TIME TO DECLUTTER: It’s your house, do what you want with it

For the last several months, I have found myself alone in our home. It’s a strange feeling because for years I have rarely the house to myself. When the first quiet day happened, I was in disbelief. Standing in our living room, I called out, “Am I really the only one home?” Silence.

With five children, I am used to a noisy house with lots of people coming and going. Now our two oldest daughters have moved out and our sons are away at college, so we are down to just our youngest daughter.

Even though we are not empty-nesters yet, our home feels too big to me. I have decided I’m ready to downsize. I want less home to take care of so I can relax and spend more time doing things I enjoy. When I made this publicly known, I met with some objections.

My husband looked at me puzzled and said, “Not everyone has moved out yet.”

RELATED: Gain freedom after experiencing your loss

My thoughts on his reaction. If our boys aren’t quite ready to move out after college, no problem. They are welcome to live with us in a smaller home, but they will have to share a room. Making adult children less comfortable in a smaller home is a good motivator for them to get a job and make their own way. This is good for them.

(Note: My husband later decided he wants smaller, too.)

Next, oldest daughter said, “You can’t move, we have so many good memories there.”

My response was, “I will be happy to stay here, but you have to leave the town you love and move back home. That way we can all stay together and live forever in this house. You do love it that much, right?” There was quiet on the end of the line. I asked her to stop trying to make me feel guilty. I don’t make her feel bad for moving away and living where she wants to live.

And finally my extended family and friends had this to say: “What are you going to do when you have grandchildren? With as many kids as you have, you will have a house full.”

DUMP THE CLUTTER: Change your self-talk and get organized

Interesting. They don’t want me to move and be happier with less responsibility now because someday I might have grandchildren?

A couple of thoughts. I know many people whose children chose not to have children, therefore no grandchildren. I also know people who only see their grandchildren when they travel to see them. No big house needed for these couples after all.

My parents moved to a smaller home, and they had 19 grandchildren. We always worked out sleeping arrangements and enjoyed the holidays with no complaints. I’m happy they lived in a home they could manage without worrying about having first-class accommodations for everyone.

MORE TIPS: Organize your home by focusing on one room at a time

I also have the option of upsizing again, if I feel the need to do so. But I won’t, since I will have more freedom living smaller.

If you’re experiencing similar reactions to the idea of moving to a smaller home, stop letting people try to talk you out of it. Everyone is doing what they want, and so can you.


Lori Firsdon will teach her seminar “Mindful Home Organizing: Take the First Step” on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Washington-Centerville Public Library, 111 W. Spring Valley Road, Centerville, OH 45458. Call the library at (937) 433-8091 for details.

About the Author