Simplifying Our Lives and Downsizing

We just sold our vacation home on Vancouver Island in an attempt to simplify our lives.
Downsizing and Death By Garage Sale
We had an estate sale this past weekend which was hilarious…and a lot of hard work. It’s pretty unnerving creepy to have strangers prowl your home, pawing through and critiquing your things.
Seriously??? “You don’t like my taste in lamps? Put it down and move on”!We don’t need two of everything, so we decided to sell everything that had no sentimental feelings attached to it.
By the end of the day, we were even selling some of them!
We still have another group of things to sell…a second Kayak, a Sailboat, a buffet, some paintings, a few rugs, a second patio set and a few more chairs.
My husband just came home from the post office and asked what happened to our front door mat. He laughed when I told him I sold it!
Downsizing and Death By Garage Sale
We did manage to get rid of the pool table, Murphy Wall bed, dining room table, chairs, mirrors, lamps, plates, pots and pans (I’m no dummy… packing and cooking on the same day is not my idea of fun) and lots of extraneous junk.

During this process, I had to excavate some pretty scary things from my wardrobe. I howled over a few items and wondered where the fashion police were when I bought them. I can date my career in the fashion industry, based on the types of clothes I owned. For some reason, they all (I hope) ended up being stored here. An excavation is in order when I get back to California.

Downsizing and Death By Garage Sale
Patent Leather Spats with silver leather and faux Leopard spots…does it get worse than this? Yep, it did. 

won’t can’t say for sure if I ever wore these horrific boots, more than once, but I am guilty of purchasing them…many years ago. Someone else is guilty of buying them last Saturday 🙂

Towards the end of the day on Sunday, the Mounties came to our rescue.
Downsizing and Death by Garage Sale

That’s a cordless drill in Joanne’s hand and a cup of Whiskey in Doug’s. Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to dismantle the Murphy Bed and get it out of here without taking down a wall.
Doug is a Mountie, so of course, we all had to try on his official hat later :-))  We will sure miss them.


As I write this my husband just came up from the garage with a stack of cash in hand. The other Kayak is now gone. This is a strictly cash and carry sale. It appears the sale didn’t stop at the weekend!


Selling this home is very bittersweet. We know we’ll miss our relaxing times, the roaring fires, fabulous friends, and outstanding views, but are looking forward to a new chapter in our lives.
Downsizing and Death by Garage Sale
I decided to keep this big fella. Even plopped under my palm trees in California, he’ll remind me of all the Bald Eagles I watched from my deck and living room windows.

This is ridiculous, my husband just brought two men upstairs to look at the chairs…I’m now hiding in the bedroom in my pj’s lounging attire!

We drove Finn and Lucy up with us for this extravaganza… just to add some extra fun.

I  wonder, where in the Murphy’s Rulebook it states that your geriatric dog will become incontinent, once you sell your house and are packing it up to leave.

Does simplifying your life appeal to you?
It appeals to me…I just hope the process doesn’t kill me.


  1. Scott Sauer says:

    Your account of the process is hilarious, but I can only imagine how bittersweet it is for you to part with a great place where you’ve spent so many fun times. Well, packing up and moving on it is. Same as you, I hope that the whole process of selling this property wouldn’t be too difficult for you. Thankfully, there are good people willing to help you through it. Best of luck!

    Scott Sauer @

  2. Do you know, as long as we’ve had that home, we’ve never gotten over to see Whistler!! Stupid and shameful of us. And my daughter lives in downtown Vancouver!

    It was interesting how quickly I was willing to drop the prices (just to move them) on items that felt so important last month.

    I’m loving this de cluttering.

  3. I know how beautiful Vancouver Island is, as we took our boat up there on vacation when our children were small. We sold the boat when the kids started having sports activities that consumed the weekends. Now my husband and I relax at Whistler, once or twice a year.

    I have been dedicating my weekends to cleaning and purging before the holiday season. I too, have held onto way too many things, way too long. Isn’t it interesting how parting with what was once sentimental becomes so liberating once it is out of the house?

    It’s so amazing how many of us “Boomer Bloggers” have retail and fashion in our blood!
    Wishing you and your husband comfort and joy!

