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Home > Decluttering and...a future without cats?

Decluttering and...a future without cats?

July 22nd, 2012 at 05:12 am

Well, my Open House forays over to my favorite condo complex these last 2 weeks have inspired me to do some decluttering around here in preparation for the day when I move into a smaller living space. (Probably in 2 years time at the earliest since I would need to be 55 to live there.)

There is an adjacent, much smaller complex that's very similar to the one I like, and there is no age restriction there, but the people living at this second complex also can't take part in the many social outlets the first one offers.

While the pricing for the age-restricted one is much lower asking price, substantially higher common charges, around $500 a month for a 2-bedroom, the prices for the 2nd complex are substantially HIGHER but the common charges are much LOWER. So not sure where you'd save money in the long run. Also the garages at the non-age-restricted place are attached while garages are a short walk from your unit in the age-restricted ones.)

So back to decluttering. I have the following for sale on Craig's List:

1. Large teak cabinet with glass doors. $50. This has garnered the most response, but only 1 person has actually come to see it and though she said she would return to buy it in an hour with 2 strong men yesterday, she failed to show up or even bother to let me know she'd changed her mind. And she's on her Smartphone while she's talking to me. Hate that!

2. Old rocking chair, $25. Seat will need to be reupholstered. One woman expressed strong interest, traded emails back and forth, then she said she had a funeral to go and would be in touch. Hmm.

3. Set of 12 acrylic summer drinking glasses, $12

4. Antique cherry pitter, $25

5. Kill-a-Watt Meter, still in the box, $17

6. Set of 3 grilling utensils, s/s and wood, brand new, $10.

I'm also giving away 2 small plastic cat carriers, and supposedly have a taker coming this morning. That one's free, posted on Freecycle.

It's a little annoying dealing with people and their bad manners. Just tell me straight out if you changed your mind. You can even do it over email and I'd be fine with that.

Ah, well. I saw another 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit at the condo place. Just as nice as the first, though this one was priced higher at $200K.

i even liked the realtor too, due to his straight talk to me about how many of the units there have those popcorn ceilings with asbestos, and then explaining a little about the management's policy regarding them. If they start flaking or whatever, they will pay expenses and remove and replace it, but of course you'd have to vacate while they do that. Otherwise, it's painted and remains in place.

The unit had a gorgeous kitchen and nice baths. To me, those are the most important things, along with a new or recently replaced ac/heat system, which, this realtor said, could cost $10K to replace.

All the other stuff would be much easier to fix, like replacing/updating those old ugly closet doors and hardware and lighting fixtures. (The complex was built in the 1960s.)

The only thing that occurred to me with these condos is that there's no good place to put a cat litter box! Here at home, they're in the basement, the perfect spot since the cats scratch and regularly make a mess with the litter. But these condos have no basement, and everything is either wood floor, ceramic tile or carpeting. I'd probably have to dedicate the 2nd bathroom to their stinky litter and be sure to clean it daily. But I really can't stand the smell in the main living area of the house.

Although I love my cats dearly, I do believe that after they pass, I will try my hardest not to have cats anymore. Their hair gets all over the place, and they do sometimes track the litter, not to mention the stinky boxes in the basement. They would definitely scratch up and ruin the new carpets in these condos over time. Luther even likes to scratch the walls (!!) and I have wallpaper here! (Silent scream) I can't have nice drapes on the windows, or linens on the bed, because they scratch them. Right now I have hand towels draped over the arms of my leather armchair becus Luther's nails dug into the leather and left holes there. I spent $1200 on the archair/ottoman set 8 years ago and it kills me to see these things damaged, especially when i no longer have the money to replace them.

I have lived with animals all my life, and I am always so upset when they die that I say "Never again, can't stand the pain." But when Sitka died a few years ago, I was in so much misery that the only thing I knew would help me forget her was...getting 2 new cats. And so it goes.

There is one other concern that another visitor to the open house brought up with me: Would we as relatively young buyers in their 50s feel funny living in a senior complex? She said, Is it going to make me feel old faster to live with a bunch of seniors? I had the same question in my mind, though i figured that eventually, I'd fit right in and that perhaps when i was younger, i might prefer not to take part in as many of the social activities due to a greater age difference.

