Downsizing

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  #1  
Old 07-17-2007, 03:50 PM
nanci2539 nanci2539 is offline
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Default Downsizing

For you folks who live in TV; can you tell me how it was if you downsized from a larger home to a Villages home.

We live in Chicago (far west subrubs) in a 4000 sq foot home; three floors with a finished basement. It's very elegant and decorated professionally. I have lovely property with mature landscaping, etc. I love to garden so spend a lot of time creating flower gardens in back.

Anyway, we love TV and seriously want to retire there within a year or so. We have family and grandchildren who live close to us and that alone is a challenge moving away from them (have others struggled with this - my grandchildren are 7, 6 and 1)

For those who have downsized considerably, can you tell me your experience, both good and bad. I'm having nightmares about my stuff! We have over nine rooms of furniture, most of it I love but it's not compatible with FLA living - my pieces are heavy and somewhat ornate. Logically, I know I will need to sell or give away a lot of furniture, not take five sets of dishes or three sets of knives, etc.

Can you share some useful tips or experiences to make the transition bearable! I know we're buying a life style but I feel a home is important too. We're thinking of downsizing to around 2,200 sq feet; a designer home. The premiers are out of our price range.
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2007, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

Nanci2539, I empathize, and feel your pain! I had to make those decisions also, as I had antiques, and too many things. I only brought some of them, mostly the ones passed down from my grandparents. Some say that most everyone gets rid of all their antiques before moving here, but I couldn't bear to do it, and tried to fit the ones I brought into a lighter, more casual scheme. I think I've done ok, but it wasn't easy. One regret is I got a 2 BR 2 BA designer, but should've gotten a 3 BR. I need more space, so may have to trade up to a 3 BR, but not looking forward to moving again!

Good luck with your decisions!

P.S. I don't really miss most of the things I parted with. I miss my friends and neighborhood in VA, but love it here in happyland!
I especially don't miss the snow and icy windshields!
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Old 07-17-2007, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

Take rememberance pictures and make a photo album. You will find there are times whether you love or dislike TV that the memories will still be there. Take a few of your most favorite and sentimental pieces and take them with you to "bring your history with you".

I love looking back at previous houses and remembering the good times. Remember that a smaller house will free you to actually do more with your life than maintain a 4000 foot house. You will have more time to be "grandparents" to the grandkids and what could be better?

I am continuing to downsize with every house.
  #4  
Old 07-17-2007, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

This was a big chore of us as well. We sold or gifted many antiques because they would not fit into our new life style. We too brought a few choice/favorate things. Initially, we didn't think we could ever live without our "stuff" but we are just too busy in TV to even miss the things we thought we cherished.

On the Garden question, yes there will be room to plant but the things that grew up north might not work so well in FL. gardening is a new learning curve here.
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Old 07-17-2007, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

I miss my two acres, my bass pond and my workshop. We had an auction and it was devastating. We love our new home in the Villages and I have since forgotten abut my old life.
  #6  
Old 07-17-2007, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

Down-sizing is tough but not all that bad. We too went from about 4000 sq. ft. to a 2 br villa. Give as much of the good stuff to the kids and other relatives. After that effort, the only thing remaining is to sell and that could be a little heart wrenching but absolutely necessary. We did put some stuff into storage to move at a later date after we've had some time to think and re-group which worked out well. But our situation was greatly accelerated....we had an offer on our home in Atlanta after being on the market for ONE day. If you're looking at a 2,200 sq. ft. home here, it shouldn't be too bad. We were able to fit-in most all of our nice pieces comfortably....which frankly, surprised me. Try sketching out your new floor plan and furniture placement on some graph paper with as much accuracy to dimensions as possible.....you'll be surprised too. The move is definitely worth it!
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  #7  
Old 07-17-2007, 10:05 PM
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Default Advice From Another Ex-Chicagoan

We moved from Riverwoods on the North Shore from a similar-sized house as yours. Your description of your "stuff" and what you like to do sounded like an echo of our situation. Here are a few tips I'd recommend...
  • Pick out the model that you intend to buy in The Villages and carefully lay out the furniture you'd like in each room. What's left uneeded in your new home has to go somewhere, I'm afraid.

