your needs. For example, a considerably smaller closet inspired me to carefully plan which pieces to bring with me and what to store. Using every inch of space allows for easy access and maximized use.

Bags and shoes that are summer-appropriate, lightweight blouses, tees, tanks, jackets, pajamas, workout clothing, swimwear, and summer dresses all have a place.

The small carved table was previously in the living room under the piano painting. It has a center drawer, so it is serving well as a dressing table.

The dresser and small cabinet are Mickey’s, but they provide more storage and a place for the printer. My sister gave me the shoe cubbies years ago.

I also brought a favorite chair, a carved table, and a nightstand. The room configuration also allows space for yoga and Pilates, serving all my needs.

Many have asked how I organized my storage unit so I could easily access anything I needed. Here are a few pictures of the wardrobe side of my storage unit. Half of it holds furniture and home accessories; the other half contains the remainder of my wardrobe.

Nothing is packed in boxes, so I can easily “shop” my storage unit. Furthermore, it is only a couple of miles away, making access almost effortless.

Thanks for all your kind comments. I’m glad that sharing my downsizing journey has helped or inspired you.

  1. Thank you for sharing your organisation of your ‘new space’ and how you’ve stored your other treasures in the storage unit. You are so organized! You continue to be a real inspiration to us ‘older ladies’. So much so that I too have started an exercise regime as you look so well and slim and we are a similar age. Thanks again and congratulations on embracing this new chapter in your life.

  2. So fascinating. Your positive spirit during such an adjustment is admirable. I am wondering how the food/eating schedule is going? Sharing space is always a challenge. There would be a mild uproar in my house if we did not have 3 meals at the usual designated times!

  3. You are beautifully organized and have your own private living space. It is a big change but I find that as we age, change is harder but inevitable. You always look to the positive and you have many blessings in your life. Off-loading a large home is a lot of work. Now you will have more time, energy and money to enjoy your life. It’s all good!

  4. Change is always difficult at our age I think. It is enlightening to watch and learn from your experience. How soon will you be moving into your new place?

  5. Susan, you look rejuvenated! Thank you for sharing all the photos and all your tips. You are so organized! It’s inspiring! I’m trying to downsize and it’s not easy! I’m hoping to move from Upstate NY to SC to be closer to my daughter and son in law who are expecting my first grandchild in October. Wishing you and Mr. Mickey a wonderful summer!

  6. I’m glad that you have your own space and that you are finding ways to make it work for you. But still, what a huge adjustment. I appreciate your positive attitude which I’m sure will serve you well. As always you are a wonderful role model. Thank you for staying in touch with your loyal followers.

  7. Thank you for continuing to inspire. You have a gift of poise, communication and grace!
    How long had you been thinking about this move? I know I need to do a purge but thinking about it and doing it are two different things.

  8. I am inspired by your light and organized approach to this new phase of your life. We left our home for a loft apartment one year ago and it has been wonderful. I have always wanted to live in an industrial apartment in a city. It suits my style. And leaving the cares of home ownership at this stage of life has been liberating. I am still downsizing and needing less all the time. Best of luck on this leg of your journey.

  9. Love your organizational skills. It speaks my language. I would like to know if you use any undereye concealer. Also you said you don’t use foundation. Do you still use tinted moisturizer?

  10. Would you mind updating us with how your furniture sales succeeded? I am still figuring how to dispose of some good vintage and antique furniture. How did you set your prices for pieces? Did you donate much furniture and if so, what or where? I would so appreciate any more advice in this area. I won’t go into asking about things like old sandwich glass and reflecto lamps or old china. I want less of everything but feel stuck in the process! And yes, I d like to realize some realistic financial return, if possible. Your insights are so educational! Thank you!

    1. The prices for all antiques and collectibles are down from a few years ago. Sadly many of the younger crowd do not want our treasures.

      I set prices well below what I paid for the items, but I sold everything I intended. In addition, I donated books to the library and clothing and household items to charity shops. A few keepsakes went to family members.

  11. You are incredibly organized and efficient. I’m making some headway in weeding out. It is so difficult, I’m the keeper of many family treasures from both sides of the family. I’m thinking about distributing many of these things to others now rather than later. That also will determine what is important to the family. Enjoy your summer! We’re still waiting for it to appear.

  12. Storing purses in our closet is one of my challenges…how do you make them stand up? Fill them with paper? I saw yours on a top shelf. did they have some sort of divider between them? thanks, Julia

  13. Seeing your closet and storage space was so helpful! I moved to a much smaller space 18 months ago and edited my wardrobe drastically. Because my new location has a more temperate climate and a more relaxed and active lifestyle, I continue to reevaluate my clothing choices. It’s a ongoing challenge that will take a bit more time. Thanks for demonstrating that a positive change requires a positive attitude.

