The Big, Huge, Enormous, Gargantuan and Mighty Downsize

603687_3My darling husband and I have embarked on quite possibly the most daunting and challenging mission of our nearly quarter-century together. We are selling our house.

I admit that I am the galvanizing force in this adventure. I have been dropping subtle hints about downsizing and moving into a smaller place for a bit. Our oldest son James graduated from college, spent a year in Korea, and now is living at his own place. Our youngest son, Charlie is a sophomore in high school and began receiving college brochures for a couple of years. It was the summer before Charlie’s freshman year when he was away at camp and James was in Korea that I realized we were in a huge house that would too-soon be inhabited by just me, my husband and our two crazy terriers.

I believe I announced the night of my realization as I held a tear-stained Bard brochure that we had to move to a smaller place…and I can’t tell you how many times I get the Oh-my-God-she’s-insane look when I make my announcements.

We bought that magnificent house about 5 years ago. It was on the market for a while thanks to the housing market downturn, and the price was right. We had been living in apartments for our entire lives together (with the exception of a winter cottage rental-and that’s a whole different story). Our living situation didn’t prompt the us–the apartment is beautiful, we were the landlords and lived there quite happily for over seven years.

My Father's House by Will Barnet ca. 1972

My Father’s House by Will Barnet ca. 1992

I think we were ready to live in our own home but in truth, the timing was way off. Many memories of our boys growing-up were at our apartment. We bought the big house when both my husband and I were working full-time in very demanding jobs and I felt like we shifted all our stuff into a much larger place and went but were barely home. Our weekends were occupied with house projects, yard work, beekeeping and most notably, filling up the empty rooms.

Indeed, nature hates a vacuum. And my nature apparently couldn’t abide by any space with very little crap in it therefore in 5 short years, all of our earthly possessions that adequately filled six rooms doubled to top off twelve.

January 2013. We decided it was time. Make that my constant yammering, sighs, random announcements both day and night, conversation openers and conversation enders and quite possibly some sleep deprivation tactics brought us to the decision to sell. It was a joyful moment…for about a moment. Then the reality hit: we had much to do to sell this house.

We’ve been packing, donating, selling, tossing and giving away for almost five months. When we met with our real estate agent in February with the goal to put it on the market in March, we discussed staging for the Open House. He believed April or May was more realistic. As I was delirious at that time, I was absolutely certain the only month we should put our giant house on the market was March. It had to be March, it couldn’t be later –it had taken the previous owners almost three years to sell it. We couldn’t wait!

I hadn’t considered the drought of available houses since the real estate downturn. I was certain it would take months to sell a huge house–June or July when families with kids were done with school and ready to move. Our open house was March 17th–and who goes to an open house on St. Patrick’s Day in this area? Evidently over thirty people. People who made offers and it was under agreement on March 18th.

The relief of actually selling when I was so certain it would take months was incredible. The rapidity of the sale made me giddy. It was an enormous weight removed. We did it, we’re heading back to our old place, who cares if it’s an apartment, it’s home.

About EF Sweetman

bees, baseball, beverly, ma, culture, manners, society, writing
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8 Responses to The Big, Huge, Enormous, Gargantuan and Mighty Downsize

  1. I’m with ya–have been purging, packing & polishing for weeks to get our house ready. It goes on the market tomorrow, and I’ve never been more exhausted! Congrats on your quick sale!

  2. chlost says:

    Good luck on your move! I hate to move, but I have started the “We need to move to a smaller house” Campaign over the last year or so. No progress yet. Every time I bring it up, my husband points out that with every holiday or special occasion, our house is filled to capacity with children, dogs, grandchildren, spouses and significant others. True, and I love the chaos as well. But 95% of the time, it is just the two of us in a way too big place. We bought our place after it had been on the market for about 2 years. Maybe-hopefully-when we do finally decide to sell, we will be as lucky as you.

    • EF Sweetman says:

      I don’t know if the incentive would be there if we had the big family holidays year-after-year, chlost, I think memories make the house. I’ll bet your kids say, “you can’t move!!!” If you ever mention it!

  3. aimee cornell says:

    Love your post, Liz! Pierce Avenue will always be my “HOME” as well. so many memories. It was the beginning of it all…where we married, had our two children. We also had the best landlords ever. We will know where to find you. :)

  4. Good job getting rid of the excess stuff. I’ve had longer to accumulate and suffer much from being overly meticulous. Congrats on your sale, I hope to get that far one day soon.

    • EF Sweetman says:

      It’s an enormous process–sometimes painful but so cathartic! I think our human nature begs us to pile up when we have space, no matter how big or small. Thanks for writing.

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