Downsizing….. What it means

Sometimes we just have to let go, feel the fear and do it anyway. When we let go it is exciting, exhilarating and liberating

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

It’s nearly completion date and that can only mean one thing….. time to start packing and sorting and selling off/giving away what I no longer need, the ‘stuff’ that is surplus to requirements.

We all have it,’stuff’ even if we don’t mean to have it, but the ‘stuff’ piles up, in our homes, our cars, our bags, everywhere.

We accumulate over the years. We change our cars, our furniture, our decor and style, and our homes.

Now I am changing my home, yet again, but this time, for a smaller home. I have lived in small before.

When I first left home at age 16, I lived in a bedsit, tiny room, shared bathroom and shared kitchen. I owned very little, as it was furnished. I owned easily removable things, like my record player and records. Some pictures and a few ornaments.

Over the years my properties have got bigger and bigger and so has the amount of stuff and furniture. This one is the biggest, the one that I am about to leave. This one I designed, on a piece of paper, handed it to an architect and then proceeded to build it. From start to finish, it was my project, my taste, my style, my design.

It has housed my husband and I and our children for 23 years. We have fostered 13 children and have 4 grand children who have all walked the floors of this house, slammed the doors, laughed and cried within the walls and played out in the garden.

The decor has been changed numerous times. The rooms have been re organised many times and we have ran a couple of businesses from it over the years.

We have accumulated a lot of stuff in the process and now I have to undo the doing, because now, we are going smaller again, but big enough to still be a down size….

Will I miss my house? yes of course. Do I feel emotional about it? certainly, but the time is right for our next adventure.

The only thing is, most of my stuff is too big for the new house, or the wrong style. I have a very eclectic taste and I have some wonderful pieces of furniture, from Edwardian to Victorian to very modern.

When we decorate rooms we always feel better about them and are pleased with the changes we made, but eventually, we tire of it, well, I do anyway, and so we change it again.

We do the same with cars and clothes and they seem much easier to shed and to move on without any major emotional distress, right?

That is what I keep telling myself now, about shedding this house, and all we have done here, with all the aforementioned people that were here with us.

I keep telling myself, ‘it is just stuff, you take the memories with you’. But I do feel a little bit attached to some of the stuff too.

Then I think, but someone else can get the pleasure out of that beautiful piece of furniture and I can get excited about sourcing a new piece for my new house. I get a buzz from finding ‘nice things’. A new project, a new beginning, a new style, a new neighbourhood. Exciting, daunting, liberating, all at the same time.

The sorting and packing and picking and choosing, now that is the real dilemma, but it has to be done and so today I made a start.

I cannot tell you how many times I changed my mind about things, but then said, just let it go, like Anna, in Frozen, time to let go.

My pictures, my paintings, my bits and bobs, they can be easily packed. My books, now that is a different matter, I would nearly need a small van for those alone, I cannot let go of them quite so easy….

The procrastination has come to an end and the ‘sorting’ has begun. It is with mixed feelings, but ultimately, happy and excited ones about the change that we are heading into as we progress to our downsizing.

Were going from 6 beds to 4 beds from 3000 square feet to 1600 square feet and from an acre garden to a quarter acre and can finally get rid of the ride on lawn mower and cut down on the mowing!

I look forward to a smaller house to clean, to paint, to decorate, to garden in and to have new walks, new views, new people to meet, new places to discover, a new place to make and call home, for our family to come and visit and enjoy with us.

So it’s full steam ahead and on the home stretch now, into completing the transaction for our new home! Watch this space……….

The place where I live….

Itchy feet again…… Perspective is everything and as we develop and grow, what we didn’t like can change to what we do like and visa versa, but does that mean we have to stay still or is it good to keep moving, keep seeking and trying new things, including places to live……

image authors own…..

‘We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.’  Anais Nin

Currently I am in the process of selling my house, which I built 23 years ago in this north Wexford village, called The Ballagh, I was 32 when I moved back to Ireland and subsequently built this house a couple of years later, on the outskirts of the village. 

‘Not for a million pound a week would I live there again’, I said, when I left this village at aged 19.

I had first moved to the Ballagh in 1979 when I was 14 years old.  Having come from a fairly large city in the UK it was a complete culture shock to me, leaving the hustle and bustle of a city life, my friends, and my independence of hopping on a bus anywhere, practically from outside my front door, for the deafening quiet of rural country living.   

