PLANNING TO DOWNSIZE WITHOUT REALIZING IT
Things were happening fast 9 years ago for Doug and me. After years of searching for land in the Driftless Area, we happened upon the 44 acres that would change our lives the weekend before Labor Day. We came back for a second look the following weekend, and made an offer.
We closed the weekend before Thanksgiving, had an impromptu picnic on the land with our girls and a friend, cut three xmas trees and drove three hours back to Libertyville.
We divided our ornaments between the trees and transformed our tiny living room into an enchanted forest Thanksgiving weekend. That weekend, Doug was also preparing an application for an intriguing job in Madison. We had been trying to get back to Madison for over a decade. We worked on his accompanying letter all day Sunday and hit send just before midnight Sunday.
Three weeks later Doug had accepted a job as research and development manager for a start-up diagnostics company, and we were looking for a temporary house in Madison till we were ready to build on our land.
NINE YEARS LATER
Life is full of set backs and surprises, and when our older daughter declared she was going to graduate school to become an architect, we made up our mind on the spot that she would design our house when the time came. Because she has been working at Whole Tree Architecture and Structures, our house plans became a whole tree house. Della was ready to take on an independent project, and this became the year to build.
- BECAUSE Whole Trees favors natural building techniques and creates a framework of bent and branching round timbers whose walls are insulated with straw and plaster, its homes do not get thrown together as quickly as something made of “2×4”s and drywall.
- BECAUSE one never knows how long it will take to sell ones current home in our unhealthy housing climate.
We have been looking forward to what our architect, Della Hansmann, calls
The Goldilocks Solution to Downsizing
We are moving from a Papa Bear house that is too big to a Baby Bear apartment that is too small and we will ultimately end up in Mama Bear Underhill House that is just right.
By spending a few months camping above Mitchell Flooring on High Street in Mineral Point, we will pour ourselves into Underhill and fill it perfectly.
We will have cast off
- a bedroom
- a bathroom
- a living room
- a study
- a full basement
- an attic
- and everything that filled them
And we won’t feel the pinch of our downsized digs because Underhill House is going to be a bit bigger than our 2-bedroom apartment. Instead of feeling pinched, we will feel like we are spreading out into a luxurious amount of space — and we will be.
TIME TO TOSS
Goldilocks Downsizing also gives us an extended opportunity to cast off all those possessions accumulated in a lifetime that sit unused, but so quietly and comfortably in all the corners of your life that you can’t even see them.
We let go of many things in this first move.
Thank you, Craigslist and Goodwill!
But let me tell you, that when it came time to pack this past week, I found many more things that I realized I no longer needed or wanted but was forced by the momentum of the moving process to box and haul to our storage unit.
Now that those items are no longer sitting camouflaged by habit in the spot where they seemed immovably fixed, they stand out like a deer in the headlights, and can all be sent to new homes before we move into ours.
There are shelves full of volumes in book stores on how to declutter, and moving twice may seem like an extreme step to take, but it is ruthless and effective.
Did you see the movie 127 Hours? All right, moving to downsize is nowhere near as harsh as 27 Hours.
Think hot air balloon over the ocean and losing altitude. There are times when it becomes a lot easier to let go of objects that seemed have habit and history gluing them to your life.
While we were packing as hard and fast as we could to vacate Bascom Place for the Friday noon walk through with the new owners, an image came to me. I imagined I was on a space ship traveling somewhere with all my stuff. The captain told me it had been divided randomly in half (I still had my computer and my purse). They needed to downsize the cargo, and I needed to push a button to jettison one of those halves into space. At that moment, packing box after box, I would willingly have pushed that button without even knowing which half. It seemed painfully clear to me that I had way too much stuff. And I know I could live happily without half of it.
Now we have several months to make the final cut, and it doesn’t have to be random. It seems like a gift from the gods.
Thank you, Goldilocks!
Have you downsized? How did you do it?
Categories: Underhill House