Kirstie Clements: 10 home truths about downsizing and moving house

From trips to the tip to tearful breakdowns, moving house is an emotional journey.

From trips to the tip to tearful breakdowns, moving house is an emotional journey. Photo: Getty

I have been experiencing all the high and lows of moving and downsizing over the past few months, having just sold the family home of 21 years in a frenzied Sydney real estate market.

What an emotional journey it is to clear out a house. A smarter, or perhaps richer, person would have just called in the experts and had everything packed up in scented tissue and spirited away to the new house to be unpacked and arranged perfectly, but I decided every single thing in the house had to pass through my hands at least once so I could decide whether to keep it or not.

That included everything my sons had left behind in the back of their cavernous wardrobes, including old school ties and bad artworks, about 2000 of my husbands prized CDs, my insane collection of interesting scarves and accessories, and a very perplexing linen cupboard.

After three trips to the tip, endless charity drop offs, several auction sales, two council clean ups, some offloading to friends and about half a dozen exhausted and tearful breakdowns I have discovered some moving truths.

  1. Possessions are the devil. Its dazzling how fast editing objects can fatigue you. You start out cheerfully, saying, “this oversized artisanal bowl can stay, oh I love this vase” and by the end you hate the very idea of knickknacks and have decided that all decorative objects are a capitalist plot.
  2. Just like all shampoo and no conditioner, you will discover that you own tons of flat sheets but only one or two fitted.
  3. Someone in the world has their sheets and quilts separated into neat and discernible piles of double, queen and king, but I’ve never met them. There will also be quite a lot of bed linens you will try on the bed, tired and exasperated, to find that they fit no size bed whatsoever.
  4. Every quilt cover you have ever bought is ugly. Ditto towels.
  5. You have never, ever, had a dinner party for 16, nor will you, despite the dinner service.
  6. Cutlery is overrated
  7. There will be a few meltdowns over the throwing out of cords. I think I speak for many women when I say a lot of men are really, really weird about power boards, cords, cables, tape, drill bits, plugs, old mobiles and batteries. I do understand that some of them are useful, but most of them are inexplicable and I will never, ever win that argument. Which means I get the entire bathroom cabinet and three-bedroom drawers for my cosmetics.
  8. People on Facebook Marketplace and Next Door will haggle over things that you are giving away FREE.
  9. Very heavy and mature potted plants cost a fortune when you want to buy them but are worth absolutely nothing when you want to sell them.
  10. All you really need is the stuff you packed half an hour before the removalists arrived. Take your favourite cup and your pets. The rest is literally set dressing.
Topics: Real Estate
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