December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Downsizing - The Wave is Just Starting

This article was in a recent edition of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.  After reading it, I realize I'm going to have to come up with a solution to those two sets of dishes now taking up space in my kitchen cabinets!

Baby Boomers Trending Toward Simpler Way of Life
By Nancy A Herrick, Special to the Journal Sentinel
January 23, 2015

Judy Hearst calls it her "30-year cleanse."
That's what she and her husband, Jack, went through several years ago when they moved to Fox Point from the home in Glendale where they had lived for three decades and raised their children.
"You're going through everything you've accumulated, trying to decide what's important to take and what you're never going to use again," she says.
"In many ways, it represents a time capsule of your life. The sorting and the clearing out can be hard, physical work. And emotional. But for me the challenge was entirely worth it."
Hearst is a member of the baby boom generation, the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who are reaching a turning point. Millions of them are making housing choices that better fit their life going forward, and as a result are going through a downsizing, right-sizing or simplifying process.
"The boomer population has always set the trends, and now they've set a course for a more streamlined life," says Sheryl Connelly, trend analyst and futurist for Ford. "This generation is now trending toward a simpler way of life."
The National Association of Realtors 2014 Generational Trends Report found that many baby boomers aren't content to stay put. Some 30% of homebuyers are boomers, about the same percentage as GenY (31%) and GenX (30%) whose families, and incomes, are growing. Another report, The Conference Board's 2012 Consumer Confidence Survey, found that 29% of Americans ages 50 to 65 say they plan to move in the next five years.
Hearst, vice president and regional manager for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, has not only experienced it firsthand. She calls it one of today's major trends in real estate.
"I'm seeing many people moving from larger houses to smaller homes that require less maintenance, freeing up their time for other things," she says. "Or they're moving from two-story homes to ranch homes in anticipation of what may be down the road.
"I also am seeing many people moving to more urban areas or inner suburban communities from outlying suburbs because they want a walkable community or to live closer to where the action is."

FINDING THE 'RIGHT' SIZE

So just as many baby boomers helped their parents downsize and move to smaller homes or senior living choices, they're anticipating the process as well, though sometimes earlier and for different reasons. The National Association of Realtors report found that the biggest reason respondents ages 59 and older gave for selling their home and moving was to move closer to friends and family (52%). Another 34% decided to move because their home was too large.
"I like the term 'right-sizing' instead of 'downsizing' because there are so many options out there," says Nancy Miller, an interior designer in Milwaukee at formfunc.net/ who has been through the process herself and also helps clients take that step.
"It's about whether your current environment meets your needs and how your next environment can even better meet your needs.
"Some are choosing condos, townhouses, apartments, smaller houses or senior living," she says. "At what point is it downsizing vs. just moving where you want to be and want to live?"

CLEARING OUT THE STUFF

Karen Peck Katz, owner of A Gift of Time and a certified senior move manager, says that whether people are moving by necessity or by choice, or whether they are downsizing or just seeking a different type of living space, the process can be cathartic.
"Whether packing up your kids' stuff and giving it back to them or finally going through that junk drawer that's been hard to open for years, you can whittle away at the things you neither want or need anymore," she says. "And it's a wonderful time to make sure everyone else gets what they want when you divide up your belongings while you have the time and are able to make the decisions."
Pat O'Brien-Mullins, owner of Transitions Simplified in Bay View, like Peck Katz, is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers and is hired to help people transition from one home to the next. Most of her clients are 55 and older.
"They all seem to go through the same thoughts and emotions as they transition," she says. "Everyone seems to feel overwhelmed, and many say they just don't know where to begin."
So you have to have a plan, she says. Her company can come up with that plan and carry it out, or you can do it on your own.
"But make an appointment with yourself to get started," she says. "Otherwise you won't make the time and it won't happen."
And you can't start too early, says Miller, who has found that how someone approaches a move can help determine their attitude and ultimate happiness related to the changes.
Here are some tips from the experts on where to start if a move is in your future:
Start early. If you think you'll be putting your house on the market and relocating in the future, make a list of what needs to be done. It may include updating and making necessary repairs on your house to make it easier to sell. Pare down your belongings systematically so you're left with only the things you want to take with you. This may take months, or even years. But it's better to do it when you're not under pressure or time constraints.
When you know where you will be moving to, start measuring. Measure the room dimensions in the new space first, then the furniture you plan to take with you to make sure it fits. That oversize sectional might not fit in a condo living room. Your king-size bed might overwhelm a bedroom in a smaller ranch home. You may need a small dinette set rather than a kitchen table that seats 10.
Use up your inventory. From canned goods to cotton balls, why move it if you can use it up first?
Have a system that helps determine what you will do with what you can't or don't want to take with you. The four standard options are:
1. Give it away. That includes giving family pieces to family members or friends and donating items to charities so that others might benefit. You can drop items off at places like Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul; organizations such as Purple Heart, Habitat for Humanity and some veterans groups will pick up items from your home. But call first to see what they'll take and how best to get it there.
2. Sell it. A consignment shop might be the place to get rid of quality furniture you won't need in your new residence. An auction house might handle art or antiques. If you won't be needing your lawn mower, snowblower, appliances or other items, consider putting an ad on Craigslist (but follow common sense safety precautions).
3. Recycle it. Before you throw something in the garbage, determine whether there's a way to recycle it instead of having it take up space in a landfill. Metals, plastics, electronics and more might fall into this category.
4. Trash it. Call your municipality or garbage service to see whether a special pickup is necessary. Also ask what your municipality's rules are regarding old paint and hazardous chemicals. There may be a cost involved.
Save your memories. This is often the most difficult part of the process, as emotions come to the surface and sentiment takes over.
Sort through piles of photos and keep the ones that are important because they can't be replaced. That likely will include more "people" pictures than scenery shots. Organize them in albums or scan and organize them on your computer. At the very least, toss duplicates and put dates and names on the back of pictures you keep.
It may be time to give those kindergarten drawings and school projects back to your children. And those wedding and graduation programs? Do you really need them? As for old love letters? Keep them!
Reward yourself. Go out to lunch after a hard morning's work. Sit and relax with a cup of tea as you sort through pictures. Get a massage after a day of moving heavy furniture. You deserve it.
Acknowledge that the process is emotional. This is your life we're talking about, and you have a right to get a little choked up as you let go of the past. If it's too difficult, go on to something else and come back to the tough stuff. Or ask a friend or family member to help out.
Have a vision of what your life will be like once the process is complete. Extra space in your closet or dresser drawers? A linen closet that's easy to shut? A garage that fits both cars? Won't that be nice?
"Decide what you want your new life to look like," O'Brien-Mullins says. "Letting go can be spiritual. It gives you freedom, clarifies what's important and allows you to concentrate on what you really want to do with your life.
"It's a lot of hard work, but it has a flip side. There is a rebirth, and you feel fresh and renewed. It helps you move on."
Hearst agrees.
"Change can be hard, but it's an opportunity, too. A fresh start."

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