  4. Ooh.. I loved reading your article.. thanks Jennifer for bearing all – brave souls you are.. letting go is the hardest but once decision has been made, there’ll be no looking back ever! I wish you well in your strive to simplify your lives.. this after all is what this wonderful phase in our lives is all about now.. Simply living and enjoying every day to the max! Enjoy.. go for it! .. x j

  5. Mary Mesheau says:

    Our home is on a river with a view we love. We raised our children here but I keep seeing all the ‘stuff” that we don’t need. My husband is still bringing boats, and snowblowers in the front door while I take old lamps and clothes out the back. I am hoping we will meet in the middle in the next few years and start simplifying our material possessions. Your summer place looks lovely. Must have been somewhat difficult to let all those things go!!

    1. That is hilarious Mary. In the front as you take things out the back. I’ve had to sneak quite a few thing onto the sale tables here while my husband was “manning” the garage:-)

  6. Awww, we were practically neighbors as I live close to the ferry terminal on the mainland. Your place is gorgeous but I’m happy for you and hubby to start a new chapter. It always feels good to let go. Selling all your stuff must have been bittersweet. Congrats!

  7. Oh it is a bit sad to see a house with all its memories go, but it also opens up for wonderful changes! Have a great weekend! xo Caroline

  8. Its hard hearing the comments…….I know from having a shop!I knew it was time to close when I started questioning their TASTE!!!

  9. Clearly you had (have?) a wild side that you keep well hidden from your blog posts. Those boots are incredibly, horribly wonderful.

    You’ve just been through a life-altering experience (been there done that and will, no doubt, do it again some time), but have clearly survived with your sense of humor and sense of style both still intact. Major kudos to you and your husband.

    I see in my crystal ball a new, exciting chapter for you. I also see another closet cleanout in your future. The crystal ball never lies!

    Onward and upward my friend. Stay in touch.

    xoxo, M-T

    1. Thanks so much M-T!
      My past wardrobe holds many secrets…some pretty tasteless apparently :-). The crystal ball is right this time too! My CA wardrobe will be getting a major revision in the new year. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend
      I will be in touch soon. xoxo

  10. Happy freedom and fresh, clear breathing to you Jennifer! Although – wow – your home is/was beautiful. As will your simpler lifestyle! The boots made me laugh.

  11. Oh and numpty here bought Chanel spats, I thought they would change my life – really.

    1. Chanel spats would be VERY different and just might change someone’s life :-). Hope all is well with you!

    2. No, they were the bad buy of the century.

  12. We don’t have sales like that here but it’s such a good idea. We don’t own a single thing that we don’t use, I’m really ruthless, my mum’s like that too, nothing ever gathers dust in our homes, it gets binned!

  13. Too bad we won’t be “neighbours” any more, but I can really empathize with the desire to simplify. Tough as it must be to give up that gorgeous space in such a special location, you’ll become less and less willing to travel away from your grandson for extended periods, and with your daughter in Vanc’r, it makes sense that when you do travel, you aim in her direction rather than the island. I know someday we’ll be simplifying and consolidating as well and much as I know I’ll find it hard to let go of some things (I suspect I have my own versions of the patent leather spats to surprise and amuse me), it will be a relief to get back some clarity as we pare down. Take care — wave as you head south (or East). . .

    1. Those hours of closet excavation were hilarious and just a bit horrifying. I’m serious about repeating the exercise in CA, once I’ve recovered from this one. Perhaps it warrants a few “what I wore, back in the day” posts :-). Be well friend.

  14. We sold our vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard about 2 years ago. It was a hard decision, but once done, I must say I’m so enjoying not feeling tied down and obligated to spend every summer there, and don’t miss the hard work at all. Simplifying was the right decision for us, as I’m sure it will be for you too.

    1. I love Martha’s Vineyard. I totally agree about the obligation to spend time at a vacation home. Once all the work is over and the regrets are behind me, I look forward to a simpler way of doing things.

  15. Marcia Pilar says:

    What a beautiful place, Jennifer. Simplicity is even more beautiful…especially during transition. Our family moved out of our 23 year house last December and we’re in a temporary house while we find our dream house …which I hope will be much smaller. With the exception of our bedroom furniture and my art table, we got rid of all our furniture and started fresh. Closets were downsized too. It is so good on the mind…and the eye.
    The boots made me smile. 🙂

  16. Coulda shoulda woulda says:

    Love it all!! Those boots are a riot, you shoulda kept them as they are a one off. Yes it must be hard bc the views there seem unbelievable going by your instagram pics. But I also envy you simplifying bc sometimes stuff which is supposed to be enriching becomes a lot to manage…but I hope you a easy remainder of the move!