Update: here is a list of all their clubs!

Adventures in Ideas

Alcoholics Anon.

Ambulance Assoc.

American Legion

American Legion Aux.

Ancient Mariners


Ben Robin Golf Exchange

Bible Talk



Board Games


Bowling, Ten Pins

Bowling,Duck & Drakes

Bridge, Duplicate

Bridge, Wed. Night

Brush & Pencil

Camera Club
Canoe & Kayak

Celtic Connections

Chess Club

Civic Association

Clay Club

Computer Club

Current Events, AM

Concerned Residents Club

Current Events, PM

Dancing, Intíl Folk

Dancing, Tap

Democratic Club

Ethan Allan Library

Garden Plots-Flowers

Garden Plots-Vegetables


German Convers.

Golf, HV Menís Club

Great Decisions


Hadassah Book Disc.

Hiking Club

HV Ladies 9 Hole

Ice Skating

Italian Language

Italian Renaissance

Jewish Culture Club

Joy of Singing

Ladies Who Lunch

Low Vision Support

Macintosh Computer Club

Menís Club


Morning Musicale

New Villagers

Overeaters Anon.

PAC/Concert Society



Pomp. Ladies 9 Hole

Quilt Club


Reading Club

Recorder Group

Republican Club

River Garden Club
Sat. Night Social

Scandinavian Conversation

Senior Advocacy Club

Singers Workshop

Singers, Heritage

Singles Group

Sociable Dinners

Stained Glass Club

Stitch & Chat

Studio II Dark Room

Tai Chi

Stamp and Coin

Tennis Round Robin

Theatre Guild


Wall Street, Heritage

Water Aerobics

Womenís Club

Woodworking & Metal

Writersí Group

Yiddish Reading Circle


24 Responses to “Decluttering and...a future without cats?”

  1. snafu Says:

    I live in a condo complex built in '76 and even though they've re-done roofs, insulation and windows, they are not very energy efficient [expensive heating and electric]. I suggest you make a list of the social programs/equipment available and consider what you'd likely use and enjoy. Your monthly fees include those costs and likely good value as long as you participate in most.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    This is one reason I see huge value in a good realtor - if they know the area well they point out these things. Our realtor told us to avoid several developments with construction defects and problems.

    I've had cats all my life but only one as an adult. I am basically over it. If you told me a decade ago that I'd choose a petless life I would not have believed it. Having pets just does not fit our goal of simplicity. Cats are so easy and my dh is a dog person. I luck out that I never have to live with a dog. My dh feels the same way and no longer wants a higher maintenance dog.

  3. patientsaver Says:

    Snafu, yes, I agree. I have never been much of a "joiner" of clubs and groups and such, but that's one of the reasons I think the complex would be great, becus it almost seems like it would be high school or college again, with all the activities. If I'm still single, I think I would appreciate it very much, although I have to fight a natural inclination to stay home. I was talking to a resident there who was checking out the open house, and as he pointed out, if you're social and think you'd like to do those things, then it's definitely the place for you, but otherwise, I'd probably be better going to the other nearby and similar complex that lacks the social activites, fitness center, etc (they do have a pool) and enjoy the lower common charges.

    When i asked if the sliding glass doors were original, the realtor i liked pointed out that if the seal is broken, the assn. covers that and he showed me how they had inserted another storm window over the original, supposedly for energy efficiency purposes. Same thing with the windows, he said. They will replace them if the seal breaks and you start getting that condensation, but if you just want to upgrade a functional window, then you have to pay.

    MM, i love the companionship of animals, but there again, maybe if i didn't have any i'd have more of a reason to get out and socialize and do other things. My animals have definitely held me back from doing more travel; even with pet sittrs, i worry too much that they'll be bored and climb the walls without me.

  4. Monkey Mama Says:

    @PS - yeah travel is the BIGGIE. I am so stressed about our upcoming trip. We don't travel much, BUT it would be nice to once in a blue moon. Big Grin It's worse lately because the stress when we are gone really affects our cat's health. I am looking for someone to check in on her *every day* this time - usually we just get someone to come clean her litter box and refill her food every 4 days or so. Hopefully fresher food and water and a VERY clean litter box will keep her healthy.