The Ballagh was a very sleepy village back then, with a shop which was also a bar attached and outside a petrol pump if you needed to fill your car.  There was another pub down the road, a post office a church, a national school and a run-down community centre, with very little activity.   

Outside of the post office was the iconic green and cream public phone box and it was my link to the outside world, out beyond the Ballagh.    There was no bus service, except for the secondary school bus which passed through, twice a day, once to take us to school and the next to bring us home.

I had been known to miss the bus, on occasion, in the morning, knowing there was no other way to get to school…. 

Back then I felt totally trapped in this little village and the only way to get anywhere was to stick out my thumb and hitch a lift.  This was a complete no no in the city from whence I had come, but here, in the country, it was an acceptable and encouraged part of everyday life.

I would love it when I would go into Wexford Town, 20 minutes away.  There was more ‘life’ there down along the main street and the quay front, and the view looking out across the water filled me with joy.  There were people, lots of them, just milling around doing ordinary things, shopping, browsing and crowds of kids hanging out. There was a good vibe about the town, and I longed to be a part of it. 

Now and in the last 23 years, this little village, had expanded somewhat with new one off houses popping up everywhere and a few new housing estates.  The post office completely renovated and expanded to give us a much needed supermarket, but alas the iconic phone box has long gone.

The shop with the bar has also been expanded, well the pub part of it, and it also gained a function room, but lost the petrol pump.

 Back in the day, if it was a function room you were after, it was the Un Yoke, down the road, and everyone, from all over, flocked to it

 Now that was a great place, and at the time, it was my saviour because every week-end I got to go there and enjoy the hustle and bustle again, dance to the local bands such as Theresa and the Stars or indeed the big bands like Joe Dolan and the Wolfe Tones. 

 Sadly, it burned down many years ago, but the car park is now used for the very popular Car Boot Sale, on a Sunday morning.

The national school has been extended twice in the last 23 years to accommodate the ever expanding population and the secondary school bus still comes but twice a day.

The Ballagh may be known more specifically for its GAA than anything else as it has produced some great hurling and camogie players over the years, even winning the All Ireland back in 1996, the year before I moved back here.  It’s full title of course being Oulart the Ballagh, as our two half parish’s make a whole. 

This village is more than GAA however, it has a good community spirit.  The new and improved community centre has many uses, from running a boxing club, youth club, active retirement group and a preschool, to name but a few.

We have a lovely forest walk just outside the village at Kilbride and another up Ballyboy Hill.  We have cool named roads to walk such as the Fairy Lane and Tea Pot lane.  But do not dare to walk the Fairy Lane past midnight or you will be stuck there until Sunrise!  After that enjoy the fairy lane walk to the village and back and your steps for the day will be covered.

 Before Covid put a halt to things, our annual field day would be held in the school grounds and is always a winner and great day to be had by all, young and old, with the whole community coming together to donate, participate and confabulate.

The many fundraisers held by the local people, giving up and dedicating their time freely to help further on desperately needed projects, like improving the church, the community centre, the GAA or helping those that are sick.  

We have builders, carpenters, hairdressers, beauty therapists and bakers to name but a few of the tradesmen and craftsmanship that goes on here.  We have a community Facebook page to ask, advise and advertise anything and everything you wish.

The two pubs, Bob’s Bar and the Sawdust Inn, both family friendly and welcoming and not only can you get a good Céad Míle Fáilte there, you can eat drink and be merry.  Dance the night away to the varied entertainment they put on, and you can also do so in the knowledge that at the end of the night, if you are stuck for a lift home, the owners are only too happy to oblige.

As much as I didn’t like living in this village when I was a 14-year-old ‘blow in’ and swore, I would not I live here again, I am glad that I did, with a renewed appreciation for country living.

I raised my family here, and was happy to do so.   But now, I guess I am seeking another new life and meet other new souls, perhaps in a new state and maybe a bit more hustle and bustle. 

It just feels like my time here has come to a natural end with the end of raising my children, who are off on their own discoveries. 

I hope that the people that come to live in my house, not only appreciate and enjoy the house but the village that it is in and all it has to offer.