My Downsizing Steps

I’ve always purchased homes as investments, so there was never an emotional attachment. However, letting go of a house, you built or grew up in with wonderful memories can be a lot to consider. Collecting furniture, art, antiques, and decorative accessories was a fun hobby, but this was the right time to sell my current house and downsize, so I didn’t hesitate to throw myself into the project.

One last shot from the sitting area.

The right timing and reasons will be different for each person. My purpose was to attempt to get the best price for the home. Additionally, I wanted to make decisions about each step in the process and not wait until I was no longer physically or mentally healthy enough to implement my plans. Being trapped in a place because of attachments to my possessions is not freedom, and it is not how I want to live in my final years.

My first step involved careful planning, as I separated the significant tasks by priority. Of course, my top priority was to hire the best realtor in my area to help me navigate the legalities and marketing. So, I turned to a good friend whom I trust implicitly. Thank you, Sam Taylor (The Property Experts), for securing three offers within two days of listing my home on MLS. You are indeed an inspiration in many areas of life.

After the sale, I needed a place to store the things I would keep. So, I rented a large climate-controlled storage unit and moved my wardrobe and some household and decorative items. I have been cleaning, moving, and restaging as I work so that the house remains tidy and presentable at all times for showings.

It took three days for me to empty the attic! I had more than fifty years of memories to sort through, give away, or toss. Even though I have moved too many times to count in my life, somehow, I managed to hold on to mementos from early childhood and throughout my various careers. I had enough stuff to break the garbage truck. I have done all the sorting, lifting, moving, and cleaning myself. (Which is proving to be a way to lose five pounds fast!) I made sure my insurance covered my possessions no matter where they were. (Thank you, Andrew! (Veritas Insurance)

Next, I needed a safe place to remain in this area until ready to begin my next chapter. The rental options were minuscule, and none were desirable because of the tight real estate market. Thank you, Mr. Mickey, for renting your extra bedroom and bath to me. You will always be my hero!

Above are a few shots from the MLS listing before my home was sold.
  1. I always enjoy your posts. Thanks for all of them. I’ve been a fan along time. How much is you rug in picture 8? Size? Thanks.

  2. What a huge undertaking Susan. I’ve done it many times and each time downsizing. We still have too much. I do miss some things I gave away or sold. But honestly how much does one need? Starting fresh is always great. Parting is not always easy. At times I wish I had children who would want my things because selling items is not easily done and I’d like to know my items are enjoyed. We went from 5 thousand sq ft to 22-hundred and still too much stuff.
    And the work…cleaning out…dumping. Sadly nobody will want my old photos and yearbooks, awards etc. I have childhood pictures and scrapbooks all still taking up space. My gosh and Holiday decor. Congrats to you on a major life decision. I wish you all the best Susan and I do believe the best is yet to come!!!

  3. Your home is so beautiful. The furnishings look like things you’ve lovingly collected over time. I’m sure it’ll be hard to part with them but freeing at the same time. Good luck with your new chapter,

  4. Thank you for sharing this post. I’m looking forward to your continued adventures. This is not the end but a new beginning.

  5. Congratulations!! We have also recently downsized and although it was a lot of work it is so worth it when the time is right in your life. You may need a permanent storage unit to house your beautiful wardrobe lol

  6. Hello Susan! OMG what a beautiful house and yard you have & it is filled with beautiful furnishings! We continue to try and downsize 30 years of “stuff” so I know how heart wrenching this can be. My husband and I have decided to age in place for now but are preparing for a change eventually. Susan you are such an inspiration to all of your readers. Looking forward to you sharing the next chapter. You deserve a day (or two) at a spa after all your efforts!! Take care and sending all my best to you. Jodi S

  7. Congratulations on a big project! I am a few years behind you in downsizing. This quote of yours resonates with me, ” I wanted to make decisions about each step in the process and not wait until I was no longer physically or mentally healthy enough to implement my plans. Being trapped in a place because of attachments to my possessions is not freedom, and it is not how I want to live in my final years” Well said!

