Large homes take large amounts of energy and time.
Now that I am retired I value these commodities more than ever.
On impulse my husband and I decided to take advantage of booming real estate market here in Colorado. We put our house on the market in mid July, just a few weeks after I ending teaching.
This is the home we raised our children in and the place we will always consider our family home. We purchased this home just as I completed my degree in art education, before we had our son and just as my husband started a new job. It is a large house with a big back yard that includes a pool. Both my husband and I took a great deal of pride in our home. It was our “work of art”
Our house was active. There is a garden level basement with a pool table and gaming den where our kids could have friends over. We had the family from the east coast in our house for Christmas every year. We hosted many swim parties for classmates, scouts and sports teams. This house is the backdrop for my best memories, but It is time to change directions.
Today both my husband can set our own agenda. Our daughter is getting married soon and is living in another state. Our son still lives in the house but is more than ready to move into his own place. My children no longer need a family home and we no longer need a house this size.
Most retirement advice I have read suggests you don’t rush to sell your house. Selling brings up some practical questions: Where are you going to live? What are the real costs of relocating? Will you break even or end up with even more debt? What are you going to do with all your stuff? It’s it too much work?
So why did we decide to sell just weeks after I stopped working? – Because we were ready.
Over the past several years we changed our attitude about our family home. We knew that our house was not going to be the place where a large portion of time and energy was allocated. In order to live the dream we needed let go of the responsibility of owning a large property. So we started thinking differently.
Several years ago we started to think of our home as a property that was going to be sold and the things inside the house as something we would have to move. When my daughter moved out we let her take furniture, we didn’t replace or redecorate her room. It remained empty space. When our neighborhood dumpster arrived, we used it. to get rid of the extra wood from a remodel, cut down overgrown bushes, old planters, and other items that we couldn’t donate or sell.
Gradually we got down to what we needed. I avoided buying big ticket items and the urge to add expensive or taste specific updates. I painted walls a neutral color. My husband updated the trim, electrical face plates and replaced all the doors. We also put up a new fence and repaired cement walkways. We installed new fire alarms and radon detectors. We replaced lighting.
After awhile I liked the idea of living with essentials. I boxed items that I did not need to have out, but didn’t know if I would keep, sell or donate them. When I went my quilt guild meeting I brought books and magazines that I hadn’t looked at in the last year. I get new movies and books from the library or they are downloaded.
As an artist and teacher I have a studio brimming with media that I rarely use like silk screens, paper making pulp, and wood cutting tools. I made the decision to focus on art quilting and anything that I wouldn’t use in an art quilt was distributed to artist friends. My closet has a new set of hangers which are limited in number. If I don’t have a hanger for a new item, I throw something out. I now have two winter coats and two light spring coats, I use what I have and if I don’t its gone.
This change of attitude gave us a head start on cleaning up our stuff and gave us time to adjust mentally to moving on……