I’M BACK!!!!! After a little hiatus from the blog, I decided to make an appearance again. To be honest, I missed it. I missed having the creative outlet and creating content and sharing information. So I thought I would start 2023 with being creative and blog about this year’s new trend everyone is talking about – What’s Your Word for 2023?Continue reading “What’s Your Word for 2023”
Downsizing in 5 simple steps
Here I am – on the eve on my 50th birthday, writing about downsizing in 5 simple steps.
If you would have told me a year ago that I would be living in a condo in Scottsdale on my next birthday, I would never have believed you – but life sometimes hands you crazy, fun, adventures.
It’s been a hectic summer here at Mojo and Moxie, BUT, we are ready to get back into it and hoping you are excited for some new blog posts and fun conversations.
If you follow us, you might know that my family took the plunge and moved to the United States in August. Yup! Mojo and Moxie has gone North American!! So, needless to say, I’ve got lots of tips and tricks and epic fails to share with you about my adventures.
Danni and I decided to start with DOWNSIZING – as many of us are starting to think about what that might look like as we head into this next phase of life with kids leaving the nest and rooms emptying.
So, based on my experience over the last year with downsizing from our large family, forever home to a smaller space – here is the Mojo and Moxie guide to downsizing in 5 simple steps.
Time is your Friend – Downsizing 101
I know this might sound obvious, but if you think you are going to downsize your home in a week, or even two – you are a much more organized person than I and it could spell disaster…
I have three (almost) grown children and I needed the time to go through each and every drawer and each and every memory. You might be surprised at how long this takes, mingled in with the continuing tasks of everyday life, but trust me… it takes time!
I worked fastidiously, room to room so that I felt some sort of achievement each day. Somedays, it was as simple as cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen. Others it was tackling the office and getting rid of old papers, filing and packaging tax returns we needed to store.
To put it simply, if you’ve lived in your home for awhile, you are going to have a crap load of – well, crap to get rid of, and sort through. Give yourself some time to do it.
Sell / Charity / Gift / Dispose- Downsizing 101
One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me in helping with our move, was being our “charity drop off person.”
You see – one of the things I hate the most about organizing, is having the piles. You know the ones.
The Charity pile
The Sell pile
The Junk Pile
The “I think so and so would like this” Pile
To put it simply – I hate piles. When I am cleaning and organizing a room, at the end of it all, I just don’t want a bunch of piles – I want that stuff out of my house!! Well – my parents (bless their hearts) were my go-to for this. Almost every day while I was in the crux of organizing, they backed up their car and took a load to charity.
This might seem like a small gesture, but let me tell you – it was SUCH a DREAM! No junk lying around and no time for my teens to come wandering down to the basement to find some random stuffed animal they haven’t noticed in 5 years and wanting it back in their room 🙂
So – if you have a friend, a parent, or a teen who wants some extra gas money – this is a way to make them feel useful and to really help you out!
And if you don’t have anyone interested in this job – guess what – there are companies that do this sort of thing and do the sorting for you.
We used a company called Home Sweet Home for our larger and last minute items and they were awesome.
However you choose to get rid of your piles, just be diligent in following through and moving the items out, otherwise you’ll be back where you started in no time.
Memory Boxes Simplified – Downsizing 101
If you have kids or not, most likely you have some sort of collection of memories you are not prepared to part with. I wanted our memory boxes to be stackable, identifiable and sturdy because they were to hold our most precious memories from the past 50 years.
I absolutely love these black and yellow bins from the local home improvement store, for keeping our memories safe. They are really great quality, and stack beautifully. Each of us in the family was given bins to fill from our previously stored memory bins.
It is amazing how many things are not considered “meaningful memories” anymore after the years pass.
I went through old high school photos, letters, my graduation corsage, jewelry, and diplomas and degree – and now they are all safe and sound in waterproof bins. Our family of five all have our memory bins labelled and sorted in these easy to find bins.
Take the time to do this – trust me.
When the kids are ready to move to their own place – guess what – those bins will go with them. No sorting through their old stuff and trying to get it out of your garage – it is their problem now! 🙂
Make a Plan – Downsizing 101
Making a plan is one of the most important of the 5 simple steps to downsizing. Ahead of any organizing and purging, I made a spreadsheet of items I knew would go to my new home, a list of things I would need to purchase, and a list of things I would need to sell. This sounds obvious and simple (and it is) but with out walking your home, and writing absolutely everything down, there are things you will forget. We spent some time creating a detailed list of the furniture, art, sports memorabilia, and don’t forget the outside items – that we would need to either store, keep with us, or sell.