  8. Some of us are thinking of moving into retirement communities and the best ones seem to come with a “sell by date”, meaning you have to be in reasonable health and still somewhat active to be admitted. It is difficult to know when the perfect time for this comes along because, though I don’t feel quite ready yet, I don’t want to wait too long and miss my chance to go into my first-choice facility.
    Have you considered a place like this, Susan? There are some outstanding continuing care “resorts” in my area and they have long waiting lists! I’m ready to make a deposit just to be sure of a spot.

    1. I have considered those communities. I will remain near Mr. M., my parents, and my sister, but I hope to travel and live closer to a beach someday. When I make that move, I want the load to be considerably lighter and more streamlined than my current situation.

  9. My second husband and I have moved four times in 16 years. We each started with 4000 sq ft homes, downsized to 2000, back up to 3500, now back down to 2500. You really get to know what you have, what to let go of. Good luck to you in this new endeavor!

  10. I love decluttering and just reading your article inspires me to attack more in my home!

    Best wishes on your new round of adventures!

  11. Hopefully you get closed on the property before the interest rates get too high. We thought about selling last summer and moving closer to our son but ultimately supply chain issues on a new build helped us decide to stay put for a while. We went ahead and got ride of some things anyway, just because we didn’t use or need them any longer. I think it will be a continuing process.
    Best of luck.

  12. Thanks for the update Susan. That’s wonderful Mr Mickey was able to help you out! Keep up your energy and stay strong!

  13. Sounds like you are making wise decisions which have been pondered over time. I’m sure that you will find the perfect new home.

  14. Congratulations Susan on a huge job underway! It is wonderful that you are looking ahead and planning for the future.

    I do slightly take exception to your phrase about your “final years”. Unless there are circumstances you have chosen not to share, you may have 20 or more very active years ahead. Don’t confine yourself too much.

    I have friends who bought a condo in Florida then downsized their primary home to a smaller garden home. Almost immediately, my friend knew it was a mistake -they went too small. She had no room for hobbies, no space to entertain more than a few people at a time, no private space when one spouse wanted to entertain or watch a particular tv show. They ended up selling that place and buying a much larger, and better laid out, place in a new townhome development. Of course realtor fees were paid each time. I know your situation may be different but just be cautious.

    1. If I am fortunate enough to have 20 more years, I do not want to spend them maintaining a house. I am looking forward to enjoying as many adventures and travels as my health will allow over the next few years. Renting a small place will be the perfect option for me in the future.

  15. Do you think it is best to rent until the market settles down or to continue renting until it is time to go into a care facility? Hard to know if renting is the way to go or buy smaller.

    1. There will only be cottage or condo rentals in my future. Owning a home is no longer something I aspire to. I prefer to spend most of my time enjoying experiences instead of cleaning, upkeep, and maintenance.

  16. |Congrats Susan! Your house is gorgeous! Its a crazy real estate market here in Canada as well. I know we would get top dollar for our house right now. Unfortunately the timing is off for us.

  17. Once you make up your mind there’s no dallying. Congratulations on the fast sale of your home. You are an inspiration!

  18. You are fortunate to have Mr. Mickey.
    I did the same 16 years ago after my husband passed.
    Clearing out a home of 30 years on my own was a project of several months. But I found a lovely condo near my daughter which has been so handy for being close to my family.
    Many good wishes for your future.

  19. I knew you would do great with this project Susan, and you have! Congrats and blessings in your new life chapter. Getting through your attic in three days by yourself is a Herculean feat! 🙂

  20. I can certainly relate!! I did this a few years ago and yet I still have a lot. If you are ever considering selling any of your beautiful scarves I would be interested. I bought one from you when you were still in business and I have kicked myself ever since for not buying more. One if the nicest that I own for sure

    I wish for you the best as you go on this journey. Thank you for taking us along ♥️

