Sylvia and I recently installed new hardwood floors in our entire home. Bedrooms, closets, kitchen, hallway, etc. Everywhere except the laundry room and 2 bathrooms, which received new tile the month before. The process of doing this in an occupied home required a packing and moving of stuff not dissimilar to actually moving. Every part of the home had to be emptied out completely, just not all at once. So we migrated piles of stuff from one part of the house to the other as the new floors were installed. Meanwhile, we lived in a semi-construction zone for 10 days.
I learned a lot about wood flooring and the install process, but this article is about our stuff. I heard myself say at some point, while carting boxes out to the garage, and will now quote myself, “how is it possible that people who have gotten rid of so much stuff still have so much stuff?!”
No joke, our living space over the last 4 homes in 12 years looks like a bell curve. We’ve gone from 2,000 sqft to 3,700 to 3,300 and now down to 1,800 square feet. During each move, we’ve parted ways with what seemed like massive amounts of stuff. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of moving. The cleansing and thinning out of the material barnacles that cling to us as we live life. We could fill a semi trailer with all the stuff we’ve given to Goodwill over the years. Especially on this last move going from 3,300 sqft down to 1,800.
Yet, here I am trying to move stuff out of the way for new floors and I just can’t believe we still have too much. How do people who’ve unloaded so much still have too much? By only getting rid of the easy stuff. Now it’s down to the emotional stuff, and that’s harder. Way harder.
The Crossland Family has Super-Down-Sized from our nice, big, 2-year old custom home in Oak Hill to a crappy old 1970s house in Westlake. Now Me, Sylvia and our two teenagers are “crammed in” to an 1859 sqft rancher compared to the former 3316 sqft home, and 3701 sqft in the home prior to that.
This new house has a bad sewer line (and slow flushing commodes), aluminum wiring, former slab repairs, cracked sidewalk leading to the front door, termites, small secondary bedrooms, a giant dead tree in back, leaking sprinkler system, old worn out carpet (layered on top, believe it or not, of an older worn out carpet underneath), and a punch list of needed repairs and fix-up things at least 20 items long and growing daily. I’ve had a parade of vendors in and out of the house since we moved in two weeks ago and more on the way. This place was a rental home for 20+ years. I couldn’t move a renter into a house like this without hearing an earful of complaints, but we did it ourselves. And we couldn’t be happier with our new home. We absolutely love it.
Why are we so elated about our move into this dump? Location, first and foremost. More on that in a minute. But, also, we’ve grown weary of maintaining nice big houses on acreage and the accompanying expenses of that lifestyle. I mowed my own lawn 2 days ago for the first time since 1999 after me and my new neighbor spent an hour working on the old mower, taking apart and cleaning the carburetor, and getting it running.
I don’t need lawn service once a week anymore. We don’t need maids to come keep everything clean and shiny every 2 weeks. We don’t need a professional window washer to clean gigantic picture windows twice a year. This new house has 1 A/C filter to keep changed, the old one had 5 filters and I needed a 10ft step ladder to get to them all because of the nice high ceilings we had. The old house had high-end fussy appliances that were expensive to repair. This house has Plain Jane appliances that work surprisingly well, especially the black dishwasher that doesn’t match our white gas range and stainless fridge, all tucked nicely underneath a fabulously 70s seven foot two inch kitchen ceiling with yellowing plastic covers over the fluorescent lights. The new house has 32 light bulbs, the old house had over 100 light bulbs. You get the point. To sum up the lifestyle change in one word, I’d have say I feel “unburdened“.
But our primary motivation in leaving our beloved Oak Hill was location, getting closer back in to the core of Austin and living in a home from which we can walk places and better enjoy the Austin lifestyle.
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