Pictured on the left is my four-story townhouse in Atlanta, which had 3500 square feet. Lots of great things about this place, but it was a royal pain to maintain! Look at all the beautiful trees and shrubs surrounding the property. Nice to look at, but every time it stormed, I worried about trees crashing through the roof. It was also a fabulous place for house guests and large parties, but it was so exhausting! When it became apparent that downsizing was imminent, I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. It took a couple of years from starting the process until I felt entirely at home in my new downsized life, but now I couldn't be happier in my lock-and-leave, downsized life.
On the right is the building I moved to three years ago. I was horrified at first with the idea of an elevator-building lifestyle, but the positive aspects of my new lifestyle far outweigh the negative ones.
My husband and I are perhaps the oldest people in our building, but we're having a great time with several fun young couples, all of whom are involved in interesting careers. We're within walking distance to about 30 restaurants. We hop on Capital Bikes and ride to Georgetown Harbor or to visit monuments, museums, galleries and restaurants. We take weekend excursions to the Eastern Shore or Delaware Coast or Shenandoah Valley, or head to Union Station and jump on a train to visit New York or Philadelphia.
It's refreshing to have created a "new life" at this age. It took a while to let go of all our "stuff" and leave behind the lives we created for ourselves in Atlanta and in our lake community, but we've fully embraced our new surroundings and feel very much at home!
Of course, it was fabulous to have a four-level townhouse in Atlanta and a spacious and fun lakehouse two hours away. But the upkeep! When it came time to relocate to Arlington, Virginia, for work, it was emotionally and physically draining to downsize, but I bet my husband and I have gained two weeks' leisure time by downsizing into a new life (time we would have spent maintaining/cleaning/repairing the old place) and saved a ton of energy!
The new master suite has less room and less clutter. Fresher styling and lighter brighter look.
Having fewer closets, of course, means you need to make better use of drawers.
Here these Ikea dressers are placed side-by-side with a glass top to "tie them all together." Inside are jeans and trousers rolled up a la Marie Kondo, as well as artfully arranged lingerie, scarves, sweaters, and workout clothes. Jewelry is tucked away in little bins, and there are even lots of bed linens in one of the drawers. And under the bed, of course, are Container Store bins for off-season sweaters.
The best thing about downsizing and reinventing ourselves is the opportunity to meet fun new friends, from all walks of life. So many stories and parties and experiences. For some reason, most stories about downsizing are about how hard it is. Sure, it's hard, but c'mon people, let's talk about how awesome it can be. The sooner you do it, the more awesome it is; if you wait too long, you're older and less interested in the world outside your door.