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Downsizing my life

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gypsybird87 posted 5/7/2014 01:59 AM

Hi all,

Just looking for some reassurance and words of encouragement from those who have BTDT.

I just passed my dday anniversary, and the anniversary of my divorce being final is later this month. Since then, I've been living in what was the marital home, by myself. The mortgage is in my name only, and the payment is huge. The house itself is huge. After the D, I knew at some point I was going to have to sell. Financially and emotionally I guess I needed the last year to sort of let the dust settle, but now I'm ready to move on.

I've talked with a realtor friend about selling, and she assures me sales are fast in this neighborhood right now. She may have a buyer before I can even officially "list". I found a nice apartment and put down a deposit to hold it.

Everything is going smoothly, but I have moments where I feel unsure. I HAVE to sell this house, I can't afford the payment and I can't handle the upkeep. Mostly I'm excited for a fresh new start. I'm going to have to sell a LOT of stuff to downsize into the much smaller apartment. But its fun picking out new things. Right..?

I'm not sure what I'm scared of. Maybe its living in an apartment for the first time in 15+ years. Maybe its letting go of the memories, both good and bad, that happened in this house. I don't know how I'm going to feel the day I lock the door and walk away from here forever.

Please reassure me that I'm doing the right thing. That I'll be okay. That apartment living won't actually be hell after having my own house. If you are someone whose done this transition already, what unexpected problems did you face, either logistically or emotionally?

I guess what I'm feeling is normal, because this is a really big step. And it's happening fast. It took me a year to be ready, but now I am and things are happening very quickly. I think that might be better though, because I won't have a chance to get emotionally bogged down. I'm too busy!

Ugh. It's late and I'm overwhelmed and rambling. Sorry about that. As always it feels good just to express my feelings here. Thanks for reading.

fraeuken posted 5/7/2014 02:16 AM

Gypsiebird, while I don't have exactly the same experience you do, I also ended up selling a property I hung onto for 10 years with lots of memories associated and dreams for the future. It became financially difficult and once that burden was removed from me, I could move on and breathe easy.

The memories will stay with you. Treat yourself to something nice and new, something that represents you. Simplifying is liberating. Being in an apartment gives you the freedom to take time and plan your future and move on easily. You will have more time for you than in a big house that requires a lot of attention.

Good luck!

stronger08 posted 5/7/2014 03:29 AM

I've downsized completely and I don't regret a damn thing. In the end the house is just another asset or liability. If its not working for you financially, get rid of it. Sure it hurts when you leave. But with sad endings come new beginnings. And those beginnings are what you make of them. I'm a firm believer of being an owner versus a renter. I like to put equity in my own pocket, not a landlords. In that spirit perhaps you can get a condo, townhouse or small home for yourself. The price of real estate is pretty cheap these days. And what's great is that you, and you alone own it. Food for thought. But I think downsizing is just a natural progression in life. So is upsizing as needed when you think about it. I'm happy, I have a full basement that's being turned into a man cave as we speak, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths all to myself. For companionship I have a dog and a couple of cats. It works for me !!!

[This message edited by stronger08 at 3:29 AM, May 7th (Wednesday)]

Sad in AZ posted 5/7/2014 05:54 AM

I walked away from the marital home when I S from the X. I never really wanted that house, but I loved the location. I've moved 4 times since then (4 times in 3 years) so I've REALLY downsized. Even my yarn collection, although you'd never know it, as I still have a room full I'm 2500 miles away from the X but not very far from where I started life

No family to speak of here (a brother about 2.5 hours away). My best friends are much closer now, but still about 3.5 hours away.

In the beginning, I was nostalgic about some of what I left behind, but downsizing is very liberating. I think quite a bit before I buy anything now. My only WTF moment was Thanksgiving when I made myself a lobster and realized I didn't have a nutcracker I used a hammer

risingfromashes posted 5/7/2014 06:31 AM

Been there. It is so hard. I did a Major downsize. I kept as much of my furniture as I could to save money. But measured everything to make sure it would fit and weeded out anything that had any negative emotion attached to it.
It was scary but once done I felt I could breath again. You will be okay. You will thrive.

Ann124 posted 5/7/2014 07:10 AM


I understand your apprehension of moving on to fit your budget. I moved from the marital home (5 bdrm old farm house on 2 acres in a small rural town back to the middle of a very large city into a 800 sq ft one bdrm apt).

I downsized almost everything from the house and when moving into the apt I still had too much and sold what I could or donated for a tax write off.
I have been in the apartment for a year.

