Embracing the midlife downsize

Making the transition to apartment living

We did it! It’s two weeks since we moved from a large family home in the suburbs, to an inner-city apartment on the 25th floor with beautiful river views.

Two years ago, we sold our large home and downsized to a more modest rental. You can read about here in Too Much of a Good Thing. All of our kids were still living at home, but they had finished school. We had to get rid of a lot of furniture to make that transition. We needed two moving trucks to get us out of that home, a large one and a small one, and both were full to the brink. After we moved all of the furniture that we wanted to keep in our new home into position we had a double garage full of the left overs. We had a second-hand furniture dealer come around with a truck and a check book and take the excess away. We haven’t ever missed it.

This time we culled before the move. Everything we kept had to be brought up the lift, so we needed to be sure. We had the benefit of a few weeks between when we signed the lease and moving day, so we went through and sold, donated and disposed of the excess once again.

In the end it was much easier than we thought. We hired a skip bin to sit in the front yard for a few days while we went around the house, looking for things to throw away. When the bin was collected, it was less than a third full. 

This time when we moved we only needed one truck the size of the small truck we needed two years ago. It took one day to pack and load the truck, and one day to unload and unpack. By the time we’d been in our new apartment for 24 hours every last box was empty. 

We moved from our suburban family home to an apartment in the city, and it's like living in a vacation. #midlife #apartmentliving #downsize #seasons

We were used to getting rid of stuff

I remember, years ago, when I began the process of simplifying and decluttering. It used to take me hours of sorting, remembering, deciding… It was exhausting! I finished the day emotionally drained, my heart weary from the process of letting go. I grieved every blurry photo and broken toy. I look back now and feel sorry for that person.

 ·      I have learned over time that I can have memories without possessions. It doesn’t take a lot of reminders to trigger beautiful memories.

·      I have learned that I rarely regret throwing anything away. 

·      I have learned to slow down the accumulation. It’s okay not to buy new stuff. I can admire things in shops and not feel like I want to purchase it for myself.

·      I have learned that it’s okay to miss something, and not want it back. 

This is a game changer! The accumulation of possessions ties us to our past and prevents us from stepping into what is ahead. We can’t embrace the next season fully while we are still nurturing things that are no longer useful from our past.

Create a life full of the things and people you love. Embrace your season; live with intention; follow your dreams! #midlife #downsize #vacation #intentionallife


Seasons change, and that’s okay

It was a big decision to move from a traditional family home into an apartment but living in a big house with empty bedrooms didn’t suit me. We spent six months touring apartments, staying in Airbnb to try out a different neighbourhood, visiting friends who had made the move to inner-city living. We did a lot of research, and a lot of dreaming. We made the decision to move forward and embrace the new season. 

We have our youngest son still living at home with us, and he was up for the change as well. We all work hard and enjoy our jobs; retirement is not on the radar. We wanted to enjoy each day and make the most of what this season offers, right now.

We had lots of conversations about what we valued, what our priorities were, and what we dreamed of. These are good conversations to have! 

Then we put in the work. Murray would look at apartments in his lunch breaks, and we spent countless Saturdays over a six-month period attending inspection after inspection. These months really helped us hone our priority list, and we were pretty convinced that the perfect apartment didn’t exist, and we would have to compromise on something. 

Then God showed up with a spectacular space, with panoramic views of our beautiful city river, walking distance to my husband’s work, and priced below its value. We signed a two-year lease, and live in this amazing blessing, pinching ourselves every time we wake up in the morning or come home from work in the evening. We are living in a gift.

The last month has been exhausting and exhilarating. I am certainly tired, and glad that the hardest part of the transition is over. Even the simplest tasks take a lot of brain power after such a big change. We are still working out how it all works; even grocery shopping has become an adventure! But I’m so glad that we have taken the big step, moving forward.

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
— Hebrews 12:1

Change is hard work. It takes a lot of effort to do things differently, and sometimes we convince ourselves that it isn’t worth it. Here is a post I wrote with a heavy heart last time we moved, Making Peace with Change. But it’s good to ask the questions. What do you value? What do you dream of? What are you holding onto from your past that is preventing you from fully experiencing your future? Does God have something better for you, but He can’t give it to you until you open your hands from the grip you have on your past?

We may go back to living in a traditional family home one day. There may be things that we miss about owning our own home and living on the ground, but for now, we will embrace the adventure of this season. We have truly created a life we don’t need to take a vacation from right now, and we will enjoy each day. 102 weeks to go…