Part 2 - Just in Case
A move to downsize is complicated - deciding what goes and what stays can be tricky. The luxury of a storage unit adds more complexity involving another decision - should it be stored because... well yes, just in case I might need it one day! The lackluster feeling for the old house made this job a mammoth task and despite my excitement to move, I was unable to get started on the job at hand.
The most notable advice I can offer in downsizing is to start way in advance and go through cupboard by cupboard, drawer by drawer and sort every-single-thing you own. Determine what you love and need, and which are the "just in case" pieces to store. Get rid of the rubbish as you go so to lighten the burden during the move. I procrastinated and severely regretted it, forced at the eleventh hour to sort, make decisions AND move led to a drawn-out effort that we are still clearing up today (not helped by the COVID-19 disaster).
My interior décor tastes had changed during the twelve years at the old house. The things I’d cherished and shipped across the Atlantic twenty years ago when I moved to the US were way past their loved-by date. I’d been ignoring them for years yet holding onto them… just in case! Finally accepting that I should look these chattels straight in the eye and let them go was liberating… it was also very dusty! At some point I clearly lost the ability or at least the inclination to dust! Let that be a red flag… if you don’t want to dust it, you probably don’t love it!
We hired movers who took beds to the flat and a few bulky pieces to the storage unit. Most everything else we did ourselves having the luxury of our business van, and well… not being ready! Whilst we saved money, we definitely didn’t save time… days turning into weeks and we’re still not entirely done!
We have little to no furniture at the flat, just four of my (still loved) leopard dining chairs, the other two went into storage along with the dining table (it’s too big)! Nanna’s sideboard (also too big), photos, art, garden furniture, urns and statues and various other “just in case” pieces are tucked away in our storage unit where I can go and play with my memories should I feel the need, or perhaps gradually do away with them, time will tell!
We had a garage sale to sell the things we weren’t keeping which included furniture, gardening tools (B was not planning on lifting another weed whacker for the foreseeable future) and when I asked him why he was selling the wheel barrow (which still looked brand new), he said that he had no intentions of doing any gardening for the rest of his life... hmm, I hadn’t noticed him doing much gardening for the preceding portion of his life!
Buyers could walk through the whole house and browse the wares which meant we didn’t have to cart everything out onto the driveway. We made out like bandits the first day, it was so exciting. We still had a lot of stuff leftover so planned on doing the same the following Saturday which was the beginning of the Corona Virus social distancing and stay-at-home protocol. Restaurants closed, and the world as we know it turned upside down. As a result, we didn't see a single person other than a couple of neighbors walking their dog! The old house remains like an abandoned garage sale. We're still moving stuff into storage although our momentum has waned, there is only so long a move can drag on!
We still have no furniture, whilst I keenly organized my new closet the furniture stores were starting to close. I bought a new headboard for the master bed and a pull-out cupboard shelf for my makeup after which all non-essential stores closed their doors.
I shall wait until the Corona Virus is behind us rather than risk buying furniture online… just in case, what if I don’t like it and I can’t send it back because they shutdown delivery businesses? In the meantime, our TV is on the floor, (Rigsby thinks this is for his benefit), we have only dining room chairs to sit on, a couple of patio chairs on the balcony and a few piles of stuff on the floor instead of tucked away nicely in a dresser. I write this post from the kitchen counter, which isn’t too shabby anyway!
One thing we do have in abundance is cleaning tools and products which B managed to acquire prior to COVID-19. We have the latest vacuum, a tile steam cleaner, a mini chrome shop-vac, every Swiffer Sweeper on the market, why?... because just in case! If he sees a cleaning rag in the color gray, I guarantee he will come home with it! So, whilst we have no sofa to sit on, we sure as hell can clean and we will never run out of gray rags, just in case there is dust!
On that note, there will be no dust because I love everything in this flat, and apparently no furniture for quite a while… it’s for the best, just in case!
There are affiliate links in this post which means I may receive a small percentage of sales made. The price is the same whether purchased via this website or at the store itself!
Part 1 - Preparing to Downsize
Downsize can mean different things to different people. For some it can mean moving from a sprawling mansion to a town house. For me it's an adjustment that my husband and I feel will improve our lifestyle by adding convenience, eliminating stress and simplifying the everyday.
