Downsizing -- pros/cons?

Who knows?

We now have a pod in our driveway. The contractors had stacked all of the furniture and appliances in a couple of rooms but now they need to get in there, so furniture and appliances go into the pod. The architectural bones of the renovation really improve the way the place feels.

But, we aren’t throwing furniture out as we are expanding our footprint. But, there is lots of stuff to give away, especially as this house has no basement and we took over the garage to make it a studio.

We helped my sister a bit who has done the yeoman’s job of moving/giving away/throwing out stuff from my mother, who passed away last month. Fortunately, she moved from her huge 5 BR house to an apartment to independent living to assisted living and we got three passes at culling stuff, so the job is much smaller.


Gosh I hope the tenant’s lease isn’t expiring because of your daughter. In this housing market it is cruel to force someone to move.


The lease was going to expire at the end of August (like most leases in Cambridge). I recall that the first step was that Ex-BF’s Mom was going to ask both of the tenants in that building if they were moving out or staying. She told ShawD the apartment will be available in 9/1. I don’t know if the tenants wanted to renew or not. ShawD would have like to move in to the apartment in July but will have to wait until 9/1.

After just a long weekend on the market, our house has received 8 offers and we’ve accepted the highest all cash offer. We close in less than 2 weeks. Fortunately, they are leasing back the house to us for the next month or so. The market is just pretty nuts here in Austin and apparently our run-down 1950’s ranch is something that a lot of young families are looking for.
Now we have to figure out where we’re going to land next. Any sort of renting seems too hard long distance, so we’re thinking we will move all of our stuff into storage in Santa Fe and just rent something very short term (1 or 2 weeks Airbnb type place) while we look for a place to rent for longer term while we shop for a house to buy. If we have to, we’ll get a place in Albuquerque temporarily. This all seems overwhelming with new doctors to find, mail to forward, etc, etc. But one step at a time. I have to remind myself that people do this sort of thing everyday.


Congratulations and good luck!


Stick to your guns on taking the stuff from your MIL.

Good friends moved a few years ago. They had three generations of stuff in their house and basement…think doubles because there were two grandparents, and great grands. Plus they had their own stuff they weren’t using.

They first tagged a couple of things they liked and planned to take. Then they asked their kids who each chose exactly one item each.

No one wanted the vintage furniture and honestly didn’t care how many generations it came from. They hired an estate person who first took out things he thought were valuable enough to consign. There weren’t very many things taken. Then he ran an estate sale for a few days. Friends got a portion of the estate sale profits, as well as a portion of the consigned sales. Then the estate person offered them a fixed amount to take anything left that he wanted. They were fine with that.

No one took anything that was large or heavy. And no one took any dishes, decorative glassware, vases, drinking glasses, crystal, artwork…etc. because no one wanted it. And after the stuff was taken for consignment, they knew what was left wasn’t Sothebys material.

My sister in law helped her parents “store” things when they down sized. It took them seven years to clear out their basement. My BIL put his foot down and said NOTHING else could ever come into their house from my MIL. And it hasn’t.

When I am ready to downsize, I will also significantly down size my belongings. That should be part of downsizing. Period.


@newpreironic : Congratulations on such a quick all-cash sale. I’m hoping my son and DIL have the same experience when they put their house on the market next Thursday May 26.

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H moved some stuff from his folks home to ours 30+ years ago. It’s still here. He also has tons more stuff under their house that makes it impossible for the worker to get in and level the house so repairs can begin. It’s been 2 years vacant while we wait for him to get around to labeling what he does and doesn’t want. No idea when he will get to it. :weary:

I’ve got my fingers crossed for them. Our sale exceeded the expectations of both us and our realtor, but now we have to find something we can afford with the proceeds.
Where are your son and DIL?


They will! The hard part will be buying the next house!

Congrats! I think I mentioned my friends who last year moved from Austin to Santa Fe. Can’t wait to go see their new digs! And they sold at just the right time … they got more than $150k over list!


Ours went for well over listing as well. I don’t know how anyone starting out now can afford anything. We couldn’t if we weren’t already homeowners.


They are in Madison WI. Their realtor is quite confident they’ll get a good price. I too feel terrible for anyone starting out. The chips are stacked against them.


@newpreironic, congratulations.

The RE market in a lot of places is insane. We paid somewhat under market for our house (signed P&S in Dec 2019 and closed in early Jan 2020). But Zillow’s Zestimate is almost double what we paid and Redfin’s estimate (which I think is flawed) is $1 M higher.

4 months after our water damage, we’re finally packing up our house so they can finish the demo/move out. We still have a lot of mom and dad’s stuff because they were living with us for a year. I packed up 6 boxes of Christmas china alone, 4 boxes of regular china. I haven’t even started packing the crystal. I’m taking it all to their new place for now, but I know I’ll need to figure out what to do with it in the future. We just don’t entertain that way; I’ve never hosted a formal dinner, not even for holidays. Funny thing is they rarely did either; it was always just on display in a hutch. My MIL said she won’t “burden” (her word) us with more china. She said yesterday she’s going to start using it as everyday where and if it breaks, it breaks. She wants to start enjoying it instead of just having it on display. I love that for her.


We were gifted several sets of china. Two sets I don’t particularly like, but I use one of them when MIL comes over for a holiday dinner.

I love my mother’s china-it’s very simple yet beautiful, and I use it every time I have a dinner party.

Someday when MIL is no longer with us, I will offer all of the sets except for my mom’s to my Ds. I am confident that they will decline the offers, and then I will donate them and finally be finished storing multiple sets of dishes that I don’t like or use.

All of these posts, as well as my own experience, have made me determined to never pressure my kids to take on “stuff” just because we’ve owned it or had it passed down to us.


One of my kids just bought a townhouse. It’s in a revitalized area and when walking in the area, it’s a younger urban neighborhood. School district isn’t good and if they choose to stay there, it will be private schools.

Two good incomes. Low debt. Had to bid over ask. Got lucky that no one had a cash offer, were preapproved. And they got in right before interest rates went up.

I think home ownership is still available to our kids.



While Zillow and Redfin estimates are generally known to be crap, and I don’t trust them, here is a personal anecdote: one of our neighbors quietly sold their house (off market) for 2X what they thought it would fetch 5 years ago. Redfin thinks our old box is valued more than 70% higher than we paid for it in 2017. I don’t think this is sustainable… and I don’t think this parade will last. It certainly smells like a RE bubble.