Empty nesters downsizing

roses4krisSeptember 21, 2008

If you're an empty nester who has downsized, how did you feel about leaving your family home? How did your kids react? My husband and I could live in a much smaller home but I'm reluctant to leave the last "home" that my kids knew. Any thoughts or advice? Thanks.

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I would think that at this point the kids are going to be much more into their own new places and not care a whole lot about the homestead... just their parents, who they will always miss ('specially the laundry room, the kitchen, you know what I mean :-).

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 4:29PM
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roses--I cried when my Mom sold my childhood home--and I was pushing 30 at the time. I had dreams about that home for well over two years after she sold it--I kept dreaming that I was in the house at night, going through the rooms, and I'd turn around and the new family would be standing there in their pajamas!

However, that being said, I also knew that selling that home was the best thing for my Mom, and I was happy for her. I got over the sale of the home in time.

If anything, my reaction to the sale of my childhood home was a compliment to my mother. I was upset that the house was sold because it was a symbol of a very happy childhood.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 5:47PM
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Not having any kids, I can't speak from experience. But, the old saying is this, 'home is where your heart is', and I'm sure your kids will feel right at home wherever you and your DH decide to hang your hat. I don't think it would be an easy decision, but it might be just what you need to do for yourselves.

Crystal ~ That was a great little story about your family home and the wonderful memories you do have tucked in your heart is because your Mom made a house a home filled with lots of love and good times.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 7:04PM
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We lived in a 13 room, 3 story house that my Dh had been born in....We raised 5 kids, several pets and the house was great...When the last son was in college, we decided to move right next door to a 5 room house that my DH's mother had lived in before moving in with her daughter....It was a challenge, to say the least...We decided to sell the big house and at the time, the 4 kids that were married all had homes of their own and really didn't want to take on the "big house". A young couple with no children bought it and lived there until he was transferred out of state...The wife cried when she had to give up her big house...Since then, we've had all young people in the house, starting their families and it's been a pure pleasure, just living next door...The only one of our's that expressed any desire to have the house is married and lives out of state....I think as long as we live next door, and we/they can see and visit the house, it's OK....AND, would you believe all my dreams take place in that house?? Now our little 5 room home suits us fine......

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 5:02PM
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If my MIL had not sold the family home, I believe her 5 sons would have visited more just to see the home place. She always regretted selling it, and her sons are still sick over it since their great great grandfather homesteaded the land. If you do decide to sell, I suggest you give your children a chance to purchase it from you before you put it on the marker.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 7:57PM
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irishdancersgram ~ How wonderful that you still live next door to the 'old' home, being able to see the joy and growth of other families who live there. That had to have been quite an adjustment going from 13 rooms down to 5, but I'm glad to hear you are at peace with your decision and enjoying your smaller home.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 7:21AM
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We have one son and downsized from an 8 room colonial in the northeast to a 6 room 1550 square foot one story house in North Carolina. We were empty nesters for a while when we made the move. It was difficult fitting everything into fewer rooms. For several years we stored many things in the garage and slowly grew into the smaller space. I still wish we had more space, especially when our son comes with his wife and our 2 grandkids. It gets real crowded, but we manage.

Old houses do cling to you emotionally. There's no question about it. But less space means less cost and less expense to heat, cool and maintain. And having no stairs to climb is a big plus when you're old.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 9:41PM
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Well, I'm 39 yrs old. I'm not an empty nester (my DD is 3yrs old), and my parents still live in the same house I grew up in, but I still have something to say.

First, your kids will be fine if you move from the "family home" Yeah, there will likely be talks about the memories, and some sadness, but it won't last very long. If you are sad and downsizing with a focus on what you're losing (ie memories & things), then that will reflect on your kids no matter what age they are. If you are downsizing and moving on a positive note, your kids will be happy for you and your changes in your life and lifestyle.

My grandma ended up in a nursing home which she was not coming out of, and my grandpa had no choice but to sell the farm quick, move out & clean out grandma's stuff. He settled for a little house he could manage but really didn't want. The house was close to the nursing home and the right price, but otherwise it was nothing close to what he would have wanted if given the opportunity to downsize on their own terms and had time to shop around. That was sad for him and sad for the rest of us.

Also, my dad had a stroke about 7 years ago. He's healthy & it was a complete shock something like that could have happened to him. It was questionable on his recovery (he has recovered, by the way).

Anyway, my mom and I were talking about her possibly having to downsize depending on how the re-hab went. It was awful because of the awful circumstances. The memories. The sudden change in lifestyle not by choice. Ugh.

My point is, if you want to downsize...do it because you want to. Do it when you're healthy and happy and have time to make choices and make the best of it. It's a positive thing for everyone...even your kids.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 7:24AM
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Thanks to everyone for your input and for sharing your experiences.
Gayle, your advice to make a move while we have time to make choices, along with your family stories, was definitely food for thought.
Thanks again to all.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 8:23PM
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