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Old 02-23-2018, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Earth
239 posts, read 85,111 times
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The older I get (I'm 61) the idea of spartan space and furnishings is extremely appealing. Okay, I have 1,000+ books, but they're totally organized in a separate room! I call it...the library.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Tucson Arizona
3,901 posts, read 1,656,975 times
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How much of all that STUFF do you actually use and enjoy?
I got rid of lots and lots when I moved here 12 years ago.
I've never even used some of the stuff I kept and shipped over here.

We're preparing to move back to the mainland (and shipping is expensive), so I've been going through my stuff since October, and have passed through many levels of retention indecision:
"Oh, I have to keep all this!"
"Well, I could let some of it go."
"That's still a lot, maybe I only need a few of those."
"Jeeze, I haven't used any of this in 12 years, why am I keeping it?"

It's been emotionally and physically difficult, but it feels good every time I make it to a new stage. I'm down to my clothes (about 1/3 of what I had a year ago), a few original paintings, and three or four 20-gallon tubs of mementoes and favorite things. I scanned photos and awards and similar items, so I don't need the paper copies. I haven't actually packed up the items to take, so I have yet another chance to get rid of a few more items.

I sold a lot on ebay and craigslist, have donated to rummage sales and the boys and girls club, brought stuff to groups and classes, and given a lot away to friends.

A couple of years ago, I read (well, listened to) Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" She seemed over-the-top at the time, but I have come to embrace her way of thinking.
Her ideas I'm finding most useful have been:
* The purpose of a gift is to be received. -- So you don't have to keep everything anybody ever gave you!
* Does this spark joy? -- If you don't absolutely love it, why keep it? (when we moved here, we had a rule that we had to love everything we bought. That kind of went by the wayside after a while, but now that we've downsized, I notice that we kept the things we bought following that rule. They were great then, and are great now.)
* We have trouble letting go of things due to an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. -- So I ask myself, "Can I replace this if I ever actually find a need for it?" and for books, "Is this information available on the internet? and, "Does this actually have a value to me, or am I clinging to it because I've had it for a long time, or remember it from my childhood?"

She has so many good quotes, I'll just give a link: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/41711738

I'm nearly there; our house goes on the market next week!

Last edited by steiconi; 02-23-2018 at 09:41 AM..
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Southern California
23,789 posts, read 8,278,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westegg View Post
The older I get (I'm 61) the idea of spartan space and furnishings is extremely appealing. Okay, I have 1,000+ books, but they're totally organized in a separate room! I call it...the library.
1000??? Are you a lending library, or do you refer to all these books? I maybe have 50 left around my apt and I'm 79...the landfills are filled with books. I found over years in books that I didn't pick up and open etc,, nice little bugs who love to be in that paper. Unless technology goes away, all the info we need is in this machine....At this older age, I'm working to save my eyes and reading is not a huge part of my life anymore....
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Southern California
23,789 posts, read 8,278,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vision67 View Post
I never get into a fight that I can't win. My wife inherited family antiques that I didn't want but she won't let them go.

I guess I don't understand "emotional" attachments. They remind her of her grandmother's house. Even worse, they are too fragile to actually use. We live in a museum.

The large house we're in has plenty of room but a smaller place would not. So we don't move.

But my observation is that quite a few retirees either stay put and some even build a bigger place.

I had a friend whose house burnt to the ground in a forest fire back in 2014. He was instantly downsized. He got a check from the insurance company.

Now that's an idea.
My sister was like your wife in many ways...she took so much from our parents house and she had so much anyway...bless her heart she's gone but she was like this and kept buying buying buying.

LESS IS BEST. I don't have those attachment feelings.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Southern California
23,789 posts, read 8,278,461 times
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My thinking is the more one moves West, the less they tend to own. We have smaller yards if any, no basements, no attics and then there are the Japanese who live so simply. The two houses I lived in with family and spouse in the East had yards that one could build another house on....amazing and true.

Last edited by jaminhealth; 02-23-2018 at 11:19 AM..
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
12,304 posts, read 10,771,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaErik View Post
You're not nuts, you're planning for something that many older people will face. That's why both of our houses are medium-sized ranch style. The funny thing is, our Arizona house, which is in a 55+ community has a standard 32 inch bedroom door, while our non-age restricted Alaska house has 36 inch doors everywhere except the two other bedrooms and the guest bath.


And don't just plan for wheelchairs. It's also easier for paramedics to get a gurney through a wider door.
That's an excellent point about paramedics. My mother has visited and fallen ill. She didn't need the hospital until a few days later. There's no way to get a gurney into our current home.

