Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 24, 2013

Downsizing can mean losing 'stuff,' gaining freedom


“In my condo I had an extra closet in a second bedroom where I stored my trumpet, flugelhorn, mutes and lots of music” said Fehner, 91, who recently moved to a small apartment in the Glen Eagle Independent Living Community. “I took everything that I liked: things that I could hang on the wall that would remind me of music.”

As difficult as it was to make decisions, pack and clean the condo, she said the hardest part of downsizing was the feeling of losing her independence.

“The transaction was short but it was a solid blow and I didn’t seem to think I had control of anything,” she said, adding that the move was complicated by a bad fall and her sister’s illness and death. “But I do have control. Now it’s a matter of taking the boxes and going through them and labeling them so everything is easy to work with and to live with. I think my spirits are good and I’m looking forward to living here.”

Stites said downsizing is stressful for many, especially seniors or families who are left with their estates.

“Seniors that are downsizing don’t like to ask for help, ask their children,” she said, adding that many feel as if they’re giving up things they’re never going to get back. “And just that coordination. Changing phone numbers is something they’re doing for the first time in years.”

The transition usually is very painful, agreed Ready, “but there’s light at the end of the tunnel — not right away, but it gets better every day, every day, every day.”

Said Hoffstetter: “I think perhaps I’ll be better off. I won’t have the financial worry that I have and I won’t have all this stuff.”



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