Category Archives: Downsizing

What’s the Plan?

Downsizing continues here at Common Sense for Seniors headquarters. Yesterday, in the latest departure, our kayaks, nestled on their little trailer, went out the driveway. They were headed over to the Finger Lakes Museum, which has an active paddle program.

So where is all this headed? Will we end up living in an empty house? (Still a ways to go on that one.)  What’s the plan?

We do in fact have a plan. We are going to purchase a home in Reston, Virginia, which will eventually become our permanent residence. We’ll keep our house in the Finger Lakes for a while, and hope we can visit back here for years to come. But time marches on, the moving finger writes, and time waits for no man or woman.  Over the long term, life in the country, which we love, will simply no longer be possible.

Reston has many advantages — public transportation, for one. Buses run throughout the community and connect up with the Washington Metro. It’s possible to call a taxi or summon an Uber driver. Doctors and a large hospital are minutes away. Homes can be found that are within walking distance of a supermarket and restaurants. Reston has a network of walking paths and swimming pools that will be great for exercise. We know our way around, since we lived there before we retired and kept a small condo afterward. Most important, our daughters and their families, including our grandchildren, are nearby.

Of course, there are disadvantages too. One level living is probably not going to be possible. Since land is expensive in this “urban suburb,” builders simply don’t construct many one-level homes, so we’ll almost certainly be living in a town house. We’re looking for one with a manageable stairway. We’re not too sure about the summertime heat in Virginia either, after years of enjoying Finger Lakes summers.  We’ll have to be careful of the traffic, whether we’re driving or walking. A senior was recently killed in Reston in a hit and run.

It’s not perfect in every way, but that’s the plan. We hope we can pull it off. There are all sorts of arrangements to be made, as we’re learning. Right now we’re focused on getting the little condo transferred to its new owner. After that, we’ll have to actually find the new home we’ve been thinking about. We’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, we’d love to hear from readers about the living arrangements they’re devising for their senior years.



Our Sofa’s Gone!

Going ...

Going …

Talk about downsizing!


Going ...

Going …







A lovely young couple who had seen it during  our yard sale made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. The sofa was going to go eventually. Why not now?






We kind of like the spare look. Come visit us and stand around.

The Times They are A-changing

Dear Readers,

We are back from a week in Virginia and an even longer absence from this site. We have, however, not been idle. Much happens in these voids.  I want to share with you the most recent happening and decision.

As you have probably sensed from our earlier posts, we believe that decisions should be made throughout our lifetimes, but most especially at times of significant change or in anticipation of same. We have written about some of them, including becoming aware of when we are no longer able to maintain a large house and grounds; when we are not able to assure our personal safety; when we are not able to account for and control our personal affairs; when we become an inconvenience to our family members who love us and want to be present for us; and, when life gives us another reason to review our situation.

Ray and I love every minute of our lives in our truly privileged place. I and a dear friend have for years shared our thrill that we wake up every morning to the most incredible views and will never take them for granted. Whenever I return from places far or near, this feeling is reinforced. I love where we are. It is a place to be cherished forever.

In recent visits to family we have come to recognize that our older grandchild will be off to college next year and the younger is so engaged in activities that it will be difficult for them to visit us here. Add to that the fact that their parents have full-time jobs and other commitments that can take them away for periods of time. Younger daughter and son-in-law are no longer in the immediate area of our condo, so we have to travel farther to be with them. Our condo is not adequate to host the entire clan.

Our grandchildren were born in Washington, DC (which is where our second daughter was born, by the way) and we lived in suburban Virginia for 30 years. Despite a brief hiatus to Africa, the older child was in daily reach of us and the younger one was until we abandoned them both at ages 9 and 7. (That’s a story for another day.) It was a mile  down the road. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Well, the short story is that we want to experience as much time as possible with these children and their children.  We are now six and a half to seven hours away from the first two. From here, we are eight to ten hours from the younger ones. We are certain that we need to be closer.

So, (the word usage that the grammar/language mavens voted to remove from the language this past year) we are selling our small apartment in Virginia and will be looking for a larger place that can accommodate all the family. We want to be able to gather in the family again, as we did for twenty plus years, and to be close enough to enjoy and visit them all, as we did for so many years past.

The condo is on the market; we have a contract; and, we are working toward finalizing it. Next step will be to find that next gathering place. We live in anticipation.






Ready to open

Ready to open

We are reporting the results of the yard sale, which finished on Saturday. We’re a little late, but that’s because we’re still recovering from being on-duty and in the sun for two days during the sale itself, and a bit worn out from the time and work invested in getting to that point. A lot of lessons learned, but also many points of pleasure.

Some observations: we were able to make a good number of folks happy when they bought things that we no longer need. We were able to let go of dishes, tools, linens, things for the garden, and even some plain old iron stakes that have either lingered in our basement and garage since our move here more than eight years ago, or were bought and no longer needed. We are relieved, and would recommend that others contemplate doing the same. But we still have items that we’re prepared to pass on, but were not snapped up. Furniture seems like a particular drag on the market.

No one wanted Pop's old cradle, circa 1904

No one wanted Pop’s old cradle, circa 1870’s.

Maybe other folks are as full up as we are. What next? Well, some will go on Craig’s List or possibly be donated.

In the case of a few items that we steeled ourselves to let go,  we’ll be asking ourselves if we really meant it. That English rya rug from the 1970s is really pretty attractive even now. Maybe that small easy chair can be re-upholstered and used in our next place.

