'I just refused to part with the Hills Hoist'

Once we had made the decision to follow our children, then began the most bizarre part of the exercise. Our agent put us in contact with a rather lovely lady who makes a living out of transforming rather ordinary homes into desirable residences before they are sold so that they can attract a better price. At least that is the theory. We got rather good at picking out houses that had been “arranged” when we looked at some other places for sale, as they all looked a little similar!

We made an appointment to meet her, and she came to our place. She took a tour of our little house, and said the magic word – “Declutter”.  We went from room to room, and she dismissed loved items of furniture with a brief, “get rid of that” and “well maybe we can use this in our design”. 

She also decided to reorder our rooms, so that our bedroom was to become the second lounge, and we were to move into what up until now had been our computer-cum-second guest room.  Kitchen and breakfast area were deemed more or less okay, but our large lounge needed to be totally – dare I use the word again “decluttered”. She was only prepared to use our leather sofa because it was really too heavy to move into the shed, and I actually was not prepared to get rid of it.  All cupboards, window coverings, pictures on the wall, and anything at all personal were to go!  The whole house needed to be painted so needed to be cleared out before that could all happen!

Our main stand-off came in the garden, when she took one look at our Hills Hoist and started laughing.

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“That has to go!”  she said, and while I initially agreed, I had distinct doubts about it, and in the end — when I realised that even after rearranging our house we still had at least three months to live in it, which meant I would need to do washing — I just refused to part with the Hills Hoist.  It was practically my only rebellion, which I never regretted throughout the whole exercise.

Our arranger then organised for a gardener to come and check out what needed to be done outside. The said gardener duly arrived and this time it was Joe’s turn to stand up for his rights.  They wandered around our rather small garden together and at the end the gardener reckoned that for about $1,000 he could get it right. Joe bargained him down to $500, and was very bitter about it for days afterwards!  In the meantime our next door neighbour, Andrew somehow got involved.

Andrew had lived next door to us for the past 20 or so years. We share a common fence and this fence was currently in tatters. They decided they had to do the fence, so we bought the stuff, and Andrew was going to do the work. Needless to say Joe couldn’t resist going out there too, so for most of the major packing up of our life Joe was in the garden with Andrew, and I was on the floor surrounded by boxes.

Editor’s Note: This is part two in a three-part series by Sue Musry about downsizing and retirement living. You can read part one here.

Have you gone through the process of ‘decluttering’? What did you have to part with?

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