  21. AMEN and how timely, Susan!! We just moved from our home of 47 years…which we thought would be our forever home.. I can relate to all you said. Downsizing is rough, but we made it. We started looking at 2 places, this past September, we knew we wanted to move into. They are known as CCRC’s. Continuing Care Retirement Communities. We figured we would give ourselves a year. Low and behold when friends heard, in January, what we were considering, they said “we want to buy your home”!! We were blessed, to say the least…they ended up buying it. They were moving because of a health issue one of them had experienced and needed a smaller home on one level. We were moving to preserve/protect ourselves and to make the decision while we were healthy and able to do so. Not to mention a good time to sell. However, this all happened within 3 months. It was a whirlwind. We moved into our new, very lovely place on March 30th. Whew!! (Thank heavens for our daughters and their hubby’s help). We are delighted and enjoying all the wonderful new folks we are meeting, in this new chapter of our lives. No more yard work, no more cooking, along with having our place cleaned every week. Not to mention delicious food!! We do have a kitchen and still eat breakfast and lunch in our place, so we can control what we consume, for the most part. There are more social activities than able to attend. I can join the gardening group, if I miss yard work. I can join the flowers arranging ladies, too, if I like. Join the Hospitality Committee to welcome more very fortunate folks…it goes on and on…or just relax, read, knit, swim, walk, workout….whatever our heats desire. It’s all up to us. Moving is a lot to consider and actually do, at our age, but very pleased we did it. It is “freeing feeling”…now that it is behind us!!

  22. Good for you in your well-planned look towards the future.
    Memories take up zero space, stuff takes up a LOT!
    We were the sole caregivers to our parents, from 1996 until the last died in 2014.
    We had to empty 40+ years of belongings from my late parent’s home, as well as from my late in-law’s place.
    We knew this was something we did not want our only child to face when we die.
    In my parent’s case, my Dad had been a heavy smoker and 90% of the interior went into a dumpster, including a huge library 🙁 because of nicotine-infusion.  For any readers:  if you are smokers & downsizing, toss the stuff, it’s not safe to pass on to others!
    We began downsizing our own possessions because of this and found it very easy. 
    Family photos went into the shredder (our son doesn’t know who these people are), we didn’t want them to end up in Goodwill or as crafter’s ephemera!  My Dad’s military papers/decorations were donated to a museum.  Fine jewelry (dating back to early 1800s and too precious or delicate to wear) went through auction.  
    Our son has told us what few items (family heirlooms and some artwork) he does want and that is fine. 
    When we built our home in 1996, it was designed for “’til the end” living.  It is completely handicap-accessible (floor plan, wider doors, bathroom fixtures, etc).  We have a self-contained guest cottage that, should one be needed, provides private living quarters for a live-in caregiver.
    Our son graduates from university in two weeks.  We never plan to move wherever he moves.  We don’t expect him to care for us as we age.  His life needs to be his own, especially if he marries and has children.  We know how much of a mental & physical toll it took, on both of us and our child, caring for our elderly parents for years.  We will not do that to him again, with us.
    We want to be the parents/grandparents that are welcome for a visit, not as responsibilities!
    We recently sold a large piece of lake property and placed the money into an existing trust for our son.  It will more than pay for a future house for him. 
    Susan, doing all this will be freeing and have you looking forward to the future, not dreading it!

  23. It’s so nice you are sharing your process as many of us will be doing the same thing before we know it!

  24. I would like to buy your brown Alaia handbag if you don’t want it anymore.

    Susan, also

  25. Congrats on selling your house and managing to make some demanding and crucial decisions with all your property. Mementoes can be so overwhelming special, as each brings to mind some very pleasant times we have had and that is why we keep them. It sounds like you are doing an admirable job in choosing what is right for you now and the future. Good luck in going forward with your plans and don’t be surprised if things get changed ….for the better! Life is full of surprises. May your days be filled with anticipation and fun.
    Clara from Iowa

  26. Congratulations on the sale of your home and helping others who are contemplating those decisions!

  27. I believe you said you would continue to blog as time allows. When your situation/life changes will that influence different blog material?
    I envy your experience now. I know it may be stressful and a lot of work but with it comes excitement for the future. I never dreaded downsizing and moving to smaller places because it felt like a new beginning….a new and different life. Best of luck. You have prepared a lifetime for this next step.

