Capitalizing on Downsizing
Moving into a smaller home can be a challenge. But a can-do attitude paired with a little creativity will make the transition a smooth one.
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The dining area looks out on a metal-floored balcony with matching steps that lead to a courtyard, where Graves has placed her wrought-iron furniture. “This is so very, very special,” she says. Soon after moving in, Graves—whose former home was often on garden tours—planted early blooming spring bulbs, azaleas and peonies. The fountain that her mother gave her for Mother’s Day 15 years ago awaits a spring installation. In the owners’ nearby greenhouse, she’s stored potted azaleas and plants, which were gifts from her parents.
Though charming, one aspect of the house was almost a deal-buster. “My brother saw the place and said, ‘Take it! Take it!’” she recalls. All she could picture, however, was the single rod in the small bedroom closet. She brought in professional closet organizers to optimize the space with shoe cubbies and built-in drawers. “I knew I needed this for my sanity,” says Graves, who nevertheless had to ruthlessly prune her wardrobe.
The bedroom is perhaps her favorite spot in the new home. The deep-set window next to the bed overlooks a field punctuated by teardrop-shaped cypress trees. “My friend said, ‘It looks like Tuscany,’” Graves says. She relished the view after the first snowfall, when deer delicately picked their way past the row of trees.
“I just feel so lucky to be here,” she says. “I love it.”
The Joy of Downsizing
- To downsize, sift through your items to determine what to save and what to give away. Hold garage sales or privately sell items you no longer use or want. Meredith Graves had a house sale and a yard sale, and she sold items on consignment.
- Rent a storage space to stash items until you’ve decided if you can accommodate them. Heirloom pieces can also go there until you decide to give them to family.
- Use laundry baskets and Rubbermaid containers to carry pieces to their new home. Graves put carpet samples between dishes to protect them during the move.
- Realize the benefits of downsizing. Graves’s heating bill, for instance, dropped more than $700 a month. There is also a time savings. In peak gardening season, Graves spent at least two hours a day watering, raking and tending the garden at her old home.