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We finally did it - downsizing - no regrets at all

(53 Posts)
cossybabe Sat 03-Aug-19 11:04:16

After 38 years, we finally sold our family home, leaving a very large 5 bedroom house to move into a small 2 bedroom bungalow.

We had to get rid of almost everything and buy new furniture for the bungalow.

I thought I would be upset about seeing it all go, but we have found it so liberating and have no regrets at all.

We are so pleased we have done it - how was your downsizing experience?

Day6 Sat 03-Aug-19 11:21:56

Well, we ended up with a lovely house but we have four bedrooms because we do have friends and family come and visit us. It's a better fit for us because one requirement was two sitting rooms (one each for when I need music or to read and he wants his sport) and a cloakroom downstairs big enough to convert to a walk in shower room should the time come when we can no longer manager stairs. We found a lovely, older but modernised detached house which ticked all the boxes - one being a reasonably big garden for OH. We made the mistake of bringing too much with us though as the garage is full to bursting with boxes of oddments which we really should sort out. confused

So, a forever home for us after 36 years for me in my last one, and 20+ years for OH in his old place. We are not very good at being ruthless. I admire you cossybabe, for properly downsizing and starting afresh without the old baggage. It must be liberating.

tanith Sat 03-Aug-19 11:38:06

Well done both of you, I’m already in a small 2bed house which we downsized to 20 yrs ago but I have no place for ground floor bathroom/toilet so can envisage me moving again now I’m on my own but it’s not easy to find a bungalow (ideal) that I could afford in the suburbs of London, I’ll really miss a garden so want to avoid a flat unless there is a garden it’s not an easy search.

So not sure what the answer is but I have time to figure it out I envy you having found your forever homes.

M0nica Sat 03-Aug-19 11:46:26

When we down sized it was literal, we swapped a large late 19th century semi over 4 floors, for the same quantity of space over 2 floors in a low ceilinged medieval farm house.

We have been here over 20 years, are in our mid-70s and still managing the house and garden without problem (plus another in France). If we downsize again, we will still want the floor space, but much less garden. It is the garden that will drive our down sizing.

midgey Sat 03-Aug-19 11:50:04

Tanith you could always try ‘guerrilla* gardening! grin

Framilode Sat 03-Aug-19 11:50:29

When we moved back from Spain we downsized to a smallish 3 bed detached (non estate) in a village. It took a bit of adjusting to as we had a very large villa in Spain.

It is all so much easier to clean and very cosy in Winter. We also had a lot of land round our villa which was becoming a burden. Here we have a smallish garden, but private and had been beautifully laid out. My only regret is that we don't have two sitting rooms for the reasons given above. We have a conservatory but if we win big on the premiums we will convert it into a garden room.

Framilode Sat 03-Aug-19 11:52:04

Good luck Cossybabe. I am so pleased that you are happy with your decision.

crazyH Sat 03-Aug-19 12:03:58

After my divorce, I downsized from a large 5 bed detached house with 3 large living room downstairs, 3/4 acre garden etc etc to a small 4 bed compact house, 1 living room, with a tiny garden. Best thing I ever did. it was not a question of choice, it was a question of 'needs must'. On my own, I could never have afforded the upkeep of such a large house and garden. And the equity, I tucked away for a rainy day.

lmm6 Sat 03-Aug-19 12:10:26

Reading the above posts, it doesn't sound as if anyone regrets their decision to downsize. Our experience is slightly different but, when we were refurbishing our home, we moved into a caravan on a managed site for 2 months. It was extremely modern with absolutely everything to hand. We missed nothing at all from our home. Made me think just how little "stuff" we really need. I could have happily stayed there.

Minniemoo Sat 03-Aug-19 12:14:00

I'm a bit of a hoarder and just can't see me being able to downsize.

I also swore that after we'd finally moved into the house we have now that I would never move again.

The house isn't huge. It has 5 bedrooms but youngest daughter still lives here on and off. One room is filled with Christmas Decorations (yes, we have far too many) and the other is used as a playroom for visiting grandchildren.

We'll just have to get a stannah stairlift if we get to that stage.

But well done and good luck to all you who have manged the move successfully!

Minniemoo Sat 03-Aug-19 12:15:15

Oh and we occupy the 2 other bedrooms! Sometimes I like my own space and love to stretch out in an empty bed. With my small dog of course!