    1. I will continue to blog about life experiences, fashion, food, flowers, and various other subjects. Thank you, everyone, for the lovely comments.

  28. Congratulations on the sale of your home. Will you please share how you plan to sell things? Our HOA doesn’t allow garage sales and I’m not really sure how best to accomplish this. Thank you.

    1. My HOA also doesn’t allow garage sales, so I’ve asked friends to spread the word. Family and friends have been coming over to buy things, and I may list some things on Craig’s List soon. There are also a couple of nice consignment stores locally. Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts household donations.

  29. Good luck with your move and sorting through things. It’s a difficult process but do-able and hopefully will feel so good when completed. I hope you will continue your blog though as I love it!

  30. Congratulations Susan! I’ve appreciated your posts down through the years like so many others have mentioned, and look forward to your new posts. I know from experience that your new life direction will not only have physical benefits like you mentioned, but will be emotionally and spiritually freeing. Somehow I think you are already onto this! Onward and upward, and may your days ahead be filled with blessings.

  31. It’s great that you know exactly what you want in the future and how to get it! You are making difficult decisions with sentimental things I am sure, but knowing that it will free you up for what is important in life is such a fantastic insight to have!

    I wish my husband’s parents had done this and also my own! It’s difficult to know you are at a certain time in life and to act on it before things become overwhelming.

    Now……., to get my husband to declutter!! I look forward to seeing your future adventures.

    1. I will not buy another house. My eventual goal is to rent a small cottage or a condo in a warmer climate. After that, I plan to travel a lot more and dust a lot less.

  32. Another outlet for donating furniture and clothing: your local high school, college and/or community theater groups!
    When I was in college, the drama dept received an incredible donation of 45 absolutely exquisite original 1920’s beaded silk dresses (I was the wardrobe mistress in the costume dept and just about swooned!). The donors followed that with vintage & antique furnishings. It was an amazing collection. Gratefully accepted and well-appreciated.
    I recently donated multiple 1860s-1890s reproduction ensembles (I made ALL of them by hand), including hats, skirts, bodices, corsets, hoops & bustles and underpinnings.
    Again, saving our son the someday task!

  33. I too purchase homes that within a few years will rise in equity. No one ever knows what challenges life has in store for them. When my husband and I were 20yrs old we bought our first home. We decorated it for a sellers market. Three years later we made enough profit to move into a large home. Six years later we did the same thing. It provided the springboard for achieving our major goal. To purchase acres of land on which to create a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. We lost it all in Dec.2019 in the Australian black summer bush fire. We have rebuilt to ensure that the property can be sold at full value. Several times a week we discuss the pros and cons of downsizing within the next five years. Good luck with your life progression. Cheers, Judith (from the land down under)

  34. Best wishes to you on the next chapter of your life. It’s always a pleasure to read your blogs–you are always so upbeat and positive!

  35. Congrats Susan, I am sure you will make the next home as beatiful as this one. I did have alot of trouble carrying things from my past into my new city. Learning that I am not the person I was in the old year books and wanting to make room for the person that I am and changes coming was the turning point for me. Perhaps you can post some smaller items here or on Poshmark. I know that lot of us that love your style can not drive or fly out for cash and carry. I know that there are one or two of your purses that I would love to have but have sold out years ago. Will you be renting until you find a place soon or wait for the market with go back down a bit in the future?

  36. Absolutely adore your posts, best of luck with your next journey.
    Love and light from Australia

  37. Hi Susan, thanks for sharing this stage you are going through. Lots of food for thought as we are all of an age when we need to consider downsizing.

    My tip to others is to deal with the items you are not emotionally attached to first before getting into photo albums and yearbooks. And to be aware that antiques and art that we love might be viewed with horror by younger family members and friends. Don’t take it personally if they indicate they don’t want it.