I have missed the quiet of the rural town and the house. I had a hard time adjusting to sounds of the city and sharing a ceiling and an adjoining wall with the other apartments. These were the most difficult to work through but beyond that financially the best decision to make to decrease stress etc ...

Good luck with your decisions Ann

karen49 posted 5/7/2014 08:49 AM

Haven't moved from my home but I can say I usually feel really good when I am able to change or replace something.It can be a wonderful feeling to get rid of memories from an unhappy past.Your new place will help you with your fabulous new beginnings,embrace it,you will be just fine!

EvenKeel posted 5/7/2014 08:53 AM

Please reassure me that I'm doing the right thing.

You are!

I would try to view it like the end of the M. It is sad because things did not turn out like we all thought. However, that is just one chapter and you have lots left in a very good book!

Don't feel bad about grieving it - that is natural for many. Like you said, it held both good and bad times. However, you still carry those good memories within you.

The release from the payment and responsibility from it.....priceless for your soul!

You got this!

abbycadabby posted 5/7/2014 09:05 AM


You're going to be okay. Think of the positives:

1) you don't have to do lawn maintenance!
2) if something breaks, you don't have to fix it!
3) presumably you'll have lower housing/energy costs!
4) you're getting a fresh start!

I'm sure there are more I can't think of because I don't know the specifics of your situation or the amenities the apartment complex might offer. For instance, I recently moved into an apartment complex with a pool and a fitness center. I have a washer and dryer in my unit. These were big draws for me because me and DS can generate a lot of laundry- I didn't want to have to be going back and forth to the laundromat. Also, the pool will be great (and free!) recreation when they open it this summer.

I was scared at first, but I'm happy here. Idk. It's change, and it's scary. But you'll be great.

[This message edited by abbycadabby at 9:06 AM, May 7th (Wednesday)]

FaithFool posted 5/7/2014 09:22 AM

Like Sazzy, I've moved four times in five years after a quick sale of the House of Pain.

Bought a condo in a concrete tower downtown, loved it for about a year, then got tired of the noise and the neighbours, so I decided to look for a heritage rental.

Renting makes sense for me because I'm in the most expensive area in the country for real estate and I'm old, so carrying a big mortgage makes no sense at my age.

I don't want to deal with tenants or maintenance.

I found the perfect apartment in an old mansion in a beautiful neighbourhood. It has two working fireplaces and a new kitchen, and it's surrounded by greenery and peace.

I've downsized A LOT, and now have a pretty simple and care-free life.

No car, no pets, no mortgage, no HOA fees, no worries about bugs or weeds or roof leaks or plumbing.

The owners live downstairs and keep everything in perfect condition, so all I do is call if I need anything.

They love me because I'm quiet and so they don't charge me full market rent.

If you live in a city that has a similar neighbourhood, look into it. You may have to look at a few places, but the perfect spot could be out there.

If I were going to buy again, I'd buy in a heritage conversion.

[This message edited by FaithFool at 9:25 AM, May 7th (Wednesday)]

cdagal posted 5/7/2014 09:30 AM

I moved from a large home on 45 acres of land to a small 600 sq foot apartment in the heart of the city. I took only the items that meant something to me and left everything else for the XH and the OW.
I went from being a homeowner to a renter. I still find that part of it difficult but I view this as transitional (it's been just over 3 years)and once I get through the support payments to the XH (only 2.5 year left!!!!)I can look at owning property again.
I miss the quiet of the country. I miss having my own washer and dryer. I miss having a basement for storage. But this is all part of the process. I know eventually, I will know where I want to put down permanent roots. Everything leading to that is useful - I'll know what I want - and what I don't want too

MadeOfScars posted 5/7/2014 10:27 AM

Gypsy, I'm looking at the possibility of going back to an apartment too. While I got the house in the divorce, I simply cannot stay here - too many memories. That and her name is still technically on the mortgage. I could refinance, but that doesn't make sense for me since I want to be out of here anyway.

Houses in my area are selling like crazy. It is definitely a sellers market which works in my favor. On the flipside though, this almost unprecedented market we're seeing in my area means there's little negotiating on the buyer's side. It's pay asking price or someone else will. That also doesn't make sense for me now since, with my new freedom, I may be open to relocation at work if the opportunity is too good to pass on. Who's to say in 6 months, a year, or 2 years that I won't be taking a loss on selling any new place. apartment is looking more and more like the best option for me, along with downsizing the extra "stuff." I went from resenting the idea to kind of being more and more excited about it. Less clutter. A place of my own with no ties to me ex. Less maintenance, taxes, worries, etc. Also, I should be able to save more money for when I do buy again. Additionally, for when I feel ready to possibly date again, an apartment complex seems more conducive to meeting single women than living in suburbia surrounded by families. Add in free access to a pool and gym, and it's sounding better and better by the day. The only possible downside is when I do have out of town friends come in, I may not have the room to put them up. Then again, if it's just a night or 2, I can take the couch.