Cabbie21 Sat 03-Aug-19 12:38:59

We downsized five years ago from a 5 bed to a 3 bed. We have an extra room plus WC and shower on the ground floor as well as family bathroom upstairs. It is easy to access, bus stop 100 m away, 10 mins walk to shops, library, health centre, good road connections. Perfect.
But although we got rid of masses of stuff ( charity shops, recycling centre, sold a bit ) we still have far too much and not enough room. The loft is full, the garage is full. I keep telling DH we won’t live for ever and he can’t take it with him.

Greta8 Sun 04-Aug-19 02:07:38

We've just successfully downsized. So thrilled with our new home. It took us five months and have moved from a large cottage with a very big garden to a fairly modern four bed detached with a small pretty garden. We took all our furniture, as we weren't completely sure how it would fit and ironically we need to buy a few more bits and pieces - stuff like side tables. This is because of the different configuration of the rooms. We also have a nice amount of equity stashed away now, due to moving to a cheaper area. This was to be near my darling daughter and son-in-law and our new grand-son. I feel a very lucky and happy woman. A novel experience after a few difficult years!

BBbevan Sun 04-Aug-19 06:37:02

Due to the difference in house prices where we used to live, and here , we upsized We lived in a road that was turning into a car park. The whole town was dirty, grey and crowded.
Now we have a detached, light airy house near the sea and we love it. We are slowly future proofing both house and garden, for when we can't do as much. Best thing we ever did.

Sara65 Sun 04-Aug-19 08:11:51

It’s good to read so much positivity. I know the point will come when we need to downsize, but I don’t look forward to it. Like Day6 I couldn’t bear having just one reception room, he likes his rugby, I like my peace, we have lots of visiting children /grandchildren, I don’t like sharing my bathroom, and there’s plenty of space here to spread out.

But realistically I know the time will come, because it’s a lot to manage, and there always seems to be something that needs doing. But the thought of parting with all my stuff is depressing, you accumulate things over a lifetime, and then suddenly go into reverse, and get rid of it all!

Maybe when the time comes, we’ll find it liberating, hope so!

Urmstongran Sun 04-Aug-19 08:31:07

Needs must with us, but especially since retirement it’s worked out perfectly. A small apartment in South Manchester and another one here in Malaga. The one here has gardens, palm trees, plants and two swimming pools, plus tennis court (not for me!), a pool table and a garden bar. There are 5 bars outside for tapas, pizzas etc. The beach is a short walk away.

The one at home is in the centre of town, round the corner to Sainsbury’s, the library, local bars and restaurants, across the road from the railway station and the library. And Thornton’s for chocolate!

Each place is easy to maintain, cheap to run as so small and can be locked up safely and left whilst ‘at the other place’.

The price of these two were from the selling of the house we had lived in with two daughters and two dogs for over 30 years. No equity though!

Lifts in both apartment blocks so good for when we get older - no stairs!

It wouldn’t suit everyone but we love it. People are fond of telling us how ‘lucky’ we are. It’s a simpler life, stripped back, with less possessions and ‘stuff’. Hoarders and crafters would hate the lack of space, but as someone upthread said, it makes me realise just how little we actually ‘need’ in life.

Pantglas1 Sun 04-Aug-19 08:42:57

Your last paragraph resonated with me Urmstongran. I have people tell me I’m lucky to have two homes - most live in huge houses which cost more to run than both my ‘umble two bedroom abodes put together! We all make our own choices don’t we and downsizing isn’t for everyone.

Sara65 Sun 04-Aug-19 08:45:35


Sounds perfect

mosaicwarts Sun 04-Aug-19 08:50:59

Congratulations cossybabe, I'm very envious, still waiting for 'the one' to come along and buy my 5 bed so I can move somewhere smaller and easier to run. I hope your new home is full of love and laughter smile

PamelaJ1 Sun 04-Aug-19 09:09:15

I’m still waiting for ‘the moment’!
DH is on crutches as I write and I know I don’t want to be here on my own. I don’t want to look after a large garden and spend all my time maintaining the place. Id have to get a gardener, window cleaner etc.

I look on RMove regularly. Always check the floor plan first, see if there are any walls to knock down! What goes through a planners mind? Nothing apart from profit I think.

Nice to know that some of you seem to have made the right decisions.

Bellasnana Sun 04-Aug-19 09:54:54

When the children were growing up we were fortunate to have a lot of space with a 7 bedroomed villa, three garages, big garden and swimming pool here in Malta.