    Good luck and keep posting, really look forward to your emails arriving in my account in New Zealand. best regards Gail

  38. Hello
    Congratulations! Wishing you all the best in your journey. Your home is beautiful ( as per the pics) and see why it sold so fast. Looking forward to reading about your decision as to what type of home you decide to purchase.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Kind Regards

  39. Susan, GOD SPEED!!! My hus and I are in our late seventies. We are both in good health. We had lived in S.C. for 43 years. The house was 4 beds etc. We no longer needed the upkeep and all the rooms. My hus. had been a Nav. Officer and we had traveled all over the country. He said since I had followed him all over the country I could choose where we would settle. Of course I wanted to come home to the “Ocean State” We have been here since June. WE finally found a 2 bed condo after living at Hampton Inn for three months. There are no homes on the market. Still trying to unpack boxesof “STUFF” gathered in over 50 years ! We will eventually get settled. Maybe in 50 years. LOL It def is a major change. Most of my friends have passed and are dearly missed. Thank God for my wonderful kind husband. Our home in S.C. sold as soon as a realtor walked in the house. Take your time. Remember you take your memories with you!!! I will remember you and Mr. Mickey every day. I LOVE READING THE ADVENTURES OF THE EACH OF YOU!!!!! STAY WELL and take your time. Don’t dispose of ANYTHING withutgiving a good deal of thought. Place in storage and if you cannot use you can dispose of later. Hopefully we will still continue to read about your new adventure I def miss N.C., Virg and S.C.

  40. WOW you have been busy. Good luck with finding another smaller home. House prices are crazy right now. My husband and I have cleared and cleaned out many homes of relatives and sometimes people we are not related to. I admire you doing it all yourself especially the attic.
    My wish for you is that you find a place you can see yourself living in for a long time and meets all your needs and is close to everything you love to do.
    Patty V

  41. So far it sounds like your plans are working out smoothly. Have you already purchased another home?

    1. I won’t be purchasing another home. But when the time comes, I will rent a small cottage or condo in a warmer climate a little closer to the beach.

  42. Wow!! So impressed with all you’ve done. I love that you always look ahead to what is coming for you. You are an inspiration for me to do the same. I am praying for your strength and stamina!!

  43. Wow, such a beautiful home. You are so brave to tackle all this on your own. Best wishes for wherever you decide to land…lol. We will be anxious to see your next chapter…..

  44. Such bravery!
    I’m right there with you, sister. The problem is, my husband is not. Due to some of the same reasons you mentioned, we have been “looking” for over a year. We found about 3 properties that were perfect for us except my husband had objections (too small, no storage, garage won’t work…). So here we are, enjoying all 4200sqft!
    Maybe next year…

  45. Best wishes, Susan, for your next adventure in life. I feel the same way you do about maintaining a house. I have been ready to downsize for several years but my husband is dragging his feet. I would love to move away from the area we now live. We would love to be in a warmer area but I don’t want to move too far away from my parents, children, and grandchildren. There are so many things to consider. Congratulations and I hope you find the perfect place.

  46. Wow, somehow I missed your last post and had to catch up here! I admire your strength, courage and decisiveness in this process. We are facing a huge emotional challenge in parting with our home of over 30 years – the memories of raising children really do play into the difficulty in letting go. But over the years I’ve had to clean out several homes of relatives who died and I realize that it’s just “stuff” in the end. I don’t want to burden anyone with that task for me. I’ve found joy in giving things away to people or organizations that help those in need. We’ve donated many things our children don’t want to Second Chance – an organization that provides work training and jobs for people needing just that. We’ve used Maxsold and EBTH to virtually auction off some things. It is helpful for me, personally, to meditate and focus on letting go of “stuff” and embracing living lighter – if that makes sense. Interestingly I’ve found more energy with fewer belongings — cleaning out the clutter was the first step. That would be my suggesting to anyone facing this prospect if they have the luxury of not having to do it uber quickly – take baby steps with the easy stuff, take photos of the harder stuff and just let it go. Good luck to you Susan – I look forward to hearing of your next adventures

  47. Where did you purchase your blouse?

    What is your ultimate goal? Why did you not buy another smaller home?

    1. I purchased the blouse at Talbots last year.
      It would be lovely to live in a cottage or a condo in a historical area with a warmer climate. I would also like to be closer to the beach. However, homeownership means lots of expensive upkeep and maintenance, so I am not interested in owning again.

