Downsizing and Moving: Dreams vs Reality 3/13/18

Open concept; unified color theme; minimal clutter. What more could a person want? (Pets, children, and red wine drinkers not allowed.)

There’s not going to be a political post today for the Village; I once again swapped my day with janesaunt at DK, so Thursday will be my Village political post both here and at the Orange. In the meantime, since so many of us are involved with or considering downsizing, moving, and decluttering, I thought it would be a good time to review many of the hints and tips available to us from the HGTV-like perspective, as well as the “been there, done that, still don’t have my own tv show” viewpoint.

The Dream: The KonMari Method of Decluttering
One of the tenets of Marie Kondo’s Japanes method of decluttering is to hold each object in your hand and ask yourself if the item sparks joy. If it does, it’s a keeper; if not, it gets tossed.

The Reality: There’s a Method?
And do bags count as an object, or do we have to open them up and hold each individual piece that was jammed into them 5-10 years ago?


The Dream: KonMari not for you? Use the Toss, Donate, or Save approach.
This is a way to declutter that is more clinical than emotional. Decisions still need to be made, but with boxes clearly marked as toss, donate, or save, the pressure is on.

The Reality: Check your local ordinances.


The Dream: Stainless steel appliances are still high on homebuyers’ wish lists.

The Reality: Does this count?


The Dream: When preparing your home for sale, it should be depersonalized so that potential buyers can envision it as their space, rather than as your home.

The Reality: Stock up on spackle, find the touch-up paint, and plan on spending hours patching holes.


The Dream: When selling one’s home, paint walls in neutral colors and utilize pops of color in your decor.

The Reality: Oh, c’mon…just took down all the pictures and patched the holes, and now it’s time to make my home look like a rental apartment? If bold is good enough for this house, it’s good enough for mine!


The Dream: If you have a room that has become a dumping ground, clean it out and give it a defined purpose.

The Reality: Your realtor might cry.


The Dream: Be creative, and keep to a budget by upcycling or repurposing existing pieces.
Wine rack used to display towels

The Reality: Or not…

Happy spring cleaning, decluttering, staging, or moving!

About DoReMI 165 Articles
Now a Michigander, by way of Ohio, Illinois, Scotland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. Gardener. Sewer. Democrat. Resister.


  1. LOL, DoReMI! This is so funny! Thanks for the post. We’ve just been through this stage. Decorators’ ideas of what constitutes a cozy home fill me with horror: who, with dogs and children, wants everything white? And, being British, we like enclosed spaces—rooms with doors that you can shut.

    We also find that rooms, rather than open spaces, encourage tidiness. A relative of mine who had a house with an “open plan” confided that when you have one big room, you have one big mess.

    We’ve got rid of a lot of furniture by selling it. We’re planning a visit to the dump, too. We’ve been to Goodwill so often we’re practically staff by now! Still, we’ll keep at it.

    I do encourage those who are planning to downsize or move to start by doing one area a week, no matter how small, and NOT to start with photograph albums, or you will be sidetracked forever.

    • I too don’t get the appeal of “open concept,” although if you watch HGTV for even a nano-second, you’d be convinced that wall are the most evil invention ever. I want walls and doors; there are some rooms I want to keep dog- and cat-free (my sewing room being at the top of that list). I also want places to hang photos and art, and open concept limits that too much.

      I also don’t quite get the love affair with granite or marble countertops. If I wanted a surface for my kitchen that costs as much as a used car, I’d go with either, but the frugal part of me doesn’t see the problem with formica. But it’s become de rigueur in homes these days, and when/if we sell, I’m sure we’ll take a financial hit for not having new countertops. Some of the new formica is really quite lovely though, so if we do decide to replace the countertops for us, not just for resale value, I’ll probably go with the old tried-and-true material that I’ve always known. I think this may make me officially old, but I’m willing to wear that mantle.

  2. {{{DoReMI}}} – I seriously do not see a move in my future. That’s partly because I seriously do not see any form of housing/lodging that’s less expensive than my paid-for house. Which is why I paid for it. About the only things (other than pictures/momentos which are all contained in a 10-ream paper carton & Xmas ornaments in a plastic storage tub) I have what you might call a sentimental attachment to are my solar panels – which would cost more to remove and reinstall elsewhere than to start over – and my cast iron wood stove – ditto. Everything else comes under one of two categories – useful (kitchen table, chairs, bed…) or too beat up to sell or donate and I can’t stand to throw things away (unfortunately includes my sofa – and at least one shelf-load of books). If, goddess forbid, my house burned to the ground or was carried off in a tornado presupposing I survived that I’d use the insurance money to rebuild something half the size, as energy efficient as Aji’s, and probably a weird-looking roofline (think reversed saltbox) to accommodate the PV system on a smaller square footage roof. (With a combination of open “living” space and definitely walls and doors for bed & bath!) Then I’d head to GoodWill to replace furniture and clothing, probably Lowes for appliances, and the Used Book store. LOL.

    That said, I have moved many times in my life – 15x in TX, 3x in CA, 4x in AR, 3x in WI, 3x in KS, then back to AR for 2 more – the last move was 20 years ago come July. And of course I’ve helped friends and family move as well – at least in my younger days. And the amount of stuff I’ve gotten rid of as I unpacked after I moved it is laughable. And in fact one of my “spare” rooms in this house is more or less a “mud room” that is still storing stuff from a friend’s last move almost 10 years ago. LOL.

    Basically holding the Good Thoughts for all the folks who are moving and/or downsizing for whatever reason. moar {{{HUGS}}}

    • I need to start reducing the collections of stuff (and some of it outright junk) that have gathered here. Every time I leave my daughter’s house, I’m feeling motivated, but then the soreness and exhaustion hits, and procrastination becomes the order of the day. Maybe this weekend I can start on one of the upstairs bedrooms that we don’t use… :D

      I’m also storing a bunch of stuff that is for the Kiddo. I was really hoping I’d be able to take it to her once they move, but since it now looks likely that they’ll be moving into an apartment rather than buying another house, I’ll be holding it for a bit longer. Super-heated markets are great if you’re a seller, but even their realtor is recommending that they sell and then wait. It makes absolute sense, but I sure would like to end my role as a storage unit for the kids.

  3. Thanks for sharing this DoReMI. When I first moved to the US (11 years ago?!) I had visions of entertaining people and having house parties. The reality was completely different and I’ve not done a good job of keeping up. Still unpacking boxes nearly 4 years after my move to CA. Although I do have a nice collection of Corelle plates and tumblers/rocks for drinking?

    • Nothing wrong with Corelle; I use it every day myself!

      And yeah, the dreams of entertaining are always more grand than the reality. I spent years trying to convince my daughter that her next home needs a formal dining room; she always laughed at me, because dinner parties are not, and will never be, her thing. However, now that they’re planning to buy a larger house (someday), a formal dining room has become one of their “must haves.” Not because she’s suddenly become a gourmet cook…but because they do a lot of game nights and need room for a large table. So I’ve adapted and now refer to a “formal game room”!

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