As we enter our sixties, we begin to realize that we have to go through some type of downsizing. The kids are gone, and we have too much room.
I ran across an interesting Houzz article called “Tips for Moving into a Smaller Space”. Trying to ignore the queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, I try to not read it, but I can’t help myself.
I’m over sixty, and my husband is older. From time to time we talk about the next move in our life. You know. Like what happens to older people when their home gets too big for them. Most of us seniors call it “downsizing”.
Our home is 3,000 plus square feet sitting on about five acres of land, and we used to entertain a lot so the house is full of things that fit around that lifestyle–both indoors and out. We have lived here for over 25 years. Entertainment for us was more career centered when we were younger, but now it is centered around family and our retired pursuits, especially as our children’s families grow.
We have two more homes. One is a beach house that is very small, maybe 1,300 sq ft. The other is an old home place that is a little under 2,000 sq. ft. and has very sentimental memories surrounding it. Probably one of these will be our next home.
The Pain of Downsizing
So here is what concerns me. I have had a ten-year struggle with simply trying to downsize the number of clothes in my closet. It has been a chore, so this big downsizing project that I know I will face in the not too distant future worries me a lot.
For years I’ve been trying to live within my means–that is, within the size of my closet. I love clothes. I love shoes. And I love purses. I have too much of all of them. My husband says that he cannot understand how I am always out of closet space, yet I never have anything to wear.
I know I’m not alone. Some of my friends have given up and converted one of their kid’s bedrooms into a giant closet. I decided not to take that route, but I was certainly tempted.
Every once in a while, someone passes around a joke about how many black pairs of shoes that American women have. It is meant as an exaggeration, but deep down I know that they are describing me.
So how many pairs of black shoes do I actually own? I just counted; and if you count the flip flops, formal wear shoes, summer and winter shoes, and even a pair of black riding boots, I have 22 pairs. Oops! I almost forgot the black pair of Wellies in the garage.
And I feel that I really need every single pair of my black shoes. Different heel heights for different clothes…patent leather for summer…kid leather…boots…slingbacks….wedges…..I’m convinced they are all important. Everyone knows you cannot wear the velvet ones in the summer, and you cannot wear the linen ones in the rain.
I just read that the average woman worldwide has 20 pairs of shoes, period. Are you kidding me? I had no idea. I guess the joke is on me, and now I’m feeling like such a wuss, having my own little pity party.
How I Got This Way
So you can see my dilemma. How do I give up these clothes, shoes, and purses? Part of my problem is always wearing it even if there really aren’t enough days in the season to wear all of them. I spent my hard earned dollars purchasing it, so I feel I have to wear it. The situation is ludicrous when I really think about it.
I don’t spend a lot of money on any one garment because I shop the sales. Never buying at full price, I even usually wait until things have been picked over. Frankly, I learned a long time ago that retailers overbuy and that there are too many retailers in the business of selling clothes. There is always plenty left for me at the end-of-the-season sales.
But I decided I had to do something about my bursting-at-the-seams closets.
Make Downsizing a Game
About a year ago, I made it a game. I decided that I cannot bring anything new into my closets or chest of drawers without getting rid of two items. It was easy at first, but later it got harder. I’m down to getting rid of garments that have hardly been worn, though they are getting to be a little out of style.
It has been a good exercise. I finally have room in my closet. In the past couple of weeks, I scaled back and began to cycle one garment in and one garment out. My daughter has enjoyed the extra shoes and blouses that came her way.
My closet is still full, but not overly full. I finally have room.
Here’s the rub. I still have four more closets of clothes. This is a four bedroom house, and all the closets are full, though one closet only has coats and jackets and another only has sporting clothes (both mine and Chuck’s).
A Simpler Lifestyle will be Good
Any of the smaller homes that I foresee in my future have very limited closet space, as most people do. I know I’ll need to make these changes. I’ve read about and talked to numerous people who have gone through this, and they assure me that it is actually very much a relief to let go of all the extras in our lives.
I have to admit that when I was cycling out two garments for every piece that I gained, I got a taste of this. It was like someone lifted me from a fog. I liked the feeling. I think I just have to dwell on that–on the simplicity of living with less.
And I’ll get a little help from this Houzz article entitled Tips For Moving Into a Smaller Place.
As I said before, this future move scares me to death; but whenever it arrives, I’ll just take it one day (or one room) at a time.