  48. Congratulations! I aspire to be more like this, but I have a husband who loves his “stuff” and a house big enough to store it! Some day… All the best to you in your continued moving adventures!

  49. Thank you for sharing your steps for downsizing. Wishing you the best in your future endeavors. I am looking forward to you sharing your journey.
    My husband and I, ages 77 and 78 downsized to a smaller home 6 years ago and are very happy with our move.

  50. Congratulations, Susan!

    I’m very happy you sold your house quickly and have a plan in place.

    For 20+ years I’ve been a professional organizer and created a list of questions for ask clients to ask themselves when they begin decluttering.

    Maybe your readers will find it helpful if they are challenged by the daunting task of downsizing and letting go. Overwhelm is not a great feeling and decision-making is fatiguing. So, again, congrats to you!

  51. Susan,
    Good luck with your new endeavor & new life changes! You are an inspiration. I will save these words of advice you have generously shared via email. I, too, have thoughts of major downsizing within the next 5 years. In preparation, I already have pilfered many, many things. Thank you, I am looking forward to your next chapter. Christi Sachs

  52. Congratulations Susan and very best wishes for a long and active future. I shall shortly be in the same position, may I ask you what you are keeping in the way of furniture, lamps etc.? as I think it will help me to make the right decisions.
    Very best wishes, from Chichester, England. Jan H.

    1. I am keeping only the items needed to live comfortably-chairs, lamps, bookcases, dishes, kitchen items, cookware, glasses, linens, and my clothes, shoes, and bags. When I relocate to a new area in a few years, I will have fun finding a new bed and a table for a breakfast nook.

  53. Wishing you all the best in your move. Thank you for acknowledging the 1st step of having a great agent as well as acknowledging your insurance agent. As a former Realtor with an insurance background, I know this is not always the case. But you (and Mr. Mickey-my best friend is a banker) understand the value of professional help. You will be in the best position to pounce when the right one appears, as you know. I look to you for a style example and I thank you for that.

    1. You will enjoy this. My neighbors sold their almost identical house without an agent last week. A week later, I used a hardworking agent who got involved and spent time showing my house. My home’s price was $135,000 more than the price my neighbors got.

  54. Susan,
    I have gone through this twice in the last 8 years and it isn’t easy. During the first downsize, I had the support of my husband. The second downsize, my husband died and I had the support of my daughter and her husband. I’m glad you have support from Mr. Mickey, and I wish you the very best in your endeavor.

  55. Susan
    The smaller home/apartment has always been my choice. My life would have been different if had a family to raise but as they say “It wasn’t in the cards”. The previous post I made gave the same reasons you stated for selling my house. I wanted more freedom from homeownership. Your view as an investment makes so much sense!

    I wish you the best!

  56. thank you for this story! I wish I could sort and clean mine as fast as you did. Looking forward to updates and lots of luck wished for you!

  57. Susan you are an inspiration to all of us who are at that age. Good luck in finding another place to live.
    Betsy Gardner

  58. I would be interested knowing how your prioritize sorting and moving to get it done so quickly. Did you go room by room or make piles – like all dishes, all towels, all pictures, all bedding, all whatever by type. I start in one area then get sucked in by distraction to work on something else! I just can’t decide how to do this. thank you.

    1. I concentrated on one room at a time while keeping the house livable and show-ready. I worked until I got a carload to take to the storage unit, Mr. Mickey’s house, or a charity shop.

  59. Hi Susan,
    You are just an amazing lady. I have so much respect and admiration for you. To think you have been doing all of this by yourself is just unthinkable. Thank goodness you are a very well organized person with a brilliant mind.
    Your home is so beautiful, you built wonderful memories. These treasured times shared with love ones will stay with you forever.
    How wonderful that you and Mr. Mickey can be together during this traditional period of your life.
    You take TLC of yourself, we only have one Susan and she is a treasure with the best heart. I know because I’m your blog friend.
    Sending you warm gentle hugs.

