After talking about it for months, my husband and I decided to sell our home of twenty years. The experience suggests several things...we're wise to move into a house we can live in until old age...we've accumulated way too much stuff...we don't have the physical ability we thought we had...and we picked a terrible time to plunge into the real estate market.
Our son kept saying we couldn't put our house on the market before we even looked for a new place. To placate him, we looked at new construction and came to the conclusion we wanted a house with a dining room and walls inside. The first house we made an appointment to see met the most important of our requirements. Wow! How many people can say they found exactly what they were looking for on the first try? Our new home is perfect for our needs, a ranch with a walkout basement. Yes, we still have steps, but with two staircases putting in a chair lift was simple. The lawn is easy to mow and care for, a far cry from the hill on which we used to live. Okay, it's a little bigger than we were looking for, but with active grandchildren the extra space is really is nice to have. I adore the large kitchen. As often as I entertain, the expanded work space is a blessing. It's so nice to have the table back in the kitchen. Our granddaughters love having their own room, and I love having their toys stored someplace besides the living room.
It never fails to amaze me how much stuff one acquires. I thought we'd never finish clearing out the garage. Why had we hung onto all that junk? I'll never know. I recommend pretending (hey, I write fiction!) you're making a military move with a strict weight allowance every three years. Pitching often is less painful than letting the stuff pile so deep that it's a daunting task. I know, easier said than done, especially if there's a pack rat in residence. I wish I thought I'd take my own sound advice.
I was totally unprepared for the physical demands of packing and unpacking. Were it not for my wonderful daughter-in-law and son, we'd never have gotten the job done. We painted six rooms and have bathrooms left to go. While I had help, I did most of the painting. The biggest boo-boo was painting my office such a bright green that I knew I'd never be able to work in the room. After two attempts to soften the color using faux painting techniques, I had to do the whole thing over. Lesson learned...don't try to save money by using leftover paint that's not what you really like. Then I splashed wallpaper sizing all over the red wall in our bedroom. I got smart and called a professional paper hanger for the borders and accent walls. That was the best $500 I ever spent!
The worst problem we're facing is selling our old home. It's been on the market for six months and not a nibble to date. We've done all the updating that's reasonable to do. The problem is there's a glut of lovely homes on the market. It's frustrating, to say the least.
Moving has made me understand why so many old people refuse to leave their homes when they really need more care than they can give themselves. It's a daunting task with never ending decisions. I hope we've learned a valuable lesson, but I doubt it. As much as we pitched, we still have too much stuff and not enough stashing places.