Tribune Print Share Text

‘It worked!’

Plano couple offers five tips for downsizing

Created date

July 5th, 2016
Highland Springs residents Ann and David Gordon.

Ann and David Gordon downsized from a 2,400-square-foot house in Plano, Tex., to a two-bedroom, two-bath Somerton-style apartment home at Highland Springs, an Erickson Living community in North Dallas.

Step inside Ann and David Gordon’s lovely apartment home at Highland Springs, and the first thing you’ll notice is the natural light spilling into the open, airy space.

Look a little more closely, and you’ll find intriguing furniture pieces and wall art, carefully curated from their home in Plano, Tex.

“We love living here,” says Ann, who retired in 2013 as director at Texas Woman’s University’s School of Management. “It’s peaceful, calming, and a reflection of us.”

‘Cried for three days’

Ann’s present serenity belies the whirlwind that ignited in September 2015, when she and David learned that a two-bedroom, two-bath Somerton-style apartment with a dining room, den, and balcony was available at Highland Springs.

“Right after we reserved this apartment, I went home and took a look at our house and all our stuff and cried for three days,” says Ann. “I wondered what we had done.”

David, a retired business professor at the University of Dallas, was a little more pragmatic about the move.

“He likes anything new,” says Ann. “And deep down, I knew it was the right decision. We had an older home with a pool and a large backyard. I felt like I was constantly supervising contractors. Once I stopped crying, I told myself to get busy.”

Ann and David had nine offers the first day their Plano home hit the market. They sold it for more than their asking price and moved to Highland Springs in October 2015.

Now, with the move behind them, Ann and David share five downsizing tips that helped them through the transition.

1. Eliminate redundancy.

“I worked with Stacey Rayburn from Organized Chaos With a Twist in the past to help me organize my kitchen,” says Ann. “I called her again when I knew we were moving, and she helped me see that I didn’t need three mixers or the twelve sets of dishes I had inherited from family members.”

2. Consider what you love.

David and Ann walked through each room in their Plano home and asked themselves two questions: “What do you love?” and “What do you need for function?”

“I realized that I don’t have to keep things just because someone gave them to me,” says Ann. “It’s the people who are important, not their gifts. It simplified things tremendously to focus on the things we loved and needed.”

3. Bring a few favorite pieces from a collection.

Ann collected Native American pottery. Knowing that the entire collection would clutter their apartment, Ann chose three of her favorite pieces to display in their new home. Likewise, she kept one set of dishes, passed down from her mother, and let the rest go to the estate sale.

4. Enlist the help of experts.

Ann and David worked with Cindy Gay, personal moving consultant at Highland Springs, who visited them in their Plano home to help measure furniture and decide which pieces they would bring with them.

“Cindy measured our furniture and drew up a picture of where each piece would go in the apartment,” says Ann. “It helped tremendously to see the layout.”

Gay offers complimentary coordination of moving services, including referrals to preferred real estate agents, estate sale planners, and moving companies for anyone moving to Highland Springs.

5. Enjoy the end result.

“Cindy recommended Caring Transitions [senior relocation specialists], and they were invaluable,” says Ann. “They set up everything in our apartment and even made the bed. It was beautiful to see how they presented our things. Once we got here, I sat down, looked around, and thought, “It worked!”