Downsizing – all is calm, all is bright (so far)

Well, after fourteen tortuous days waiting for our buyer to be ready to exchange, we have finally made it. Every morning we would wake up hopeful that this would be the day we could progress with our downsizing plan. After endless agitated phone calls, drip fed delays and trying to keep myself busy and my mind on other, more pleasant, things, each day would reach 4pm and my heart would start sinking. Another day wasted. Another day of stress. Another day when we hadn’t exchanged.

DownsizingBefore lunch today I was super stressed, ready to call a halt to the whole lengthy proceedings; I felt like I was in the eye of the storm, it was eerily quiet. When the phone rang, I almost couldn’t be arsed to pick it up. It was only going to be an estate agent or a solicitor telling me there was another hold up. But, pick it up I did and, after a deep breath, was informed of another hiccup and I blew my top. I know an agitated voice does not help in the least and will get you less far than a calm, measured tone, but I had had enough.

DownsizingThen, just before lunch, the phone calls had a more positive tone to them. Were we really going to exchange today? After so many false starts, I could hardly dare believe that all the pieces were finally coming together. Two hours later, the phone call came to say we had finally got there. It was a done deal. We are definitely moving house.

When I phoned my Husband to give him the news, I burst into tears.

Now, at 4pm, I feel as if I have already forgotten the last fortnight. The atmosphere is peaceful, relaxed, happy. Now we can think about where the furniture will go in our new tiny cottage. And which items will need to be sold – definitely our very large dining table and twelve chairs… we’ll barely have space for a four seater there. And now it’s a done deal, will I miss the home that has been so wonderful for us over the last thirteen years? Probably, although I tell myself I won’t. Now, when I look out of one of the windows at the glorious views we are lucky enough to have here, I try and imagine what it will be like when we have moved. Where I will do my ironing? How I will manage without my capacious American fridge freezer? Will I stub my toe on something when I get up for my 4.20am widdle in the pitch blackness? Will we be able to light the boiler or will we be frozen cold and swearing at the controls? Will the previous owner leave us any lightbulbs?

DownsizingOK, all small beer I know. There are much larger issues to be considered. Will downsizing be harder than we imagine? Will the lower overheads be enough to make us glad we moved? Will we bump into each other all the time? (It’s a very small cottage!) Will the layout flow well? Will there be any nasty surprises like damp patches, unpleasant neighbours, an invasion of mice or, the worst scenario of all, a really bad internet connection?!!

What do I think we will miss? The Aga springs to mind – it spreads a welcoming warmth through the house, is perfect for snoozing dogs to lie by, and a great place to put the ironing or dry off wet boots. Then there’s the peace and quiet we enjoy now. As we are moving to somewhere less rural, I expect the hoot of an owl will be replaced by the drone of traffic. And probably the views – currently we have great vistas from practically every window… at the new house you need to stand on tip toes as you look out of a first floor window!

DownsizingAnyhow, must be grateful that we have finally exchanged. I think Husband and I will sleep well tonight. Unless I can’t stop thinking of my rather large Moving House To Do List. Which, by the way, I will be putting on CountryWives in a few weeks time. I am positive it will be super useful for any of you who are also moving house / downsizing in the near future…

p.s. We had one more terrible shock to come, just a week before we moved… will explain in my next blog


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  1. Grace – we are downsizing too and waiting to exchange contracts this week hopefully – fingers, toes and everything else crossed – please send me all your positive house moving vibes! I have always considered myself cool, calm and collected but that’s gone out of the window – feel as though I am on a rollercoaster constantly

    • Hi Karen. When we were waiting to exchange everyone kept telling me “it WILL happen” – and they were right!

      LOL now that we have exchanged I’m now worrying about whether we will be able to light to boiler at the new house, if the vendor will leave us any lightbulbs and if the house will be clean or not!! But like you, we are on a new adventure, and that’s definitely a positive experience. Good luck with your move…. best wishes, Grace

  2. I am happy for you Grace and know only too well what you have been going through, I too am waiting for the call to say I have exchanged, I have been waiting since July with my buyer losing 3 buyers since February, so a horrid year for me so far… I don’t even have anywhere to go to as I don’t know what i can afford yet or where I want to move too..I will probably rent for a while.. I lost my partner last year so this move has been force on me due to financial reasons.. I wish you all the best and will look forward to your next blog.. Regards Mo xx

    • Hi Mo, so sorry to hear about your annus horribilis. Am sure it will all come good soon. We were going to rent and in some respects I wish we had; we ended up paying asking price as we were in a rush and didn’t want to lose our buyer. Good luck with exchanging soon and I can highly recommend having a clear out while you are waiting – it feels so good to de-clutter! Best wishes, Grace x

  3. I hope there’s enough space for all your clothes! I’m thinking of downsizing from my four-bed detached house so i can finally afford to retire but the amount of work that needs doing on it just so i can put it on the market is daunting.

    • Hi Helen

      So do I!!!! Husband and I were lying in bed this morning wondering where we are going to fit everything into the new home – and that’s after we have had a massive clear out! If you’re up for a project, then downsizing will definitely keep you very busy! Good luck with whatever you decide… best wishes, Grace

  4. Hi Grace, I’m also married to a younger man so I try and look good, keep slim etc. We have a wonderful son, next year he is in his final year of high school. I have 3 other grown kids from my 1st marriage. I too was sad to leave my big Aussie home in Melbourne and downsize to NZ. Housing is expensive here, Auckland is one of the most expensive cities in the world with small bungalows fetching 1mil.$ plus. Luckily my husband’s job brought us to Christchurch where things are more affordable and we bought a brand new home in a pretty town near CC.

    • Hi Trish. Delighted to hear all is well in Christchurch and you are living in a pretty town. We finished unpacking yesterday and I think we are going to like it in our new little cottage. So, apart from a massive snagging/To Do list for our new home, I am also going to go on a detox in a couple of weeks and try, like you, to get slim (or, in my case, not quite so porky!)… thanks for getting in touch… Grace

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