For twelve years we've managed a three bedroom home, a yard, a pool, a dog with issues, a successful business, started another business, kept up with our sporting activities so to maintain our health and whilst none of this is remarkable in itself, we've kept said business going through several years of economic depression, been underwater on our home for most of the time we've lived in it, kept the dog alive despite himself, and I'm happy to say we are all still here to tell the tale, businesses included!
So that being said, we decided to hell with the aggravation of having to trim palm trees every year (and fined by the HOA when we don't), the endless and costly dumping of chemicals in a pool whose equipment is on the verge of collapse, snaking the main line drain every few weeks due to neighbors tree roots busting through our foundations, the weekly putting out of fires as one thing after another fails, breaks down, needs repair, is beyond repair and is driving us both crazy with frustration! Get me out of here! Ughhh!
A change of scenery is as good as a rest they say, so we are game to find out if this is true! We've decided to try a more urban lifestyle, such as it is in North Scottsdale, taking up residence in a brand-new apartment community close to our business and my other work. We're not under any illusion that it will be easy at least to start with... we'll be losing about 500+ square feet and we're already bursting at the seams, plus our own garage (where everything goes that doesn't fit in the house) as well as a front and back yard with outdoor living space i.e. more furniture. Yikes!
This move is going to be a serious purge - of things, rubbish, an accumulation of unnecessary chattels! I have the burning desire to live minimally (except for my closet of course) some things will never change! What has changed and dramatically so, is my taste in interior decor. This old house has sent me through a metamorphosis, from a lifelong lover of French country style I have emerged as a modern day contemporate and I have no idea how or why this transformation took place except that this house has shaped many things I was not expecting... or was that midlife that crept up on me?
Whatever the reason it doesn't matter because I'm happy with the outcome, with our decision to end our homeowner misery (at least for now) and to make style changes to our interior space. My large French country furniture will be downsized to smaller pieces and placed in storage, given away or sold. The new pieces will be chosen carefully to provide an effective use of our down-sized space. Yes, for the first time in years I will have walk-in closets again, brand new appliances, ultra-modern fixtures and fittings to match my new contemporary style ideas. I will have a rooftop infinity pool with a view of the Mcdowell Mountains, pool side cabanas with their own TV, a state-of-the-art gymnasium in the same building that doesn't look or smell like a petri dish and not least of all promptly trimmed palm trees and tended flower beds without having to lift a green thumb of my own!
So whilst somebody else puts out the fires, fixes the malfunctions, and tends to the real estate, all that is left to do is live our lives, focus on our businesses and keep the dog alive!
This is what downsize means to me... bring it on!
Multi Season Red Dress
The LRD - little red dress is as famous as the LBD and holds its own in terms of fashion longevity and iconic style. But unlike its counterpart the little black dress, there's nothing little about a bright red dress. Its vibrant color makes it BIG however little the dress may be! It's the epitome of the saying "Go big or go home" or should we say, "Go red or go home", or simply the red LBD - Little Big Dress!
As popular as they are, wearing leggings for non-sporting activities seems wrong in my style book. However faux-leather leggings have received a tremendous amount of publicity this winter and fashionistas everywhere are not prepared to give up their seemingly essential trend of choice for that carefree effortless look that also boasts a svelte silhouette
From custom blends and designer brands down to drug store standbys there are thousands of perfumes at all price points, but if you haven’t found your signature fragrance yet, trying out a myriad of choices might be costing you a pretty scent!
All Faux the Pleather Pants
The availability of realistic high-quality faux leather fabric has enabled the fashion industry to expand the repertoire of luxe goods without the guilt. Likewise, consumers can purchase with less restraint due to more choices, generally easier on the purse strings and of course the feel good factor - no animals were hurt in the making of these pants!
Society has progressed toward a vegan (not just for food) trend for many years with influence from designers like Stella McCartney. Still producing her coveted vegan leather handbags and still charging a whopping $$$$ in most cases. Never judge a bag by it's cover!
