Downsizing Solutions (Part 1)

Recently, my husband and I have begun the process of exploring housing alternatives and downsizing.  Over the course of our 38 year marriage, we’ve moved 6 times.  As our homes increased in size, so did our furnishings.


Now, in our mid-60’s, our interests have changed.  Gone are the days of climbing the ladder to the rooftop to clean the gutters.  Raking leaves and shoveling snow is taxing.   Time spent cleaning and maintaining our home could be time spent doing the activities we looked forward to in our retirement.


We  felt ill-equipped to navigate the market on our own.  We had put a considerable amount of improvements into our current home, and did not know our home’s worth.  Since two of our biggest expenditures involved an addition and a new kitchen, we wanted to make sure that we would recoup this investment if we sold our home.

Getting started

First, we contacted an extremely reputable real estate professional, Rita Freling, to help us with this process.    Satisfied with the asking price that she gave us for our house, we were told to “de-clutter”. Indeed, we had too much furniture, but our family heirlooms were close to our hearts!


We immediately embarked on our de-cluttering assignment for downsizing.  Surely our kids would like the mahogany pie crust table given to my parents in 1934!    Who wouldn’t love our Lenox china, Wallace sterling silver and Waterford crystal goblets, along with our extensive collection of hardcover novels?

Changing buyers and sellers

We were in for a rude awakening.  Millennials, as my children are referred to, don’t want our baby boomer things.  Dismayed, I turned to the internet and found an interesting New York Times article, written by Tom Verde.  He interviewed a couple, Tena and Ray Bluhm, whose experience is similar  to ours.  Here is an excerpt along with a link to the article:

“But Mrs. Bluhm could not interest them in “the china and the silver and the crystal,” her own generation’s hallmarks of a properly furnished, middle-class home.”  Today’s young adults tend to acquire household goods that they consider temporary or disposable, from online retailers or stores like Ikea and Target, instead of inheriting them from parents or grandparents.“ Some children take the objects just to keep Mom and Dad quiet,” said Roger Schrenk, Mr. Fultz’s business partner at Nova Liquidations. “They’ll take them and store them until Mom’s dead, and then they can’t wait to get rid of them.”  With this in mind, Mrs. Bluhm, whose adult children only wanted the new bed and dining set, recommends a philosophical approach to the process of letting go of possessions that children may not cherish but others may. “By donating them to charity, I knew they weren’t going to go into a dumpster and that someone who really wanted them would purchase them,” she said. Though the items are no longer hers, she said, many of her familiar household objects are not altogether gone.

“What I had left were the memories attached to them, in my heart and in my head,” Mrs. Bluhm said.

Now we are left to figure out “where to begin” with our decluttering process.  Stay tuned for Downsizing Solutions Part 2!

For more by author Virginia Tortorici, click here.

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