  • If your furnishings in Chicago are "heavy and ornate", make sure that you really want that look in your new semi-tropical home in The Villages. If you can't picture dark, heavy and ornate furniture here, then unfortunately maybe all your "northern" furniture has to go and you'll need to refurnish here.

  • Get rid of most of your clothes. We live in casual clothes, shorts, and maybe a light jacket down here. You might want one dress-up outfit or a suit for special occasions here. Bring one coat for any winter trips north. Otherwise, you will seldom need it. Be very careful. The closets in almost all Florida homes are a fraction of the size you're used to in a big house up north. And there's no basement for the overflow!
  • Winnow down the contents of your garage up north. Even if you buy a model with a stretched garage here, two cars and a golf cart will fill it pretty well. You might look for a Villages house with a golf cart garage just for the extra space.

  • Consider what you think you might want to store in an attic or garage down here. Don't forget that Florida garages and attics get very hot and very humid.

  • There are lots of other tips, but the best story is what happened when the florist delivered a flower arrangement sent by our son a day or so after we moved in. The delivery driver was laughing as we opened the door. He said, "Now you'll need to do what everyone else who moves from up north does." "What's that?", I asked. "Find some air-conditioned storage space for the stuff you don't have room for.", he answered. "And then, after you get sick of paying the storage bills after a year or so, you'll get rid of all the stuff you should never have moved down here in the first place." He was sooo right!

All I can tell you is that, even though we thought we had done a pretty good job of getting rid of "stuff" before we moved, we didn't get rid of anywhere near enough.
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  #8  
Old 07-18-2007, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: Downsizing

We went from 3,000sf to 1,500sf and love it. Still have the house up north but plan on selling it turnkey when it goes on the market. The house in TV is already furnished in an FLA style and none of the furniture up north would look good or fit well. Except for some smaller memorabilia type items don't plan on moving anything to FLA.
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Old 07-18-2007, 08:51 AM
nanci2539 nanci2539 is offline
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Default Re: Downsizing

What a nice bunch of people you are! Thanks so much for responding. I figured that I would be giving up a lot of the furniture I now have. Most of it just won't work. I can take a lot of the accent pieces but the big furniture will have to go. Your posts were very helpful.

Now about the grandkids! I have two grandsons, 6 and 1 and a granddaughter who will turn 7 next week. My son nd his family live a mile one way,my daughter and her family live a mile the other way!

To say that I see them every day would not be true - I work full time so during the week, I seldom see them. They are pretty busy with their own lives and as they get older, my grandkids are off to their different activities. Last night it was my granddaughter's swim meet and my grandson's T ball game! I went to both and they ended up stopping in after the games for snacks! So, we probably visit and see each other weekly but not daily.

I am pretty close to my daughter and son. My daughter feels it's the best move for us because we are originally from Boston and we left our friends there when we moved to Illinois ten years ago. My son on the other hand is struggling with the family thing and leaving the grandkids. We don't talk about it much with him.

So, like many people who retire and move; what are the tips for getting past the "guilt" and separation from family.

Again, thanks for your posts - this is a nice friendly board!
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  #10  
Old 07-18-2007, 10:19 AM
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Default Re: Downsizing

Your daughter sounds level headed and concerned with your best interests,your son on the other hand may be concerned with losing his babysitters more than his parents.
  #11  
Old 07-18-2007, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

We went from a four bedrooom, two story house to a courtyard villa with two bedrooms. We thought we had downsized before we moved. NO WAY!!!! When we got here, we still had excess furniture so we donated it to Habitat for Humanity who sell it in their shops to make money to build homes for those in the program.

I wish I hadn't bought some of my oak furniture only two years before we retired. I would have given it away and just gotten Florida style things but it cost too much and was too new.

Do the best you can to see if your kids or other relatives are interested in those pieces that you love and want someone to cherish. Everything else, donate or bring to a consignment store. Come here with as little as possible. That's the advice I have given everyone.

