We downsized quite a few years before we retired. There were various reasons, but mostly for health and not being able to physically manage the gardens and cleaning of our large family home. My husband was reluctant at first, but I cajoled and eventually won.
You see, making the decision was hard, he had to admit we were getting older!
Once the decision was made, it was time to declutter! Hardest task of all.
How do you fit furniture and knick knacks from a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, study, family, and games room, into a small three-bedroom, two-bathroom home? We found out, you don’t, you must declutter.
The knick knacks and family heirlooms were the hardest, trying to sort what to hold on to, for our children should they eventually show an interest, and what to throw away. We disposed of lots and on-sold some lovely furniture ridiculously cheap. Never mind, that was the past, and I am glad they are gone, less for me to clean and dust.
Our downsizing decision led us to a charming over-55s survey strata complex. We fell in love — well I did — and after some sweet talking and coaxing we bought our small brick and tile retirement home. The houses within our estate, are set in two circular cul-de-sacs that are surrounded by well-kept garden beds and green lawn. Best of all, though, is the back area of our home, which from a raised height overlooks a stunning green park and lake. We are fortunate, as the garden and green space areas are maintained by our strata company and local council.
As lovely as it is living here, the estate is a strata complex, and not without issues — both financial and social. Enjoyment of the garden, green space, street lighting, paved roads, automatic reticulation, and everything else common is a financial cost born by all residents. The cost is met via a quarterly strata fee, that also includes a budget for future maintenance and estate management by a strata company.
Using and sharing common areas with other residents can also be an issue when some are not prepared to adhere to by-laws that govern the strata and common areas. Our estate has some specific by-laws and there have at times been misunderstandings, heated arguments, intimidation and bullying by some residents.
Living here, we have learned, as in life, not all people adhere to rules, strata by-laws included. Some of our neighbours are selfish and consider or act for their own purpose. These neighbours are few in our complex, thank goodness, but it’s been occasionally stressful living closely and in common with others.
Even with the few personality issues we have encountered, we are happy with our downsize, in fact it is the best move we have ever made. There is one regret, and it is our complex does not have internal recreational facilities, e.g., a community centre, library, gym, or pool.
We are fortunate to be well located within our local council and currently have external access to recreational facilities and resources, however, should the time come, when we are not able to drive, our access to such facilities and social engagement will become an issue.