‘The dilemma and drama I had while flirting with the idea of downsizing’

Sep 14, 2019
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Where to begin when you're downsizing and decluttering. Source: Getty Images

The time comes, I think in all of our lives when we must consider whether our home is just far too rambling and we need to have a light flirtation with ‘downsizing’. Where to start? The treasures (junk?), hoarded for decades must be drastically culled so that moving’might be organised, painless and hopefully without trauma.

Let ‘Project Downsize’ begin was the order of the day, and begin I did! Not with the painful decisions of declaring much of my treasures’ ‘jobs’ redundant i.e., the ruthless firing of my collected paraphernalia, but first the pleasant diversion of exploring the websites of estate agents, to choose my new and perfect little nest.

Of course 20 or more viewings turned out to be of small and grotty rabbit hutches priced to make my eyes water, and my heart sink, which — in estate agent speak — were ‘desirable’, or ‘bijou’ and would remove me, unceremoniously from the comfort zone of my ever supportive friends and neighbours, to obscurity.

However, having got the measure of that, and convincing myself that something would turn up, I began to sort, and redeploy potentially 90 per cent of my treasured hoard. Some parts of this turned out to be very therapeutic as I dispatched 10 large boxes and 15 plastic bags of very employable things to charity.

Numerous more bags and boxes I put to occupational death, by their recycling. Progressing extremely well, but still with the garage now holding the ‘maybe’ junk (whose fate is yet be decided), in addition to the stuff already stored there, I ruled that it all must go! Fortitude must reign and redundancy notices duly issued.

Whilst occupied in these rationalising activities, I failed to notice that the remaining stuff, perhaps fearing the extinction of their species, had begun to breed and my ‘spacious storage facilities’ (a good house selling point!) were still crammed full. Where it all fitted before the cull, I have no idea! What else must go? The ringing telephone distracted me from that baffling issue.

Gavin (of estate agency extraction) was calling and could hardly contain his excitement at having found another ‘perfect home’ for me. Gavin and I met, at a three-bedroom bungalow with ‘Vacant Possession’ and a frightful Whisper Pink bathroom.

The timber effect cladded living room, put me in mind of the coffin that I was hoping to avoid for some time yet and the walls and ceilings throughout the property were ‘enhanced’ with swirly plaster texturing, once painted Apple White, now turned pea green. The compact (miniscule and airless) kitchen with its dark oak cupboards and nowhere to put a dishwasher, harked back to Tarzan’s tree house (abandoned when Jane had refused to put up with it, threatening strike action)!

Having viewed so many similarly depressing places, my own home, which I had felt in need of some attention, began to look like Buck House!

Never discouraged, I resumed my redeployment of treasures plan, and my Mr Micawber conviction that something will turn up. Meanwhile, a coat of paint here will do no harm, when I have accepted that this will involve several visitations from builders’ bottoms and a constant supply of tea. (Decorators drink tea incessantly.) I despair!

My downsizing flirtation has ended. I just may find that, right here, with fresh paint and tidy cupboards (space for more bags and shoes!), and a garage with room for a pony, this could, after all be my perfect nest (or stable?)!

Hopefully, not in the very near future, my son will smile and thank me silently when I eventually do leave this place, for my dream bungalow in the sky. He will have little to do in the way of sorting out and carting off stuff for which he has no use, either, unless, of course I have collected more by then! A distinct possibility.

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Have you toyed with the idea of downsizing or moving house? If you've downsized, what tips would you have for others?

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