  14. You are a very smart, beautiful lady! I have enjoyed your post for years and hopefully you will continue on your new path in life.

    Dawn Nichols
    Selma, AL

  15. You are more than a fashion advisor. You are a life coach to many. Your positive attitude and can-do spirit inspire all of us. Your youthful attitude proves that age is just a number. Thanks for all you share to make the world a better place

  16. I wish I had your talent for organizing, this is a great job.
    Mickey sounds so much more like family.

  17. Add me to the list of ladies who find both your attitude and your organizing/downsizing choices inspiring. I’m sure this transition has had its share of challenges, but you seem to be weathering them beautifully. My own personal situation is likely to change in the coming, say, five years, and I’m already thinking about how I can make such transitions easier. All the best in your new adventures, and thank you for taking us along for the ride.

  18. Roger and I did this about 2 years ago. He wanted to escape the endless yard maintenance (outdoor kitchen and FP), so we moved to a group of houses in the same golf course neighborhood, that had smaller yards with lawn maintenance, only .7 mile away ! I knew about 2 years before we were going to move that it was going to happen, so I began a slow decluttering of the entire house. Every time we’ve ever moved, we’ve sold our home in a day (no lie !), so we’ve never decluttered in 40 years ! I sent 5 clothes racks full of my clothes and 1 clothes rack full of Roger’s clothes to our church clothes closet ! I couldn’t believe that I would still have anything to wear, but I do ! How did I ever stuff my closet with all that? Even after moving, I continue to declutter, as I see the value of doing that. It’s nice to have space, just space. I applaud you on doing it by yourself ( I mostly did ours, too). It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. I like how your storage ‘room’ is arranged so you can see you clothes and shoes and get them as you need them. I’ve encouraged my friends (I’m 75) to go through their things, some have and some say I’m not doing it. Their poor children. We don’t have children, so we’re trying to save our nephews a lot of angst of going through a lot of stuff, mostly junk, and identifying family items that they might want to keep for future generations.

  19. I am in awe of how you organized everything so quickly and so well! You have an incredible eye and mind when it comes to organization and spatial relations. And your home looks so comfortable and inviting.

  20. Susan, With deep gratitude your blog is a gift to me. My own life is finally taking shape, after my husband’s suicide several years ago. Your example of self-care and resilience is so valued. You add beauty and dignity to the details of life. This a comforting and vital aspect of the many changes that can come in life. Countless blessings as your own journey continues to unfold. Janette

  21. This is so interesting. It looks like you are a very organized person and I’m sure that served you well with this move!
    A multi-functional room is what we all need in this day and age I think.
    And, as always it’s amazing to see your closet and clothes storage. You surely have simplified dressing and it’s always a pleasure to see what you wear as well! Love your posts!

  22. You are amazing! We have sold many homes, and downsized but never to one room. You have given us very thoughtful ideas on making this work. Next series should be on how to cohabitate a home and kitchen. Thanks.

  23. Thanks Again For Sharing Your Journey….My Hubby & I (55yrs) are just starting our downsizing….Going through pictures of our Families & it’s a big job since we have big families on both sides & we have lots…. Going up north next month to visit Family & Friends & will take a good share& let them do with them as they please…
    Next new flooring & painting the inside….Outside is pretty much done with new landscaping….Just need to paint the front door…. Thanks Again For Great Ideas….pjnana

  24. You continue to amaze and inspire me! Your confident, non-confrontational manner in times of change is truly a wonderful trait for me to imitate.
    One question however is how do you keep any pests out of your storage unit? Thank you for your expertise and your grace

  25. Wow! Very impressive. I’m downsizing 70+ years. to move to a smaller home. Seeing your use of present smaller temp space and your storage unit organization, as everything you’ve shared over the years, is a great inspiration for me. I love that you can see and have quick/easy access to everything stored. Thank you!

  26. Your resilience and good humor in the face of immense change is very inspiring. I will be interested at how this change continues to unfold. Bless you..

  27. It’s always interesting to see how others organize and adapt. We moved last July after almost 30 years. When packing up the kitchen, I took everything out of the cabinets and got rid of a little more than half of the kitchen items. It’s amazing how much easier it is to cook since time is not wasted sorting through all the useless or duplicate items. I wasn’t near as relaxed as you during the process, but we are now almost settled and couldn’t be happier in our new digs. I am learning to “shop my closet” and have become much choosier with my purchases. Thank you for all your tips these past few years.

  28. I love your closet. I would love mine to look that way. I have one bar and the way down. With a bar that crosses at the other end. The back part is like the Bermuda Triangle. You can see or find anything in that part. I want a closet system. Then my husband could fit his things in there too. It’s a nice size closet. It just isn’t set up right. I’m going to look into getting that done. Did you use someone, or was the closet like that?