  60. Susan, you are a v.e.r.y. wise woman! Your organization and pre-thought is making this still
    difficult task more manageable. I went through a tornado 20 years ago in my mid 50’s and dealing with all my possessions with one emergency move of stuff that survived (and a lot of cleaning too) and then a planned move a few months later. My whole outlook changed on what I needed to be happy! Less truly is more. Other than food and daily useables, I use the 1:1 ratio of item in/out and it works!
    I’ve downsized once since my tornado replacement house and it was relatively easy. I now rent at age 75 and love the freedom! My advice to readers of a certain age is start today of purging, gifting and donating. In a few days you will be so uplifted that you’ll wake up wanting to get started. Just a few hours a day accomplishes a lot. Yes, this is a gift to whomever will have the task of dealing with your stuff when the time comes, but it’s also a gift to yourself!! You will feel liberated and light hearted.
    And to reiterate another comment on donations. The community/college theatre’s are so appreciative of clothing and prop items. Dressier clothes are needed for period plays/musicals.
    Susan, your game plan as outlined is sensible and will allow you to help with physical needs of loved ones. And how wonderful ❤ is Mr Mickey! How great to know you have a rental space that is close by and safe. Housing of any type can be difficult to secure in this market.
    I love your blog and don’t think you will ever exhaust your capacity to teach us due to the ‘true to you’ way you live your life. It is constantly something I strive for!

  61. The decision to move and downsize is huge and one that many of us who are aging, struggle with. When is the right time? Where to go? How much to get rid of? It seems that you aren’t overly attached to much in your household, so selling or giving away items won’t be difficult. All the best as you negotiate a major change in your life!

  62. Kudos to you, Susan. You have conquered a mountain!

    I did something similar last year. After my husband passed away, I was drowning in memories, home maintenance, repairs, and stuff.

    Tired of trying to get my head above water but continuing to sink deeper every week, I took drastic measures after a year. Sold the house and the car, donated all the stuff, and bought a tiny RV. My plan was to slowly travel around the US. (Yes, by myself).

    A few months of RV living made me realize that the lifestyle wasn’t for me. I still am still traveling, but staying in short term apartment rentals

    I have consolidated my belongings to fit into my SUV. I wouldn’t consider myself a minimalist.

    I have enough clothing for two weeks in most climates (Thank you Susan! Because of your posts, I knew how to reduce my wardrobe to the all purpose basics)

    Because I rent unfurnished apartments, I own basic kitchen supplies to make a simple meal, a folding lounge chair, a folding desk, a folding bistro set, two lamps, 24″ air mattress, bed linens, bath linens.

    Plus my laptop, ereader, and cell phone. That’s it. Nothing in a storage unit anywhere. My sister is storing an heirloom Amish quilt for me.

    The lifestyle is very freeing. I spend my time touring the area, shopping at the local markets and trying the local foods. Evenings are spent reading, streaming movies and documentaries, researching the area, chatting with friends. When someone calls to talk, I actually have something to discuss. It’s amazing.

    Will I do this forever? Probably not, but until it isn’t fun anymore, I will.

    Best wishes for an awesome life journey to all.

  63. Hi Susan,

    Greetings from Massachusetts!!! Just want to wish you all the best as you begin your newest life chapter!!!

    Julie Johnston

  64. I can only wish you well with this new chapter in your life. I so enjoy following your blogs, hints and advice. As another Virgo, it’s all part of life.

  65. Might seem a stupid question but how do so many of you know the size of your house in square feet? Is this an American thing? I have absolutely no idea of the size of my house, or indeed any I’ve lived in. I’m in Europe.
    Enjoy your travels and your new home, Susan, wherever it may be.

  66. I have lived in a couple of very small places when I was between “real” houses. It was so nice not to be burdened with too much stuff and space to clean.

    My husband has been ill for the last few months, and this has been a real wake-up call for me. I am going to be eighty this year, and it’s time to admit that I’m not invincible. LOL! One of my sons likes all my old family stuff, so I had him take a bunch of stuff home with him and there is lots more where that came from! He will eventually have to deal with it, but he doesn’t seem to mind. I’m grateful.