You'll be fine gypsy!

meaniemouse posted 5/7/2014 13:29 PM

gypsybird--I did this 5 years ago. Went from a 3500 sq.ft. house with a big yard to a 700 square ft. apartment. I got rid of everything except the stuff that was most important to me. Most of my friends with big houses and big mortgages and no free time were very envious. It was a bit of an adjustment and is kind of cramped the few times I've had overnight company but overall it was a great decision for me. After 5 years I'm ready to buy another home--mostly for tax reasons and because renting is really expensive in my area.

I'm here to reassure you that you are doing the right thing. Sure, there are things you will miss about your house. But remember--that's what it is--a house. It is YOU that made it a home. And you will make that home again--wherever you land. My kids, family and friends would rather hang out with happy and content meaniemouse in my tiny apartment than with tense and angry meaniemouse and the lying cheating creep that used to share our large and lovely home.

Look at this as a new adventure. You will be fine.

norabird posted 5/7/2014 15:29 PM

You will be great.

Spend some time browsing the small home tours at to get excited for the downsize!

I know that this is needed for you not just logistically but that it will also be wonderful for you in all sorts of other was. It will be freeing, a real; new start. I'm excited for you! Keep us posted. It's normal to be anxious, but in the end, you're doing the absolute right thing.

gypsybird87 posted 5/7/2014 15:54 PM

Thanks so much for all the replies and support. This place is just the best.

I remember when it all happened, I was so jealous of him moving out, to his new life, new place, new job, new woman.. while I was left here alone in the rubble and destruction of the life that used to be. It seemed so unfair.

I am very proud of myself for the way I have gotten through the last year, reclaiming the house and making it my own. I love it, especially now that its very much "mine" and no longer "his" or "ours". Leaving it will be hard, that much is certain.

But remember--that's what it is--a house. It is YOU that made it a home. And you will make that home again--
--- you are SO right, mouse. Thank you for the reminder!

This is my time to make a fresh start. And I really like the idea of renting because if there is a maintenance issue, I don't have to figure it out and/or pay for it. XWH left me with many halfdone projects here and I am just so SICK of it. Also, if things change for me I will be able to pick up and move fairly easily.

It definitely is going to feel small and probably cramped going from a 2,000 sq ft house to a 974 sq ft apartment. This apartment will hold my home office as well. So I hope I LOVE it because I'm going to be spending many hours there!

Thanks again everyone and I will keep you all posted as things progress. Please cross your fingers that I get a fast sale on my house!

Crescita posted 5/7/2014 17:21 PM

*fingers and toes crossed*

I spent 5 months living out of a suitcase in a friends living room after d-day. It was so nice, and simple, and I loved the area and amenities. Then I got a nice sized apartment, closer to my work, no frills, filled it with a bunch of my old stuff. I have fonder memories of the air mattress and suitcase

Now I'm living with an SO, downsized my stuff again, hate the area, but it is starting to feel like home, and all the moving is giving me a great idea of what I want when I do eventually decide to buy another place.

Someday, I will have a small home in a planned community with a boat load of amenities.

Hope4TheFuture posted 5/7/2014 20:32 PM

I went from a 3500SF house to a 1200 SF house.

I got rid of so much...STUFF! It was incredibly liberating! I only kept the things that had very personal meaning to me.

Everything I love - everything that has a special meaning for me - fits perfect in this house.

Good luck!


Kajem posted 5/7/2014 23:10 PM

I'm starting month 3 of renting my townhome. I went from 2500 sq ft home in suburbia to 1200sq ft townhome in a very large city. The townhome is perfect for my needs. Kids coming from college on break so I needed 3 bedrooms. It's 2 floors, I haven't had to climb stairs in 24 years! But I've noticed some aches and pains are going away.

I have a front door, with a parking space that puts my car closer than if it was in my driveway. I have a back door with a yard beyond - that I don't have to do anything but enjoy. There's a pool, full washer and dryer book ups ( I got to bring mine from the house) . It's reasonable, close to major highways . I'm learning my way around this new city.

So far so good.

You can do this.


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