When we sold our restaurant, we had two teenagers still living at home, eldest two had gone to live in the US, so we decided to sell the villa as well. It was a bit of a wrench after nearly thirty years, and it is the longest I have ever lived in one house.

Clearing the clutter was a nightmare, plus getting rid of surplus to requirements furniture, but we did it and downsized to a four bedroomed, 500 year old typically Maltese house, with three floors and a central courtyard. No pool and no big garden.

Then my beloved H was diagnosed with cancer at 67, and a year later he was gone. I then had to downsize yet again.
It was a horrible time, I still don’t know how I did it, but am so very glad I did.

I now have a brand new maisonette, three bedrooms, enough outside space that I can manage, and all on one floor in case I am ever infirm.

Still have my son living at home which suits us both. I miss my H terribly and still have some of his clothes hanging in the cupboard, it was too hard to part with everything.

With the profit I made from selling the bigger house, I am now able to visit my two DD’s and DGD in the US, although I can’t be too extravagant.

It was the right decision for me, but I know it can be a tough one to make.

GrandmaMoira Sun 04-Aug-19 10:03:35

I moved recently from a 4 bed Edwardian inner city with 2 lofts, 4 downstairs rooms and cellar to a 4 bed 30s outer suburbs - no cellar or loft as the loft is the 4th bedroom and only lounge and kitchen diner. I did get rid of masses of stuff. I haven't downsized much but still have family stay every week. This house is in much better condition, nearer shops, in a nicer area and I now have a nest egg - all positive.
For the future, I have a utility room which could become a downstairs shower room if necessary and there are nice flats and retirement flats nearby.

GrannyLiv Sun 04-Aug-19 10:07:39

The same experience as you cosybabe!

We moved, last year, from a two-storey house to a bungalow and let lots of possessions go in the process. We have been careful in choosing what furniture came with us and what we bought new, and have made an effort to keep the rooms as clutter free as possible. As you say, it is liberating!

The biggest shock for me is in the kitchen. New kitchen is half the size of the old kitchen and I couldn't possibly fit all the pots, dishes, gadgets etc in. But whilst we were looking for a property, I had been making a start in boxing things up ready for a quick and painless move. On moving day I just took the boxes containing the essentials and left everything else behind. A year on, and I don't miss any of the gadgets I left in the other boxes!

Our son and his girlfriend are living in our old house and they use them now!

Books, dvd's, cd's were all either sold or donated. Clothes were sorted and lot's taken to charity shops or dropped at the clothes recycling bank. I have a few sentimental items that I won't part with, but I would say that the majority of our stuff didn't make the cut.

I've never been happier or felt more at peace smile

GrannyLiv Sun 04-Aug-19 10:19:03

PamelaJ1 - Stay positive, it'll happen. We were looking for over a year for our perfect house - checking rightmove several times every day! We eventually went to view a bungalow on Valentines day last year and moved into it 4 months later!

Some of the new build bungalows are designed with wheelchair users in mind, with wider passages and doorways and open plan as much as possible. There was a development close to us like that, that would have suited Hubby very well, but it was waaay outside our budget. We find ourselves in a 1980's build that has been very well maintained and, because we have chosen to furnish it with only the essentials, it feels very spacious and calming.

Keep checking RM and Zoopla! Good luck smile

GrannyLiv Sun 04-Aug-19 10:43:21

[Sara65] About accumulating lots of stuff - having had to clear out both my Mum's house after she died, I can firmly say that I do not want my son having to do the same for me.

Mum had lots of knick knacks - crystal ornaments, porcelain collectibles, decorative plates on almost every wall,not to mention a vast collection of glassware (a set of glasses for every conceivable style of drink - wine, champagne, sherry, brandy, port, martini, etc etc, even babycham glasses!). It took weeks to go through everything and find an alternative home for it all. Some items went to family members, some donated,

I ended up keeping certain ornaments not because I liked them, but because I knew that Mum liked them. My house started to become cluttered as a result. And when we decided we would be moving and I started to box up our possessions, I realised that, eventually, our son would have to deal with it all. I didn't want that, so started making inroads into downsizing.

I like to think that everything we let go is now owned by someone who is appreciating and using it, instead of being stuffed in a cupboard collecting dust and being considered clutter. I still have some sentimental items and old pieces of jewellery,but I plan on passing them to my Granddaughter when she is old enough.

I reckon that if the worst happened, it would take just one day to clear out our house now and I intend to keep it that way. For someone who had for a long time measured success in terms of material things, this is a whole new lease of life. And I love it!