Now a lot will depend on the size home you are buying. If you go into a designer with three bedrooms, you won't have as much downsizing as you would in a two bedroom villa or ranch.

As for the grandkids, children LOVE to visit here. Just think on their Winter break they can visit you and get to Disney as well. Really though, kids absolutely love to visit grandparents here.

Villages Kahuna gives you some excellent tips!

Best of luck.
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  #12  
Old 07-18-2007, 06:19 PM
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Default Grandkids And The Move To The Villages

Yeah, leaving the grandchildren is tough. Particularly in that they live so close. But I can affirm that as they grow older, their lives are full of activities, leaving less time for Grandma and Grandpa. But two things are for certain...
  • The grandchildren LOVE DisneyWorld and will visit as often as you'll have them. I've also been told by some friends that as they get into their teen-age years, they love all the sports activities at The Villages.
  • Secondly, air fares to Chicago from Orlando are pretty cheap if you shop online in advance (try Kayak.com). We're able to travel to Chicago often for total fares for both of us of between $225-400. There's a bus from The Villages to the airport, but it's pricey. The long term parking at Orlando is quite attractive--$6-8 a day.

This year we're going north for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a wedding in January. The kids are coming down again this year for Spring Break. Then, there's the telephone.

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Old 07-18-2007, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

We will be downsizing for the 3rd time on this move to TV in the fall.On the advise of a friend living in TV I am taking very little in the furniture department. Only my most favorite pieces and some family pieces that I refuse to part with. I will incorporate them into the Florida style somehow.

I know how you feel about leaving the grandchildren. My son is very quiet and we don't speak of it much. I will be leaving two boys 7 and 2. There Mom, my daughter-in-law ,is very excited for us and happy about visiting and escaping the New England winters to do so. My daughter , mother of 2 girls, 5 and 6 is thrilled. She lives in North Carolina and is glad to have us "closer".

So I have thrown myself into the process and I know it will be the right move for us.
Can't wait to be an official Villager

;D
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:00 AM
nanci2539 nanci2539 is offline
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Default Re: Downsizing

I feel blessed to find this board! There is so much good information and trust me, it helps to share concerns with other who have gone through the same issues.

Babysitting is not part of my family not happy about us moving - I do sit for the kids but it's not frequent. This Sat., I'm taking my granddaugher to the American Girl Doll store. For lunch and shopping. It's her 7th birthday and it's grandma's treat. I have as much fun as she does so it's these little things I think about.

But I do agree that as they get older and more involved with friends and activities, it's a quick hug and off they go. When I mentioned moving to my granddaughter, she said "but grandma, you can't move and leave me!!" Now if that didn't bring tears to my heart, nothing will. I just have visions of them forgetting what grandma is in their lives. Of course, my family won't let that happen but you know the saying; "out of sight, out of mind!!!". I'm over-reacting aren't I??????

My hubby has a different outlook - sure he will miss them but he feels we have to do what is best for our retirement and living in a big house in IL is not going to work financially when we retire.

For those of you from Chicago, do I dare mention real estate taxes!

I wish I could go poof and I'm there and this is behind me!

I'm going to be posting other questions so please don't get tired of me - yet!
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:36 PM
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Default Re: Downsizing

This is such a good site. Every day I get more and more of my questions answered. We have 9 grandchildren who are around us all the time. Friday night is pizza night at Mom-mom and Pop-pops and we never know just how many will be here. Some of ours are still young and I too am so afraid they won't remember who we are. Our kids, the 5 of them who have the children, tell us don't worry they'll be here to visit. It still is a very difficult transition. An agent has been to our house and tells us to put it on the market so that it is sold by the time we are ready to go. We are anticipating the move in early 2008. I guess I have to tell my boss soon that I'm retiring. I'll do that after our August visit to see how hot it is in TV. This makes the final season visit and the next time it will be to buy. Grandkids do have quite a hold on your heart when you see them frequently. Thanks for the talk on what to bring. I'm ready to bring just a few items and go light for Florida.
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