  29. You are really an inspiration to so many.Your attitude about this huge change in your life is remarkable.
    Your new living space looks lovely, you’ve made it your own,and once again totally organized.
    What a kind and thoughtful man, Mr Mickey is.
    You deserve some R and R now.
    Take Care
    Debbie K

  30. That is very cool, not packing away your storage in boxes. I’ve never seen anyone do that!

  31. Can you tell me where you purchased the small rectangular straw handbag on the long leather strap that is shown in your closet? I love it!

  32. I think your beginning paragraph truly says it all about growing older; gracefully and with happiness. My daily mantra is to try to move past the small irritations and keep what’s important in the forefront. For me, it is good health for myself and loved ones and finding beauty and peace each day. I always look forward to your blog; and admire your adaptability within your life.

  33. With the greying of the baby boom, many people will be making this life change soon, often into a small supportive living facility. The adjustment is difficult, but downsizing pre-emptively while we’re still able to be in control of the choices makes the adjustment easier.

  34. Susan, I was lucky when I sold my house. The buyers were a young professional couple just starting out and had very little furniture. They bought my guest room furniture, the living room sofa and loveseat, and a large dining room table and chairs. The furniture was too big for my new smaller home so it worked out well.

    You help women in so many ways. So happy to see your post and progress with the move!

    Wishing you much happiness in your new home.

  35. Your organizational skills are so remarkable. You give me hope that I will somehow be able to downsize 30 years of “stuff” into a manageable existence. Thank you for including us on your journey. I love your blog

  36. Your upbeat attitude is an inspiration and you have created a beautiful new space. Best wishes. Cindy

  37. Wow, are you ever organized, you made such wise and smart decisions every step of the way. Give yourself a BIG pat on the back. I am so impressed with your organizational abilities.

  38. Great job, you inspired me. What are the dimensions of your room? As one that constantly moves I don’t like boxes either. I am going to rethink my storage area, you made yours an attractive organized area to shop!

  39. As soon as I saw the lint remover hanging from the hook, I got mine out of the drawer & hung it there. So smart! Why I never thought of it? I have way too many clothes & need to purge. Thank you for always inspiring me to do better.
    I appreciate you so much.

  40. Great ideas. When get a chance can you school us on what to wear, makeup tips etc when having a your portrait taken?

    1. Wear all one neutral solid color. Don’t do your hair and makeup differently; try to look like you always do when you get ready for an evening out. Here is a post I published a few years ago about a photo shoot.

  41. I love all the information you have been giving us on your downsizing. I was wondering if you downsized any on your jewelry? I need to purge some of mine but don’t really know where to start. Have a great weekend!

  42. It seems like you sold your house, your furniture, moved, and did an incredible reorganization in new quarters in a matter of months! I have been trying to downsize for a year (maybe more than that), and it just does not even look like it! How do you do it??? You are incredible. I think maybe I have to have purpose–I need to make the decision that I am going to do it. I think my problem is that I like my house so much. Two things are operating at the same time–the need to size down and move to smaller quarters and then there is the reluctance to do so because I love my home.


  43. Downsizing is not easy! I admire your determination and ability to be able to do so, in what appears to have been without great difficulty, …I do realize not every minute of your preparation has been shown and you put in a lot of work. I wish you and Mr. Mickey happiness in your new abode!

  44. Sausa, you are always inspiring! God bless you in your new home and Happy Birthday to the suave, debonair Mr Mickey!

  45. Susan, I went through this same journey. My husband passed on May 29, 2021. I am so proud of myself. I did it. I downsized the entire 4500 sq ft house. I’m now in 1300 sq ft. It was tough. I had a party with grandkids and the 2 of them picked all they wanted. We laughed and cried, knowing grandpa D, was watching us. But, it’s done. I love my new place and I’m coming into my own. I watched you prepare and used some of your ideas. Thank you,

    1. I’m sorry for your loss, Leslie. I’m sure it was challenging to make all those changes, but I’m glad you have children and grandchildren to help you and keep you company.

  46. Dear Susan,
    I have too many clothes for my retirement lifestyle.
    I am embarresed with all the shoes.Jackets and pants and purses
    Could you give a list of basic peices of a non social lifestyle.
    Right now I wear joggers around the house for comfort but I do a relaxed
    style for lunch with friends or church.
    Your style is most appealing to me.
    Thank you for counseling and inspiration you give on non impluse buying.

    1. Thank you, Mary.

      Everyone’s basics will be different, but I like to have a variety of v-neck sweaters and tops, white jeans, medium and dark wash jeans, black jeans, cardigans, and button-up shirts in cotton oxford. A denim jacket looks great with black or white jeans.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.