Because I knew where we were going, I then marked each piece that would fit into our new home – not guessing whether it would work or not – but measuring both the space and the furniture. Too many times you can “think” something is going to fit – only to have it not work in your space and then you are left with a piece of furniture you either have to sell, or find a place for. I was determined not to bring any items across the border that I didn’t need or want. I didn’t want to waste precious weight on our moving truck nor pay for storage or additional moving fees if needed. Being this organized works mentally, but also helps the budget! 🙂
Being on the other end of it all now, I can say that this approach worked amazing for us. When we moved into our new, smaller space, I had a place and a plan for every piece. Even the artwork was carefully thought out… My motivation was the thought of getting to my fresh new space, feeling that things were cleaned and sorted and only the “best of the best” made the trip.
Doing this meant WAY more work on the front end – meaning, I got rid of, and sorted through a LOT ahead of time. There were definitely moments that I felt overwhelmed during this process. At times, there were days I was almost paralyzed by the mountain of work I felt lay ahead. But day by day, hour by hour it slowly got done.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…
Breathe and take some time for FUN
Downsizing can be very overwhelming. For me, as much as I was moving to a smaller space – I was also leaving my home town and all of the special people that live in it.
Yes, it felt like too much at times. But I have to tell you that keeping perspective and making time for the people I loved, really kept my life in balance over the past 6 months.
My advice is to do the work (obviously) but enjoy and make time for the play as well. I wanted this move to feel as stress free as possible, but I also wanted to make sure I spent time with all of the people I would not see on the daily after my move.
Being a control freak, this feeling of my life being suddenly not super organized and compartmentalized was difficult for me. It left me feeling unsettled. I didn’t sleep well and I felt a sense of uncomfortable-ness during the entire process. However, when I took time to play a round of golf with Danni and our husbands I always felt better. Chatting with a girlfriend, going for dinners and making time for “normal” also helped!
So #5 in the Mojo and Moxie guide to downsizing in 5 simple steps is this: Just breathe and have fun. It will all get done.
Looking forward to bringing you lots of interesting content from Arizona matched with Danni’s Canadian side… We are back with more consistent content going forward!
If you are starting to think about Thanksgiving… why not check out our Favourite Thanksgiving Blog Posts – Canadian Thanksgiving is creeping up… 🙂
The Story of A Foster Fail
After years ( 16 to be exact) of my daughter asking for a dog daily, I caved. As the house became emptier in the fall of 2019, I was feeling a bit lonely. My oldest son was away at university, my daughter gaining more independence in her grade 12 year and my husband taking on a position coaching hockey, I found myself at home alone more often then normal. Schedules have changed and mine seemed to have some large gaps. So why not get a dog to keep me company. Here is the story of our foster fail.
Let’s Foster a Puppy
I will never forget the excitement in my daughter’s face and the look of WTF?? on my husband’s, when I mentioned the idea of fostering a puppy. Fostering a puppy would be a great way of getting our feet wet, sorta speak. We can ‘test’ drive a puppy to see if it works with our daytime schedules. Well, my husband thought I was going crazy and my daughter thought the same but didn’t care..She was getting a dog FINALLY!! Now don’t get too excited, I said..If it doesn’t work, we will not be adopting the dog. (Yeah, right!!)Continue reading “The Story of A Foster Fail”
Things I Wish I Knew about an Emptier Nest
If I do say so myself – our speaker series is ON FIRE!! Last week our featured speaker was Ann Douglas, who spoke on “Things I wish I knew about an Emptier Nest!”
Wow – Ann was a wealth of information and we loved having her speak to our community of “40 – somethings” about all things empty nesting!
If you are not familiar with Ann – she is a Canadian parenting expert – author of many fantastic books on parenting – most notably “Happy Parents, Happy Kids” and “Parenting Through the Storm.” Her calm measured approach to parenting is both reassuring and inspiring and we were spoiled with her knowledge last week.
Typically, we try and do a little synopsis of our evening on the blog – so those of you who missed it can get a quick re-cap here on Mojo and Moxie. BUT – as you know, Ann is an amazing writer – and her talk was based on two blog posts from her own blog. So rather than do a repeat performance (that would no doubt be poorly written in comparison!!) I want to share with you three things that Danni and I took away from this talk personally. And of course, links are available to Ann’s posts below… 🙂
We love hearing all your comments on Facebook on what your “take-aways” were – so here are our thoughts on Things I wish I knew about an Emptier Nest.
Three Things we Learned from Ann
It’s OK to feel GOOD about your EMPTY NEST – and even love it just a little (!!)
I chuckled when Ann spoke about feeling guilty about enjoying your empty nest. Now, while this doesn’t apply to me completely (I still have two very much at home, and the one that’s left the nest comes back every summer…) this totally resonated with me.