    1. I didn’t keep the boots but I did keep a few other dinosaurs…just to remind me of how fashion can go bad.

  17. Marsha Splenderosa says:

    This is hilarious! I don’t know if I could see a place in this beautiful location as I love it so in that part of our world. However, I’ve done the same in one of our “country places” and I was happy to see it go as it was so much work for me, and none for the kids and their guests once they were old enough to be on their own. Every place has its time. Onward & Upward! And, definitely the eagle stays.

  18. Your vacation home looks stunning but it does sound like you are ready to let it go and move on. Simplifying sounds so freeing and it is very appealing to me, as I often feel burdened by all my possessions. I had a good laugh at the patent leather spats – I am glad that you at least took a photo before selling them!

  19. Letting go can be extremely hard and stressful but the weight taken off one’s shoulders is freeing. It is amazing how much we focus on “things” and accumulating, the memories behind them, whatever the reason. I do believe, without the vacation home, you will have more time to travel the world or just visit the kids and grand kids.

    1. It is hard to let go…but it’s time. I’m looking forward to whatever our new adventure will be. Happy Thanksgiving.

  20. Good for you Jennifer! Those boots made me laugh as I would never, ever, associate them with you! Did you know Barry was a Mountie posted to Parksville in the mid-eighties? Small world, huh!

    I see the simplifying thing coming. I am slowly evolving my taste and getting rid of other things along the way – it is quite freeing…We got rid of a lot of flotsam and jetsom in a yard sale this summer and slowly and surely, we let things go…..By the time I am 60 I imagine just passing a lot on….

    1. Very small world!! This process is stressful, but I’m hoping the end result will be peaceful. I’ve led many diverse fashion lives…it’s that little bit of Sybil in me 🙂 I should post more about that…maybe when my life settles down.

  21. I love that you had the guts to post a picture of the boots! I’ve never seen anything like them :)…..
    It must feel good to simplify such a large group of things all at once.

  22. You must be so relieved even though that place is beautiful. Having a vacation home is sooo much work, there was a time when we thought we’d like to buy something but it passed, and we love to travel and even better we love staying in nice hotels with other people doing all the work.
    Thanks for the giggle over the boots, wow they are something!
    I think this next chapter will be lots of fun for you, and carefree as well.

    1. Thanks Dani. I totally agree it’s much more fun to let someone else do all the work 😉 Carefree sounds like heaven. I’ve been on a mission to simplify for several years…this is the biggest step.

  23. Our house in the country is being sold with generations of memories and collections to offload. We have had a few successful garage sales which have just touched the sides of our what we have to remove. We are also trying to simplify our life in the city too – with much less success, as I am too sentimental and keep on thinking “what if we may need it some time in the future?”. One yacht , 4 kayaks, one canoe, one Renault Cleo still to go……….and that is just in the garage! Good luck and best wishes with your move.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth!! There is so much involved it does boggle the mind. It’s my husband who keeps thinking…maybe we will need that one day!!

  24. So funny! It must be hard to say goodbye to such a beautiful place. I am sure you will be back often to visit, though.
    Those boots crack me up! They are so, err, unusual they are almost cute!
    Simplifying one’s life does greatly appeal to me. I am always trying to get my husband to promise me we will downsize to a small little bungalow in Sonoma when he retires in a few years – and of course, have a giant estate sale first!

    1. I’m not sure how often we will come back to visit. My daughter is on the mainland, in Vancouver, and that’s where I will probably go. The boots were a scary find…hate to think what I’ve kept in CA. We are looking more and more closely at wine country or Carmel for our next downsize…but that means another move!

  25. Good morning Jennifer, What a gorgeous place and view-I can only imagine how bittersweet it is to pack up and move on. That said I also agree that simplifying has a beauty all it’s own. This place will hold sparkling memories for you and your family forever. I feel that way about the place my parents owned at Lake Tahoe for 20+ years. We had so many family memories but it did become too much for just my mom to handle on her own. It was a relief to simplify for her. The beauty is that the wonderful memories remain in my mind forever. Now for those boots-wow! Bought and sold-the price of fashion. 😉 Great post and I’m working in my PJs this morning too. The best!!
    xx, Heather

    1. ​Simplifying has been my goal for several years…this is one of the first steps. Those boots were just the tips of the ugly iceberg 🙂 Have a a great day!​

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