Too Much House

A dear friend in her early 60s complains that it takes her all day to clean her house, and afterwards she is exhausted. I feel sorry for her, but the truth is that her house is way too big for her. She raised five kids in it, and is emotionally attached to it, but the kids are grown and gone and she doesn’t need all that space anymore.

Maybe it’s just as well that I was forced to give up my big house. It held many memories and I miss it, but I love having a small house now. I remember after we made the offer on it, and I drove by it with my daughter, who hadn’t seen it yet. She exclaimed, “It’s so small!” and I responded, “That’s what I’ll say about my electric bill each month when I open it,” and that’s exactly what I do say every month.

As King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes in the Bible, there is a time for everything: the time to have a big house is when you have lots of people to live in it. Once they’ve grown, the small house becomes a great idea for so many reasons:

  • It takes me about two hours to clean my little house (except for the basement, which I clean once in a while), leaving me more time to do things I enjoy.
  • Our utility and property tax bills are small, which helps us stay debt-free. We had to sell our big house because we couldn’t afford the $7000 property tax bill anymore and didn’t want to risk losing a paid-off house to unpaid taxes.
  • I always wanted to live on acreage, but now that we’re pushing 60, I can see that our modest yard is more than enough work for us at this stage of life.
  • Whenever we have to make an improvement to the house, it costs less time and money than it would on a big house. We replaced eight of the ten windows in this house a few years ago, and that was expensive enough. The rental house we used to live in had 56 windows. Can you imagine what those would cost to replace? Yikes!

I feel sorry for my friend, but I think at some point she’ll be ready to give up her big house. Or I guess she could just hire a cleaning crew. Personally, I’ve found that downsizing is the way to go.

Secret Rooms

Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted a secret room in my house. (Seems like Nancy Drew stumbled onto a few of those, and I was a big fan of Nancy Drew novels.) The closest I ever came was when my husband built a large oak set of bookshelves that served as a room divider in our house, and he left the pillars empty inside (one side of each pillar had hidden hinges) so our kids could have fun hiding in them.

If you like secret rooms, too, check out this group of 20 different secret rooms that people have created. So cool!

Even Ringo Had to Downsize

I thought I had a hard time giving up souvenirs and precious items when I downsized; imagine what it was like for Ringo Starr to pass along the treasures he picked up in his many adventures as part of the world’s most famous musical group. How cool that the proceeds went to charity!