Right-Sizing Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

unnamed“It’s been such an honor living with these beautiful creatures whom I have grown to  understand so well.”


Downsizing? Seasonal rental for the winter? Having gone back and forth between New York City and our farm for more than 30 years, I worried that staying away from the farm for months at a time would be incredibly difficult for me. First of all, we have lots of friends there. We are both on boards there. I love my horses and love to be with them (and vice versa) and didn’t want to give up that amazing excitement that bubbles up from your core when you get to your road and can’t wait to get “home,” can’t wait to check on the horses and let them know that their cookie friend who loves them so much is back. It’s been such an honor living with these beautiful, wonderful creatures whom I have grown to know and understand so well. When my husband offered to get me a horse (knowing how much I loved to ride) when I was 40, I asked, “Are you sure you want to open that Pandora’s box?” He said yes. But you simply can’t have one horse. They are not like dogs. They are herd animals and flight animals and need more companions to be happy. Take note: Horses can live a long time if well cared for, making downsizing a rather complicated task.

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It suddenly dawned on me that if I loved and needed this beautiful place we had taken 30 years to “complete,” maybe others would like it, too. We decided that we would try to rent it out—not for a season, but for three to five days at a time. We went through weeks and weeks of getting rid of nonessentials, cleaning out closets, taking valuables back to the city (only to find that all the electronics we brought back to New York got wet when a flood in the apartment above caused extensive damage to our apartment).

wvfc sandy right sizing pix only6Sleeping Loft in the Tree House.

We then joined one of the private home rental groups that are all over the Internet and, with both dread and excitement, listed our home along with lots of pictures in the hope of attracting like-minded individuals who would cherish our home, enjoy our horses, hiking trails, skating pond, mountain views. At first we got bombarded with requests and I started saying “no” much more than “yes.” I needed to be sure people would take good care, not “take” any of the hundreds of books in the library or other things that had been collected over 30 years. By being careful and understanding who we were renting to, we have rented our home five times so far (in two months). The people have been wonderfully appreciative and written beautiful reviews. Now we have actually expanded the Tree House by putting in a full bathroom (so you don’t have to go outside and down the stairs to take a shower). We intend to rent that as well, as a romantic getaway for a couple. And we can stay there if the main house is rented and we have to be there at the same time.

This was our way of right-sizing for right now. Instead of downsizing, we actually added to our property, but added to our income at the same time, and added jobs in an area that badly needed them. It feels good to let others discover nature and the peace and quiet that has nurtured me for so long. Sharing with people who have chosen a much more urban lifestyle is a way of helping people connect to the earth in a real way so that more people recognize how valuable our natural world is to our future survival. And it lets me continue to be surrounded by a place that has rooted me in both a spiritual and real way to this earth, to this place, to this time.


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  • Carol March 19, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Nicely – very nicely – done, Sandy. And, of course, a creative solution!

  • Jeanie March 18, 2016 at 11:41 am

    What a wonderful story! I would love to know more about how to rent your place.