Tasmanians snare the downsizing dream
Downsizing is different for everyone. For Halcyon Glades home owners Ian and Susan Snare, it was three massive garage sales, time living apart, and an epic 2,200km move to sub-tropical Brisbane from chilly Tasmania.
Although it was a challenging proposition, the recently retired couple was ready to go.
“We had a large family home on a large block with a huge veggie garden and an enormous work shed,” Ian said.
“There was an enormous amount of stuff to offload and we had to let go of things we’d had for 30 or 40 years, so it was a massive downsizing experience.
“It was cathartic and necessary to get rid of things.”
Susan said it helped that they had a clear vision of what they wanted from their new lifestyle – greater freedom, less maintenance and more time with family.
“It was making all the decisions we needed to make and letting go,” she said.
“Moving from Tasmania to Queensland meant we were limited in what we could bring; we had to make very clear decisions.
“Going to a smaller property wasn’t a big issue for us because we were ready for a smaller space.
“We wanted a simpler life with a lot less work because our garden was hugely demanding.”
As is sometimes the case, not everything went to script, with their Tasmanian property taking longer to sell than expected.
Ian stayed behind in Tasmania to finalise the sale while Susan headed to the Sunshine State and closer to three of their sons and her parents.
And that meant Susan was well settled when Ian finally arrived four months later in February this year.
Ian, who had some early reservations about the lifestyle community model, initially struggled to settle in.
“Sue had already made a few connections and I had no connections, so I felt like I was behind the eight ball,” he said.
“I wondered what I was going to do without my big veggie garden and work shed.
“I’ve talked with other men in the community and most of them have gone through a similar thing. I think women are more adaptable.
“It was a long transition. And then, all of a sudden, it came together for me.
“One of my concerns had been that people would be on our doorstep all the time. That’s far from the truth, because it’s a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and you always have the privacy of your own home.”
These days, Ian is involved in various aspects of community life.
He is a member of the men’s singing group, plays social bowls, goes bike riding with other home owners and swims regularly.
At home, Ian indulges in his love of gardening by propagating plants in their courtyard, and he also tends to some of the community’s gardens.
“I just love the place. Susan and I have more friends here than we had in Tasmania,” he said.
“We’ve been fortunate to meet a small group of people who have made us feel very welcome.”
Susan has joined the quilter’s group and taken up aqua aerobics, something she wouldn’t have done in suburbia.
“The benefits of downsizing are great. It’s a chance to get involved in new things,” she said.
“We now have more freedom to relax and we see ourselves as being able to go caravanning or on holidays because we’re not tied to the house and garden.
“It’s also great to spend time with our family up here.
“The end result has been good and we’re glad we did it.”
Ian said he believed it was wise to start their new chapter as soon as possible after retiring.
“We have done this early because we didn’t want to make this big move in another 10 years,” he said.
“It’s all that I wanted it to be. I look back at my objections and see that they were unfounded.
“You’re free to do - or not to do - whatever you want, and I like that freedom.”
Professional organiser and decluttering expert, Tanya Lewis believes successful downsizing begins simply by daydreaming. The founder of EcoOrganiser, which helps people organise their time and space, provides her top tips for decluttering your home.
TANYA’S TIPS FOR DECLUTTERING
- START DAYDREAMING – VISUALISE WHAT YOUR NEW LIFE LOOKS LIKE?
- ASK YOURSELF “DO I REALLY NEED THIS”, “DOES IT ADD VALUE TO MY NEW LIFE”
- USE THE FLOORPLAN AND MEASUREMENTS OF YOUR NEW HOME TO WORK OUT WHAT WILL FIT
- START SMALL – BREAK UP THE PROCESS INTO MANAGEABLE BITS
- DIVERT WASTE FROM LANDFILL THROUGH RECYCLING & RESPONSIBLE DISPOSAL – for locations visit www.ecoorganiser.com.au/recycling-responsible-disposal/