My Downsizing Frenzy   18 comments

The following is a copy of the e-mail letter I have sent to family, friends, and colleagues. And now to you blogging friends.

Little did I know back when I made plans for Spring and Summer, 2018, that I would be involved in planning a move and preparing my home for sale. But it happened that the senior living complex I had been watching in its early approval stage would be coming to fruition. As it turned out, I have committed to a two-bedroom apartment (the Cosco) on the southeast corner as I requested. If you are interested in more detail, just click on

To say that it made for a very busy life is an understatement. From the time I knew I’d be moving, I began giving things away. First my Forgiveness library went to Luther Seminary, followed closely by my Psychology of Women library and then the “Job/Mrs Job” collection. But there was so much more to do.

To leap to the end of the story — Thinking it would take a while for my townhome to sell, I put it on the market just before I went off for a week of studying writing with MaryCarroll Moore at Madeline Island School of the Arts from July 30thto August 3d – fabulous course, by the way, with a super teacher. I expected that would make it easier for the agent to show my townhome without my presence. But things moved a little faster than anticipated when I received a full price cash offer on the first day it was listed. To say that hastened things is an understatement. I returned home from the class on August 3d and began the intricate, somewhat frantic process of emptying my home to prepare for an August 30th closing. I won’t keep you in suspense. I did make it to the closing on time, though I feared at many points that it wouldn’t be accomplished.

But I can’t move into my new place until November 26that the earliest. Ah! So where would I live in the meantime? Answer, two lovely neighbors, one taking me in for the month of September and another for the month of October. That left November. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to take my passport out of my file cabinet that would be stored with the moving company until my move into the Waters. My son Doug found us a bargain Holland America cruise to South America for November 3 to 19.  That gives us a day at home (his house) after our return before taking off for our annual Thanksgiving weekend at Cove Point on the shores of Lake Superior.

Breathless yet? There’s more. Not knowing I’d be making this move, we had earlier scheduled a Viking River Cruise to Russia on May 16 – 28, and a cruise of the United Kingdom on Holland America line from June 19 – July 15.

On August 23d the moving company came to get my “Waters” furniture for storage and other things to go to Lisa’s in Williamsburg the next time a truck made the trip there. On the 24th,whole sections of the house were cleared, helped by the energy of Doug and Lisa. Along the way, things went to the shelves Doug had built for me in his basement, to the garage across the way where I’m staying for September, and to the guest room that would be my home for the month. And thank goodness for the friends who helped move my clothes and other essentials to my temporary digs there.

On Saturday the 25ththe lady in charge of the estate sale made my living room look like a department store with anything that I was leaving behind. Sunday the 26thI was advised to stay away, so I had a lovely shopping day and dinner out with my hostess neighbor. On the 27th I panicked – very close to meltdown — at the sight of all that was left. But thank goodness people came to remove the unsold books for the fair to be held in September at the Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian church. I found someone who was happy to receive the gift of my piano and people who were willing to facilitate its move there. I invited friends in on the day after the sale to take what they wanted, and there were even a few more big pieces sold. Thank goodness, during this whole process, the sun shone bright and dry. On the 27thI had a potlach[i]for the neighbors. I provided space in the garage and paper plates, napkins, and things to be used in serving the potluck dishes they brought; Their job was to take away as many things as they would like to have from the remnants of the sale. Not surprisingly people were reluctant to take things for free, so I had to hound them to do their job and take stuff. Wouldn’t you know, that’s when it decided to pour, but the rain did stop and we had a nice time.

On the 28th, the “Moving Forward 2day” estate sale folks took much of what was left to include in later sales, and the manager of RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) took most of what was left. On the 29th, a fabulous cleaning-and-you-name-it person cleared everything else out to Good Will and other sources and cleaned the house from top to bottom.

We made it to the August 30th closing! I am now free of home ownership.

From the time I knew I’d be selling, I felt no sadness or nostalgia, only the sense that I was keeping the place beautiful for potential new owners. The hardest part was clearing out my study, leaf bags full of records to be shredded, piles of things recycled that I had once used for my classes, workshops and other presentations — most seeming rather quaint now after so many years have passed.. And, of course, holding out enough for daily life in my temporary homes.

I told my daughter I think I’m suffering mild PTSD. She says it can only be TSD. It hasn’t been long enough to call it “post.” But even those sleep destroying dreams of facing the pile of things to be sorted are dissipating. I’m liking being free of home ownership and mortgages.

I hope this will explain my absence from almost everything, but now I’m making my way back – and eager to resume work on “My Father’s House,” after all the excellent feedback and suggestions I got at Madeline Island.