    This same son has a studio apartment in his house that he wants me to come and live in when the time comes. He lives on the central California coast which is very nice. He can see the ocean and Moro Rock from his back porch. We’ll see. Anyway, I have to keep at it and purge like a whirlwind. I have a few small pieces of furniture that I would keep, but not much.

    I think you are on the right path, Susan. You will create a beautiful small space that we readers will all love and perhaps be just a teeny bit envious! Congratulations on selling your home so quickly and for so much more than the neighbors. I look forward to reading about new adventures and examples of appropriate clothing for living near the beach. I won’t say good luck, because all your hard work has brought you where you want to be. Be well, continue to be beautiful, gracious and most of all, happy.

  67. What a great decision you have made! I cannot even imagine living in house as large as yours as a single person. The upkeep and yard work would be daunting. It seems to me, the hard decision was taking on that lifestyle in the first place. It think you will find it immensely rewarding to live more simply.

  68. I always enjoy your posts. I’m excited to hear about your next move. I know you will find a gorgeous, classy new home. I may be a bit envious. Pleases, share plenty of pictures for us to see.

  69. You are an inspiration! Better to make your own plan than to wait until someone else has to make the plan for you. We have sold a vacation home and my siblings and I had to sell our childhood home. It’s a huge task. I have sense started to weed out our current home just to make life simpler. My motto is now, . . The more you own, the more it owns you!
    I wish you the best on this new chapter!

  70. I admire your ability to look at life realistically. I struggle to overcome the emotional attachments.

  71. I hope you will be able to do all you hope to do in the next chapter of your life. I needed to take care of a feeble mother about six years ago. She passed last fall. Now I am free to do what I want, which is travel, but unfortunately degenerative discs are preventing a lot of that. I do what I can. Life can have its surprises. Age has a way of slipping up on you.

  72. That screen porch! That would be hard for me to leave. But I’m sure your next home will be just as lovely.

  73. Hi Susan,
    Sounds like a well thought out plan well executed. I hope you find your next home without a long search. I will be eagerly looking forward to your next post.

    Warm regards,

  74. “I am not my stuff.”
    Six years ago we built a house, moving in November. Beginning in January, the year before, I made a rule that I had to get rid of 20 items a week. Some weeks it was more like 50, 100, 300. Especially when I got to items like books, jewelry, CD’s. I also had a rule that the items had to leave the house. I researched charities and thrift stores before, kept boxes available and always delivered the items promptly. I also sold A LOT of stuff. I held many items in my hands for a long time as I tried to decide. I haven’t missed anything yet. I now TRY to practice the “one in, one out” rule. I have also come to the realization that my kids, five of them, don’t want my stuff. Once I let that thought sink in I think it got easier to let it go. I am planning another purge this summer. It is freeing.

  75. Thanks for sharing your journey through this next life season. I’ve just started purging, as we’ve decided to “age in place” but plan for little “assists” in our home, for aging – inproved lighting, grab bars, easy access showers, hard floor surfaces. And more. It’s a big change and challenging in these days of inflation and supply chain difficulties. But we’ve put it off for a number of years due to family and health challenges. Have learned that those things will never end, and you just have to get on with it LOL. Good luck Susan!

  76. Susan, I have no doubt that your new home will be as lovely as your current one. Enjoy the process. I always liked to move and make a new nest.

  77. Hi Susan,
    I enjoy your site tremendously.
    You have shared some personal information about the relocation to your adventure partner’s house. I feel sad for you, that you have to rent a bedroom from someone you have known for such a long time. Perhaps you insisted on paying, I don’t know. Any of my friends would be more than welcome to stay with me as long as they like without a charge.
    I know it is none of my business, but you chose to share this information with thousands of people. Would you mind sharing with me why you are “renting” from Mr. Mickey?
    Thank you, I will understand if you don’t care to share this information.
    Trude White

    1. I wouldn’t dream of staying long-term in anyone’s home without paying my part and helping to maintain that home. Mr. Mickey is very generous and kind, so it would be easy to take advantage of him. However, that is not my style.

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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.