Barbara Stephens shares insight into how she knew it was time to scale back and how she handled the process of downsizing to her new home.
Q: You decided to downsize, how long did the process take?
From the time the decision was made, it took about 8 months to start getting rid of stuff to family and friends. After that I began to give stuff away to KARM and Salvation Army. In the middle of all this I was packing and throwing things away. It is not easy, but I just took one week at a time and set goals for which room or closet to take on next. The last two months, I rented a POD and began to move boxes into it. That was a great help. I could really see the progress made when all that was out of my house.
Q: At what point did you know you wanted to downsize?
I broke my arm in February of that year and realized that if I became any more handicapped, I wouldn’t be able to pack myself. That was the big eye-opener. I did not want to be an invalid and directing family or friends in what to do or, even worse, what if I had no say so in the matter? Do not wait until you are unable to physically make the move yourself. I did have friends helping me in the beginning. Later, I invited my family to help with some of the decisions on what they wanted and what I would want to take with me to my new place.
Q: What was the most difficult part of the process?
The most difficult part was getting rid of years of memories. I kept telling myself they weren’t important to anybody but me and the kids would just have to throw it out later. This is the emotional part. Try to think logically about what you really NEED.
Q: What was the easiest?
The easiest part of moving was the excitement of planning out my new home. I kept dreaming of a beautiful, different place and how thrilling that process would be. I thought my decorating days were over, but I got to buy some new things and realized the change was going to be good.
Q: Are you happy with your choice and the outcome?
I am much more happy than I ever imagined! I have met new friends, and live closer to many places I have always gone. My condo was recently refurbished and everything was clean. I don’t have to get up and worry about what work needs to be done today. It is already done. Joyful move!
Do not be afraid of change!
Q: What advice would you give to family and friends who need to downsize, are considering downsizing or have begun the process of downsizing?
If you are thinking of downsizing, forget the hard work ahead. Think of new joys that await you and just get started. It will seem like an overwhelming task, but eventually it will get down. Don’t think about the work, keep the goal in mind. A new world awaits you and you will be so relieved when you do get moved in. Do not wait until you are too sick to do it. Do it now!
Q: How did Garland Properties best help you in this process?
It is difficult to try to talk family into moving. As we get older, we are so afraid we are going to lose our independence and don’t want anyone telling us we must move! My son took me to some new condos to look at. “A friend of mine built these and I just want to see them,” he had told me.
As we looked, I made comments on what I liked and what I did not. He then proceeded to take me to others to see if they could possibly be what I wanted. I began to get excited about making a list of what I must have and what I did not need. I finally decided to call a Realtor. Amy Garland was God sent. Poor thing, she took me everywhere until she finally realized exactly what I wanted. By then I had started the packing process and knew it was time to sell my house because I needed to know my budget.