I guess a good title for this would be “A downsizing frenzy.”

p.s., I now know that – if all goes as planned – I’ll be moving into the Waters on Monday, December 3. As one might expect, they can’t have everyone moving in at the same time, so we are scheduled two-a-day, based on who gets to make the arrangements first. I was a little too slow to make November 26. At any rate, I expect to be living at The Waters beginning December 3.

Then maybe I can get back to entering here the comments that have only been rattling around my head.




“among North American Indian peoples of the northwest coast, an opulent ceremonial feast at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige.” (Forget the wealth and prestige part.)

Posted September 16, 2018 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

18 responses to “My Downsizing Frenzy

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  1. Exciting story, with many close calls along the way. Congratulations for having such great Kids and great friends who stepped in with creative solutions.

    It must feel like a relief to have the future figured out and on the calendar. Here is to a successful moving day and lovely travels.

    Love and congratulations. Babs and Camille.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Wow Mona! I am exhausted just reading that! Congratulations with the new home, and may everything go smoothly. All the best to you!

  3. Its always a delight to hear from you and read what its going on in your life. PHEW!! You keep quite a schedule.

    I am glad you are well and thriving, and looking forward to the next step, while staying creatively busy. I wouldn’t have imagined anything else!

    You remain a real inspiration.



    PS—–what a mess we’re in…don’t’ you agree!
    • Thanks, Lucy. And Oh my yes. It’s hard to maintain optimism, though I do expect we will rise out of the depths eventually. I hope I’ll be around to see it. In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to maintain my optimism. Part of that is knowing there are people like you.

  4. You’ve been through a frenzy and are still in TPD! I misread the word ‘potlatch’ for ‘pavlatch’ (Czech word for balcony), as in Franz Kafka’s Letter to My Father. Have you read the Kafka letter? Anyway, so pleased for your, Mona, that you’re moving forward with enthusiasm in this new adventure.

  5. Mona – Wishing you every happiness in your new home. Best, Pat

    On Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 5:16 PM monagustafsonaffinito wrote:

    > Mona Gustafson Affinito posted: “The following is a copy of the e-mail > letter I have sent to family, friends, and colleagues. And now to you > blogging friends. Little did I know back when I made plans for Spring and > Summer, 2018, that I would be involved in planning a move and preparin” >

  6. Mona, you are one of the most generous friends I have ever known in my life. I love the new piano, and will forever be grateful for receiving this gift. God really does work in mysterious ways, as I never thought that I would have another piano in my home after losing the one we once had. I’m so glad that we became friends through our past and present membership in Shepherd of the Hill Choir; the years have passed so quickly, but you keep amazing me on how well organized with each passing year. Thank you so much Mona, and Jeff also sends his thanks too. We are blessed, and so are you!

    Theron Shotley (ted)
  7. Hi Mona,

    Thanks for sharing your successful downsizing story. Wow, what a story! You are an inspiration to me and my husband.

    I wrote to you in last May when I returned to Henderson after spending time with my aunt in Portland. We decided to hold off renting out our house in Sun City Anthem, an active 55+ community in Henderson. I am currently back in Portland staying with my aunt. I will go back to CT on 9/25/18. I am scheduled to take my national Geriatrics Pharmacy Specialty recertification exam on 10/6/18 in North Haven. I was debating if I shall keep my certification but decided to take the recertification exam as I may consider to work as a part time consultant later.

    My husband and I decided to update our house in Cheshire and put it on the market next Spring. It was a hard decision for us. We might sell our house in Henderson as the area does not offer the best eye care or health care in general. We are still searching for a place for our retirement. Our ideal place for retirement will be a place with easy access to good medical care (due to my normal tension glaucoma and other conditions ), safe, low cost of living, close proximity to an airport, and a place that offers outdoor and indoor activities.

    Congratulations and best wishes for your new home. Good luck with the transition in the next few months!

    Love, Amy

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Thanks for the good wishes Amy, and the details of your plans. I gather your husband is doing well — at least I hope so, And I wish for you all the medical blessings you hope for. Also, I think it is wise to stay qualified. I made the same decision about renewing my license. Please keep me posted.


  9. Every time I think of moving this how I envision it Yikes! Enjoy your new place.


    • I forgot to mention that I had all my Christmas presents wrapped and boxed to go to my daughter’s. No doubt I’ll add a few more on my cruise. Anyway, thanks for the good wishes. And I don’t think it needs to be so hectic for everyone. The folks who bought my place are having a leisurely move in, given that they have still not sold their house — and seem to be in no panic about it. The key, of course, is to start early, which I thought I had done. But the fact of putting things in storage until the next place is ready does make it harder.

      Bottom line – rejoice! It’s done. And the rains have come to Chaska, but it remained dry and sunny all the while I was unloading. And the guy who has my piano is ravingly happy with it. All is good.

      Love to you.

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