While I certainly felt the absence of our first child’s departure for university in another city – and I had moments of sadness – I really felt so good about his decision. I knew he was ready for this next step and I took it in stride.
Now at the end of his third year, I am consistently thrilled with his gradual pulling away and increasing independence. Sometimes I feel guilty about this – like it means I don’t love him as much as my husband (who struggles with it more than I do). But listening to Ann helped ease my worry.
I feel like I just recognize that he is progressing so smoothly through the first stages of adulthood and to be honest, I’m quite proud and relieved at how well he is handling life.
Ann’s comments on feeling positive and good about enjoying your empty nest and about how our job as parents is to prepare our kids for their eventual independence, struck a chord with me. I know our son has a deep rooted love for family. I know that if he is ever in trouble, needs advice, or even cooking tips we are still first on the list without a doubt. He loves us, but needs us differently now.
I take great satisfaction in watching him mature, that his own values are rooted in things we have instilled in him, and that each year he becomes more capable to handle things on his own.
This has helped me let go and let him fly – and I don’t feel one bit of guilt enjoying life without him with us at every moment.
As Ann so eloquently told us – family is forever and our love is unconditional as parents. My greatest pleasure and relief is recognizing that our son knows this and for him, his foray into adulthood is right on track.
Read Getting your Teen Ready for University – HERE
Thank you ANN – this led to great conversation with my husband about letting go and feeling good about it.
It’s OK to have your Young Adult Pick an Alternative Path (especially now)
We are inundated with the “path” the way it is “supposed” to be for our young adults. High school, then post secondary, then job, and family, right?
Well – if this pandemic has shown us anything, it is that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. And sometimes we need to make choices that are difficult but protect our sanity!
Ann spoke about how our current situation is changing family dynamics – teens and young adults perhaps being either forced to return home, or to forego / delay their first year of post secondary or missing out on huge milestones altogether. No doubt, this is a difficult time, but Ann suggests we have some grace – with both our kids and ourselves.
I know Danni expressed to me that it was agony for her kids to participate in online learning this year. The struggle caused a lot of angst in their household and in the end, they decided as a family, that life would run a lot smoother if the kids decided to delay their studies until things resumed in person.
Hard decision – yes. BUT – Ann says we need to know that supporting our kids through crisis and accepting that every young adult and every situation is different – not better or worse – but different, will help us through this uncomfortable time.
The best thing we can do is support our young adult’s decisions, encourage them even when we struggle with our own doubts and misplaced sense of guilt. I know I totally over-think things as a parent. I fill my mind with the “what if’s” and other worries. Our kids will make their way and we just need to love them through it.
Check out our post on Taking a Gap Year HERE
It’s OK to not be perfect – in fact you should be “Gloriously Imperfect”
How many times have I tried to have a conversation with one of my teens only, to have it go tremendously wrong in the first 30 seconds.
Well – I don’t have to tell you it’s happened a LOT – especially these days! And man do I feel down in the dumps about it.
While I know I am not responsible for the entire conversation, I am responsible for my half… and wow did we really just go there???
Yup – a question I ask myself virtually every day while parenting three kids ages16 – 21.
I think at times we lose track of the fact that we just can’t be perfect parents, and we really berate ourselves over our missteps, because we want to be better for our kids. We want to be as perfect as we can be. And while I recognize perfect is not possible, sometimes we need someone to tell us to just let that shit go!
Ann spoke to us about giving ourselves permission to be a gloriously imperfect parent – which also means we need to recognize and accept that our kids are going to be gloriously imperfect too!
Ann gave us three things that should guide us in our parenting:
- We need to provide unconditional love and approval
- We need to be warm, sensitive and responsive
- We need to support their growing independence and emerging abilities
I learned that I need to stop being so hard on myself AND my child. I need to work within the guidelines above – knowing that sometimes my attempt at these things may be thwarted by either imperfect words or actions and that can still be ok.
Ann tells us to focus on PROGRESS and not PERFECTION!
I’m currently a work in progress… 🙂
So – the one thing I can say about parenting older children, is that it is (for the most part) a joy to watch them grow up, and become amazing adults.
And, the other thing I can say is, that there is always something to learn!
Thank you Ann for providing us an evening of food for thought.
FIND ANN’s Blog Posts on Parenting an Empty Nest here:
FINDING YOUR WAY IN AN EMPTY (or Emptier) NEST
PARENTING IN A NOT SO EMPTY NEST
As always – we invite you to comment below – or join our Facebook Group for lively conversation and a great community of like-minded 40-something moms – where you can also view our chat with Ann for yourself!