Vionic Shoes for Town and Country
Growing up on the fringe of the English countryside involved endless days playing in the woods, long bike rides through country lanes gathering wild blackberries along the way, and many an adventure with school friends exploring previously uncharted territory for mysteries that needed to be solved! This was the norm during the school holidays. It was an idyllic childhood, and undoubtedly the foundation upon which my love of country style began. Yet despite this I did not hesitate to abandon the familiar territory and dip my well-traveled rural young toes into a cosmopolitan metropolis and start my career in some of the swankiest hotels in London.
Our uniforms were stylish and chic including the shoes. The long shifts took their toll on my feet but did not deter my enthusiasm for a stylish shoe! That was then, when style inevitably compromised comfort, and my feet suffered accordingly! Forty years on, now in Arizona, my enthusiasm for a stylish shoe has never waned, but style AND comfort is a blessing and a necessity for my not-so-young-anymore toes!
By expanding on some old classics even those dating back to the Victorian era and beyond, current trends have been playing on the versatility of sleeves. Everything from exaggerated shapes in sheer organza to over-sized balloon sleeves creating bold silhouettes and contemporary designs. It's fashion at its best and totally fun for any midlife woman to partake in, especially those concerned about crepe skin and bingo wings, it's a fabulous camouflage and looks totally on fleek!
Pearls of Joy
As a fashionista with a weakness for a cute trending handbag, it can be a costly endeavor and let's be honest, not all trends are here to stay or are worthy of a lofty price tag. If it takes three lifetimes to achieve a reasonable cost-per-wear then it's one I'll skip... NEXT!
However, this trend started floating about last year and all kinds of beaded bags have continued and still are a huge hit. But there is one that all others aspire to be and according to "Who What Wear", the one that wears the crown is the Antonia Faux Pearl bag by Shrimps.
Cargo Jogger Pants
Cargo pants may not be everybody's cup of tea, but relaxed wear clothes are becoming the norm and from a style perspective they're a step up from yoga pants... in many ways! This utilitarian, wardrobe workaholic can camouflage a myriad of midlife misfortunes! Even if a cargo or jogger pant isn't your style, there are a zillion twists on the classic version that likely will convert even the most steadfast objector not to mention there being oodles of ways to style them!
Q & A with a Facelift Surgeon
Many of us in our late 40's and 50's have thought about facelift surgery as a way to keep looking as young as we feel. But surgery is a big decision, and it can come with lots of questions about the procedure, the recovery process, and whether it’s all worth it.
For those curious about going the surgical route, I spoke with Dr. Jerold Olson, a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery in Tucson AZ, about what it’s really like to undergo a facelift. Check out what he had to share.
Styling Tailored City Shorts
This season sees a revival of longer length shorts. Fashioned after the classic Bermuda shorts, they're more refined (with the exception of their denim counterparts) made with more modish fabrics and cut with a slimmer fit throughout. As such they're known as tailored or city shorts.
How to Shop Successfully at Zara
Zara can be an overwhelming store. It's big and bright (except for the changing rooms) and there's a lot to take in from clothes and accessories at eye level to shoes and bags at ground level and tables of flat lay clothes in between!
Tennis players and golfers are bound to own a skort or two, that ingenious invention of a miniskirt with a built-in pair of shorts underneath. Undoubtedly, ruffled miniskirts minus the risk of over exposure was a tempting draw to the game of tennis for me!
The skort is equally as practical off the court or the fairway! When it comes to bending over, a gust of wind, getting in and out of cars, the color of your panties will remain your secret!
Sedona in 24 Hours
Sedona is a scenic two-hour drive from North Scottsdale. One of the prettiest towns in Northern Arizona and home to the famous red rock mountains, some named according to the image they conjure up such as Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
Visitors to Sedona are sure to leave better than when they arrived, if not on account of it's healing powers from the Vortex it is said to be - a swirling center of energy conducive to healing, meditation and inspiration. If the Vortex doesn't uplift or recharge your spirit, the sheer beauty, clean fresh air, good food and hospitality of the locals will not disappoint.
Here's how Sedona provided everything two shopaholic, hiking diva, food junkie midlife women could possibly want in 24 hours... minus anything Gucci!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50