At the last minute, Ray pulled Bunrab and Mr. Sneggles, his creations, out of the sale

At the last minute, Ray pulled Bunrab and Mr. Sneggles, his creations, out of the sale

Money is not a factor in a yard sale. It is a question of deciding what matters and what is needed and what we should let go of. Seeing others appreciate the things that we have harbored for untold years makes us happy. We were delighted to have them claimed.

Apart from the sentiments that accompanied putting our “stuff” out there for all the world to see, we were delighted by the opportunity to engage with the folks who stopped by. So many stories, so many connections. Neighbors dropped by to share with us their time on the Bluff, their recollections of our house being built, and how much history we all share. We hadn’t realized that a yard sale can be such a pleasant social occasion.

This last observation is a true departure from previous yard sales that we and our family members held in years past in Virginia. Collectively, back in those days, we all finally agreed that the effort was not worth it, but not because of the financial results. Mostly, it had to do with prospective customers offering insulting prices and being brusque and feeling somehow entitled to take away our dish, toy, tool, whatever at the price of twenty-five cents.

We’ll keep you advised of how we deal with the remaining stuff.







Getting There

IMG_1965It’s D-Day minus two. Our signs have been appearing on the Bluff, and the ad is in the local paper plus Craig’s List and our local Yates County online yard sale site. There is a lot of competition, if we should care to term it that, but I think that there is a synergism in having a lot of offerings for folks. The weather bodes rather well, so we take heart.

We have culled, once again, the stuff. Who knew how much we have harbored these past eight years? And that does not take into account the stuff that we have accumulated just being here. It takes so little to get to this point and a lot of discipline to rid of ourselves of the stuff. Too many memories; too many plans.

What have we discovered that we can live without and are ready to part with? Well, there’s the family furniture which no one has claimed, as we have mentioned before. Then there are the duplicates. We really do not need two crock pots even if they are of different sizes. One used to go Ray’s office holiday party and the other was acquired in a misbegotten belief that we would join the ranks of the slow cookers. We did not need to become slow cookers; we are retired and can decide what to cook and eat whenever. Anyways, how much time do we have left that we should consider slow-cooking? Heck, we don’t need even one crockpot.

Apart from the decision involved in deciding to have a yard sale, there is the physical energy and time needed to pull the stuff out and haul it to a point where it can be “showcased.” Best that we do it now as we are not likely to get great new infusions of strength and endurance.  So we are feeling good about this latest enterprise.

As I have said,  we’ll keep you informed.


Getting Serious

We have talked a good game for some time  now regarding our stuff. The books, some of them, have gone off to the library. Our clothes closets have been stripped and the excess donated to the local Once Again Shoppe.  Our files and who knows what paper have been taken to the shredder. And, we sent a good amount of our travel treasures and some household items to our church’s recent treasures and yard sale, where the total receipts amounted to a little more than $1800 for the missions of the church (certainly not all of that realized from our “stuff.”)

We have shown you in previous posts the state of our basement. (I will not direct you to that picture; you’ll have to find it for yourself. It’s too embarrassing.) With few excuses remaining, we have taken on more of our stuff. We are having a yard sale this coming Friday and Saturday.

When we were last with our daughters, we put out the ultimate ultimatum asking what they might want. A lot of silence, despite our having thought that we should keep some of the family antiques, just in case. So we have moved ahead.

How to separate the gold from the dross?  Well, one thing that we have learned since selling the previous house more than eight years ago is that all of the stuff that our/your parents visited upon us/you as priceless and historic is, for the most part, just not so.  This was confirmed by a visit to two local auction houses. We know we don’t have that half million dollar table, desk, bureau or chest that will be discovered on Antiques Roadshow.

We go live this Friday. By whatever we can reduce our cache of stuff, I will consider it progress. We’ll  keep you informed.







Much to my surprise, I experienced atrial fibrillation — a rapid and quite disturbing heart beat —  on July 4, while we were visiting our condo in Virginia. It happened during my morning jog, but exercise might not have been the cause. Risk factors include age, heredity, caffeine, too much wine, and even Lyme disease. Anyway, it was off to the emergency room for me, where they restored my heart’s normal rhythm with medication.

Now I’m in for lots of examinations and tests. I’ve already had one excellent consultation in Virginia. Soon, I’ll be wearing something called a Holter monitor and undergoing an echo electro-cardiagram.

The internet is helpful in assuring me that this condition is “common,” and indeed, as I mention it to folks, I find that many have had it.

But an experience like this makes a senior think. This aging thing cannot be ignored. I don’t know what life style changes the docs will mandate when my tests are done, but I’m sure there will be some. I’m expecting a stern lecture on moderation in all things.

The experience has convinced me that the downsizing path we’re following is the right one. We need less stuff and a smaller house. And best if it’s near our protective tribe, not to mention a major medical facility.

Does Ray Have the Necessary Downsizing Skills?

Selling our condo in Virginia is part of our downsizing plan. But first, we need to put it in shape.

20160701_132656 (1)The last owner had a big TV over the fireplace, and its removal left some holes, large and small. We’ve been covering the ugliness with a picture for years, but now the time has come to deal with it.

Will Ray have the skills to deal with the situation? 20160701_133150 (1)

Or will he have to call in the professionals?