It’s been about a year-and-a-half since we downsized from our house in Petaluma to our condo in Cotati. The move reduced our living space by half and the size of our yard went from a third of an acre to a single potted plant by our front door. Do I miss it the house and the maintenance that went with it? Not at all, especially at this time of the year when I can breeze past the aisles of Round-Up, Preen, deck stain, fertilizer, hoses, clippers, gloves, and all other sorts of garden necessities at Costco and know that I’m not going to have to spend time or money on any of it.

When we moved in 2011, we got rid of literally a ton of books, sold off a couple of rooms of furniture and emptied out a three-car garage. And now we are in the process of getting even leaner and meaner when it comes to the amount of stuff we have because in a little more than a month, we’re going to be moving again.

This move isn’t going to be as traumatic or dramatic as moving out of a house that we lived in for 18 years and raised our three children in. Also, this is a move that we’re very happy about because unlike selling our house, the move isn’t being forced by circumstances.

We’re going to move to the condo directly across the driveway from us. The owner is moving back to her home country of New Zealand; she’s happy to have renters who she knows are nose-to-the-grindstone types and we’re delighted because we’re going to lighten up, in several ways.

The condo that we live in now is cave-like because it only has windows on the west-facing walls similar to a hotel room that only has windows on one side. It’s no wonder Steve says it feels like we live at “Extended Stay Cotati.” I really didn’t notice the darkness when we first considered renting it; probably because it was a cloudy day in November and with the faux fireplace on, it seemed cozy rather and claustrophobic. But as we’ve lived here, I’ve really missed the light that came streaming through the banks of windows in our old house. All those arched windows were a pain to buy window coverings for, but they certainly prevented Seasonal Affective Disorder from setting in.

The condo that we’re moving to has a sliding glass door out to a little patio area and a window over the kitchen sink. The whole place seems bright and cheery. In contrast, our 16 year-old daughter says our current condo seems like a place where people have given up…she stopped short of saying “where they go to die.” But she’s right, it does feel very dark and heavy.

Our upcoming move is another chance for a new beginning and a fresher, lighter outlook. I can’t wait.