We're no where near retirement, but I keep thinking of things that have impacted our parents. And it's a royal pain! Trying to retro fit things is a nightmare and extremely expensive. There's also the waiting until it's an absolute necessity so you're running around like a loon trying to find someone to get these things done.

I'm seeing this with my 89 year old grandmother. She lives in a 55+ condo that was turned into an apartment. All the apartment renters have been given 2 years notice that they need to move out. She's already started looking with the help of family for a new apartment.

She's very restricted in where she wants to live because she doesn't drive. She walks all to the grocery store, library, craft store, and mall currently. She can't walk up stairs. She needs all one floor living or an elevator. She needs laundry in her unit. She can no longer get in and out of a tub. She just told us that she has fallen twice. She wants a shower unit only.

So far they can only find one apartment that suits her needs. She can't afford it though. That's the problem. She's got money, but she's not independently wealthy. She is much older than she had budgeted for. She also loaned out money to many family members who never repaid her. That I think is really the issue. When you're retired and living on a fixed income - doesn't matter if $600 a month or $6000 a month - you can't keep giving it away and expect to be able to afford yourself.
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Old 02-23-2018, 11:23 AM
 
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
2,205 posts, read 1,349,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza61nyc View Post
I know many folks downsize when they retire and I know I will have to so I've been looking around. One problem is every thing small I see I hate.

So currently I'm in a 3700 sq foot town home. The reality is it is not a house to grow old in. 4 floors, a bunch of stairs and I've got osteoarthritis with 1 knee replacement under my belt.

I decided to start looking around and have a realtor helping me but everything I've seen seems tiny and claustrophobic inducing.

lol, I haven't even tackled getting rid of 1/2 my crap.

anyhoo, has anyone had problems adjusting to a smaller house/condo/apartment? Did you eventually come to love it?
When I was looking for my current house here in VT, I realized the housing styles were just not what I was used to. I wanted a small house, which here usually means a 60s rancher or a cape cod. Every time I walked into one, no matter how nicely it had been refurbished and updated, everything felt small and dark. The capes especially turned me off because they reminded me of the house I grew up in. I did see a few with a more open floor plan. Didn't take long for the realtor to say: I think you like an open floor plan. I thought about that for about half a minute and agreed with her.

Keep looking Eliza. Be sure the realtor knows about your kitchen requirements and your need for an open floor plan with lots of windows. Even a small place can be un-claustrophobic if it is laid out right and bright. It will just be a bit hard to find.

Meanwhile, keep working on decluttering.
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Old 02-23-2018, 11:44 AM
 
Location: AZ
2,041 posts, read 3,219,782 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaErik View Post
We downsized when we retired. We had a nice sized 2400 sq ft house that we we sold when we retired and moved. A 1600 to 1900 sq ft ranch was what we concentrated on. We would up buying one that is 1678 sq ft. It has two bedrooms, a den, two bathrooms and an oversized two car garage. It works just fine for us right now and it won't be too much for the last person standing. We also moved back home and bought another house that's 1561 sq ft. It's a little tighter fit, but still works for us. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an oversized two car garage. When it's down to just one of us, either house will be suitable to live in as a single person and won't be too much to take care of. I still think a 1600 to 1900 sq ft ranch style house is the sweet spot for a couple to retire in.


Sounds almost exactly what I did. I sold my 2250 sq ft home on 3 acres back east and bought a 1674 sq ft ranch style home here in AZ. This house utilizes every sq ft perfectly, I never collected a lot of stuff like some do but I do miss not having a basement. Though I'll never understand why some will leave a 50K vehicle outside while their garage is stacked to the ceiling with boxes of junk!

My g/f will be moving here in a few years and it's more than enough room for us. Even when we have guest stay the split floor plan gives everyone plenty of space and privacy. I wanted to retire early (semi retired at 51) so it made sense to leave the high COL of MA along with the cold and snow for AZ. I don't understand why some want/need a huge house when there's only two people living there? The cleaning and maintenance along with larger utilities and taxes just seems like such a waste. I'd rather have that extra money in my pocket and travel more but to each their own.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:54 PM
 
Location: NJ
972 posts, read 2,422,023 times
Reputation: 1840
Get rid of the clutter and you won't feel so claustrophobic! Americans have too much STUFF and then we need gigantic houses to hold all the stuff. Less stuff = less need for space = less hassle = liberation!
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,317 posts, read 4,164,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassygirl18 View Post
Get rid of the clutter and you won't feel so claustrophobic!
Oh, you can feel claustrophobic in a space even when it's not packed to the brim with stuff. I think a lot of it has to do with how much natural light a space gets, and whether you can easily see outside while in the space. Lot's of light + decent views = the space doesn't feel as 'tight" (even if it's still small).
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