Right-sizing Your Retirement Home

IMG_5722_AAfter we put an offer on the home in Prescott, we were committed to selling our house in California. Before I write about our new home, I’d like to say a word or two about moving from a long-term home to a retirement one.

We had lived in our home in California for twenty-five years. No matter how hard you try, stuff comes in faster than it goes out. We were lucky that we’d done a major remodel to the house in 2000 which forced us to get rid of a lot of possessions.

Although, we didn’t have much time, both my husband and I were committed to only taking the most precious of possessions with us to our new location. Because we had purchased a house first, we were able to do a floor plan to determine what furniture we could take.

The most painful part of the process was letting go of many of my favorite antique pieces which included a Victorian oak dresser with the curved drawers. While difficult, I don’t regret being absolutely brutal in deciding what went with us. Many of our favorite pieces were given to family members. This included a roll top desk my husband made when he decided to play with woodworking.

Give you stuff away now. Don’t wait until you’re older. My mother is 87. She still clings to many possessions and occasionally will ask me what I want after she’s gone. I’m sixty years old. There isn’t anything she has that I want. I don’t mean that in a cruel way, but her prized silver isn’t going to help me now.

The last thing you want to do is move, quite frankly, junk because you don’t want to take the time to go through it beforehand. If you don’t go through it now, your children or grandchildren won’t have to go through it later.

We only lived in our new downsized home for 18 months before buying a larger one. That wasn’t the motivation, but it is what happened. Instead of one spare bedroom, we now have two. We don’t have a lot of grandchildren, but when a family of 5 comes to visit, it’s nice to have two guest rooms for them.

We love our new home and it’s perfect for us, now. While larger than we absolutely need, it does allow us our separate space and we don’t feel overwhelmed by either too much or not enough.




  1. Rose DeNaro says:

    Good food for thought! Changes sometimes feel so difficult, and as you say, we do tend to cling to the “stuff” we collect. One of the ways I have found for it to be easier, I give something that I have loved to someone who can actually use it, appreciate it, and needs it. Kinda like paying it forward. Doing that has giving meaning to scaling down in a way that has significance for me. There is a comfort and enjoyment in knowing someone else can use it. Thanks, Coach Rose.

    • Cathy Severson says:

      I love the idea of giving beloved possessions away. It pays it forward while it keeps the value of stuff in perspective.

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