I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. We spent a cozy day in our downsized little apartment with our family. Was it the Pinterest perfect Thanksgiving with the perfectly decorated table? Not by a long shot. Was it a fun day full of family and love? Absolutely.
We are fully into the holiday season and no one wants to think about downsizing during the holidays but if you are planning on downsizing in 2018 these are my three tips for what you should be doing now during the holiday season.
1.Savoir every moment. Even though last year at this time we had not yet decided to sell our home, I had a gut feeling it would be the last holiday season we celebrated there. I took the time to go all out with my decorating and I spent many hours admiring and enjoying the fruits of my labor. I sat in front of our tree every night with a glass of wine and soaked in every moment.
If you think this might be your last holiday season in your home then be consciously grateful everyday during the holidays. Last year at this time we knew we were ready to move on so I silently said goodbye to all the things I had enjoyed about having a large house during the holidays; my formal dining room, my large family room that held a tall full tree, my big kitchen and my large extended table that held all my guests along with all the food. I even went all out decorating for Christmas breakfast and it was just the four of us! In years past we had just eaten in the family room while opening gifts.
2.Donate, toss or sell holiday decor NOW! I know I sound like the Grinch talking but this is the reality of down sizing reguarding holiday decor. Unless you have the perfect scenario where your adult children have recently bought a home and want to deck it out for the holidays and are thrilled to take all your decorations (most likely not the case) you must sell or donate now or risk missing your window of opportunity. Very few people are interested in holiday decor after the celebrating is over so you will have little to no luck selling things on Craigslist, eBay or whatever market place you use. Also, most charities either no longer take holiday decor or they only take it in the months of November and December. You don’t want to be in a panic next Spring when your only option is to pay for storage or throw your decorations away.
After thirty plus years of collecting (everything from vintage Christmas snow globes to nutcrackers and ornaments) I had over 16 large boxes of holiday decor. It pained me terribly to donate what I spent so much time collecting but I knew I couldn’t take 16 boxes with me to our small apartment. Make a decision how much you can realistically take with you when you downsize. In my case it I thought I could take three boxes. In reality, it’s half of one box. We will most likely only have a small table tree and maybe a decoration or two on the coffee table and small kitchen table. I’m in the process now of letting go of the rest.
3.Take photos, lot’s of photos. One of my regrets is that I was so busy with clients and anxious to get the house ready to put on the market that I never took photos before the house was turned upside down for staging. Once it was staged it looked very little like how it did when we lived there. I do have the Real Estate photos but it’s a staged house with no personality. Get out your camera and document everything. You won’t realize how much you will enjoy looking back on your previous life in your big home.
I will admit, the holidays are difficult after you’ve drastically downsized like we have. There is no room for my sons to spend the night on Christmas eve, no decorating the front yard trees with white lights and my traditional baking of Christmas cookies will be simply too difficult with no counter space in my small kitchen.
Given the choice though I would not go back to living in a big house. The benefits of our new small living lifestyle far outweighs the few things I miss around the holidays. I also think it will get easier every year.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve downsized. Did you find the holidays challenging?