Eight months ago, I put my home of 3 1/2 years on the market; for the most part, I was just testing the waters. After all, winter was fast approaching, and everyone knows houses sell better in the spring and summer and added to that, the real estate market in my area was still very weak. I was tired of home and yard maintenance, and as I read on our community Facebook page the posts from neighbors whose homes are a few years older than mine, all I heard was their woeful complaints of the repairs for issues that were beginning to rear their ugly head around their home’s 6 or 7-year birthday.
Three months later, in early January, I shared here that as I’d worked through one of the first exercises in Talbot’s Dream Save Do, I could easily see that many of the aspects of my life that I hoped to eliminate, or at least reduce, were in some way related to the ownership of my current home. It was nice to have my decision to list the house validated, but as I readied to leave for England in a few days, my mind was more on my upcoming trip. Of course, the very day I returned to the States, I received a contingency offer; the buyers eventually got an offer and contract on their home, and over the past few weeks the inspections have been done, the appraisal completed, and forms for the title office have changed hands so that we could close the sale at the end of the month.
I was fortunate to find an apartment in the same planned community I already live in that was within my budget and on the ground floor. It has an interesting history. Part of a row of buildings in the heart of the community, it was originally a wine bar and, when the wine bar relocated to their then-new larger location, a bakery and tea shop moved in. Unfortunately, the cake and tea business didn’t fare very well, and the bakery closed its doors about a year ago. The owner of the building did some minor alterations to turn the space into a one-bedroom apartment that I took possession of this afternoon.
On one hand, I’m a little nervous about the move. I grew up going to family reunions and other family get-togethers, filling my plate from a huge smorgasbord of food prepared by fantastic cooks, enjoying my fill and then some, and hearing (without fail) at least one family member say ruefully, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach” as they looked at the not-bare plate they had piled high just a bit ago. Well, something similar may have happened with me in regard to the capacity of the apartment.
As I walked through the apartment a few weeks ago for the first time, I visualized where everything would go — even the stuff in the basement that I want to keep and in the spare bedroom that I need to list on ebay. I was confident it would all fit. Now? I’m not too sure. Other than the camper we lived in for 6 or 7 months while my husband and his contractor-cousin built the shell of our home back in 2006, the apartment is the smallest place I’ve lived in since my last apartment before I was married in September 1984! I’ve half-joked that I’m moving all the must-have stuff first and whatever doesn’t fit will get donated to charity or thrown away. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, I hope I have the backbone to follow through.
Fortunately, the nervousness has been overshadowed so far by the excitement I feel about making such a big step forward in downsizing and decluttering and simplifying my life physically. No more yard work or home maintenance other than cleaning house and changing the toilet paper. I won’t even have to change a lightbulb; because of the very-high ceilings and light-fixtures, the landlord’s handyman will take care of that! I’ll have less home to maintain — I’m giving up a spare bedroom, full bath, and separate office, not to mention a full basement and 2-car garage.
I’m resigned to the fact that I may not be completely settled in as quickly as I’d like — and not as quickly as I’ve unpacked and settled in as I have previously, even when I was unpacking and putting things away for a family of four that contained 2 young children. And that’s okay. I’m determined to keep this move and this change as stress-free as possible. If boxes of scrapbooking supplies have to remain stacked in the corner of my bedroom for a few weeks or even a month as I spend time outside while I can in the beautiful summer before school starts back up in full swing in August, so be it.
All of my scrapbooking supplies — paper, photos, memorabilia, and tools — and home-office supplies made the move in the 3 carloads I transported this afternoon. It felt great to take even that tiny step forward as part of this large change. I may not feel so good tomorrow, though — I have a feeling my leg and arm muscles may be grumbling a bit! So if anyone wants to come tote a box or two . . .