Downsizing... a Year On

This weekend it will be a year since we downsized to our new house. I recently found some photos of our previous home, taken by the estate agents, and I thought it would be worth sharing them with you. I certainly find them interesting to look back on. 

The house was looking its best in these photos and we were lucky to have sunny weather the day they were shot in late September 2011. Before the house went on the market there were months of preparation to make it more saleable. We had new French doors fitted, paid a decorator to paint the exterior woodwork, spent hours gardening, had new carpet fitted in our bedroom and changed a study into a fourth bedroom. 

Like many people trying to sell their house we were too busy improving it to get the full benefit of the changes we made in those last few months. All I remember are months of decorating, decluttering, hiring a skip, ebaying, car boots sales and trips to the charity shop with donations. And minutes before the estate agent arrived I remember running down the garden with a few boxes to stash in the newly emptied shed to make the house appear even tidier. It was a lot of hard work and I became a little obsessed with making it ├╝ber neat. 

We chose our estate agent partly because of the quality of their photos (note the wide-angled lens) and because they used a lot of photos in their literature. Whether it was the estate agents photo skills, our decluttering dexterity or sheer good luck, I don't know, but we sold our house in three months. It took a further agonising five months for the sale to be completed but I still think we were very lucky to sell and buy in a depressed housing market. I can totally empathise with anyone currently going through this process or considering it.

I look back on these photos of our old home with fondness but not sadness. It was our home for nearly ten years and we enjoyed giving this tired 70s house a more modern look even though we didn't get to complete it. Realising it was costing us too much in time and money was a sad moment but a life changing one. I look back and think about how little we used the separate dining room, the tattiness of the kitchen close up and the downside of owning a corner plot. These are problems it was great to walk away from.

It's been a busy first year here in our new house but one thing we've spent a lot less time on is decluttering, decorating and house maintenance. I certainly didn't have time to blog back then.

I'll leave you with these photos and thoughts. Have a great weekend.



  1. My experience of downsizing (losing nearly 1000 square feet in the process) has been very similar to yours. Part of that is also due to having moved clear across the country from where we lived in the larger house, but it mostly has to do with the houses themselves, because you spend so much time in them. I can say I am much happier in the smaller space, for a lot of reasons.

  2. Amazing. We did the exact same thing. We updated our 70's house as much as we could afford to. Purged, and sold, donated, threw out, etc until we were just about ready to put the house up for sale. Then we fixed all those little things that we never got around to fixing before, we redid the whole front entrance, staged the house and finally called the real estate agent. She took great photos and wrote up a lovely listing. The house sold in one day! We never got a chance to get used to the new look because we had to start packing. Although we'll miss our house, we won't miss all the work a big house needs (and we never used our dining room either). Happy one year!

  3. It's good to read this...although it sometimes feels like I am continually tidying and decluttering in order to keep our classic 3 bed semi with its small box bedroom feeling like it has some space in it, I think it's worth it economically and as a lifestyle choice. Plus I just don't think I could keep it that tidy even if we did want to sell!

  4. I moved into my house in 2004, and in 2009 I had all the flooring replaced. Since I literally had to move every item I owned, I went through everything and cleaned and decluttered - it was a lot like moving all over again. I have had a lot of life changes since then and am currently doing a full home inventory, while cleaning and decluttering at the same time. While I will never be a minimalist, having done two complete rounds in 4 years has made a huge difference!

  5. I'm so glad you accomplished your goal. ...life can be stressful and he more we have the heavier it is... It's just great to deal utter and open up space for new possibilities :)

  6. interesting posts, I guess sometimes we have to let go of the unfinished and move on to new things. Sounds like a positive move all in all. Heather x

  7. I love our small home. My wardrobe is a 1939 standard issue built in. So I have just over 3 feet. After reading your blog and similar, I bit the bullet and was ruthless. everything from the loft came down a fashion show lasted 2 days, I was fed up with it in the end. And 2 boxes I didn't even open.

    I have loved looking at all your lovely space. And am hoping that I can keep the momentum. thanks for the inspiration. I think the cancer research shop would like to shake your hand!

  8. Hi Claire! I think you were brave to admit this house was no longer serving you and your family, and then to do all the work involved in decluttering, redecorating and selling. It's surely an inspiration to me :)


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