I had a (rather wealthy) friend walk into my house once and remark “what a cute little place!”
Which surprised me, because I’ve got 10 rooms and a full basement and “little” is not the term that comes to mind when I’m dusting them.
With my recent, ahem, lifestyle change (husband decided he needed “spark,” whatever that is, and moved out), and both kids gone (ish), I find myself with far more rooms than I need.
So I downsized. Or rather, downstaired.
My house is essentially a really nice one-story house that had three bedrooms, a bath and attic storage added on the second floor. We’ve never been entirely sure whether the second floor is original or not, as the first floor would easily fit a family of four or five. As my son put it, my first floor is a really awesome apartment.
I’ve spent the past month moving myself into it.
I now have a 6-room apartment: living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, office, and studio. (Office for my consulting business, and the studio for sewing and art.) It’s still a luxurious amount of space for one person.
Most of the “renovation” has involved just moving furniture downstairs, but this brings its own needs. A lot of the furniture left with Wei, so there are bare spots on the walls. Or actually, shadows on the walls, where pictures have been hanging for 30 years. So there’s been a fair amount of patching and painting. Some of it has been less “renovation” and more “renewal” like getting rid of books and clothes and things that you store when you have the space, but that you really don’t need. I’ve been applying the “if I didn’t know I had it, I don’t really need it” rule.
Upstairs there’s now a second, rather charming “inlaw” apartment– Living/Dining room, bedroom, office, full bath and tons of closet space, and even a half-sized fridge which I’ve been using for my home-preserves. My daughter is using it right now (that’s the “ish” in the the kids are gone), but I’m thinking of renting it to a grad student or intern.
When you live in a space for a long time, you grow tentacles. Even for me, who does not tend to accumulate clutter, a lot accumulates over 30 years in a space. When you remove stuff you’ve had for a long time, it’s not that you’re getting rid of things you need; it’s that you’re relinquishing myths– the myth that you will fit into your honeymoon suit again, that your daughter will want the baby furniture eventually, that you can furnish your kids apartments from the detritus of your life, that you’ll finally sell all that art you made in your twenties.
There’s an awesome garage sale in my near future.