    I Was just popping back on to say Craigslisters drive me NUTS lately. We were looking at some used furniture but many sellers never returned our inquiries (though they kept listing them over and over). When we sold our old couch several people flaked. I was so shocked when someone actually showed up and hauled it away! I honestly and truly believe I only deal with it because my spouse is home full-time. I don't think it would be worth the effort to deal with these flakes while working full-time. It's hard enough to get people to show up when you say, "Any time - I am always home."

  5. ceejay74 Says:

    We have one small bathroom in our condo, and it's the only place that we could fathom having the litter box. At least we have air fresheners in that room anyway! But yeah, when our cat takes a smelly dump, we all know it almost immediately! Wink Luckily we have flushable litter and can get rid of it right away.

  6. patientsaver Says:

    Oh, flushable litter would make things much easier to deal with. What brand do you use and where do you buy it?

    Sometimes, I stop to think about what a pain it is to haul 44 lb boxes of cat litter (best price, from Costco) home, and then haul to the landfill smaller bags of used cat litter, it's just ....well, it's a lot of work and upkeep, along with all the other stuff already mentioned...

  7. CB in the City Says:

    I am facing the cat pan problem, too, when I look at condos. I'm pretty lucky here in my apartment; there is a closet in the bathroom that is a good fit for the box and it's kind of tucked away. I do have to clean it often, but I should be doing that anyway.

    I remember when my mother went into a retirement home that had lots and lots of social activities going on. She tried a few, but ended up not taking part in any of them. She was a person who preferred close relationships and one-on-one interactions and didn't get much pleasure out of the social scene. I always wished she would do more but it just wasn't her way. She was happy, though. I guess another factor was her hearing. She had very poor hearing so groups were painful to her. Anyway, I guess what I'm saying, is that if you are also more of an introvert than an extrovert, you might find you do not enjoy the social part of it, and it would be a waste of money.

  8. Ima saver Says:

    I have never had an indoor cat and I would not enjoy litter boxes. I am a dog lover and I have had a poodle for over 40 years. ( Not the same one, of course)
    They do not shed and potty train in 2 weeks, they are so smart. My Molly is a mali poo. Part maltese and part poodle. She is so sweet and cute. How about getting a dog next time?

  9. gattaca Says:

    Also be careful of being one of the young people in the complex. You will be pulled into taking care of some of the older folks.

  10. ceejay74 Says:

    patientsaver, it's called "The World's Best Cat Litter" (LOL), and it's corn-based. I think it's kinda expensive, but at least you can find $3 coupons online pretty regularly to offset the cost, and once in a while a full rebate (though we never got the rebate last time we tried that).

    It clumps well, so we just scoop out the poop or pee and flush it right down. That's one good thing about having the box in the bathroom.

  11. snafu Says:

    Please understand that it's so expensive and exhausting to pack-up, move, and find the right place for all the things you love and use, there is no point in hauling stuff to a new digs only to discover you must get rid of so much more

    No matter the hassle, if you're planning to move you must release extraneous stuff. If you don't love it and haven't used it in 18 months, it must be re-gifted, sold, donated or trashed. Items not used for more than 12 months get a short reprieve into a box/laundry basket to see if you need to go get it! I suggest dumping all small kitchen gadgets/utensils in a shoe box, anything you use gets returned to the drawer. A pkg. of small, stationary dots or small square of painter's tape on furniture that fits makes the decision for you.

    Next time you go to view an apt., take a tape measure to measure the closet. The rule is 12 hangers for each foot of rod length.

    Sorry it sounds harsh but it's realistic and wa-aaay easier long term.

  12. snafu Says:

    Pricing stuff is tricky. We're told to price used merchandise at what we would pay/offer a seller. The original cost is irrelevant, gone, not recoverable

    Is Kijjiji + name of your city/community or Buy 'n' Sell popular on-line in your community? Any other outlets?

    What a diverse list of activities at that complex! Are they all active? Is there a pet club? Thinking well into the future, forcing yourself to get involved now has big benefits later with people who care about you and interesting activities nearly at your doorstep.

  13. patientsaver Says:

    Snafu, all excellent advice. Yes, I would hate to drag stuff to the new place only to realize later that i don't have room for it. that's why I'm starting to declutter now, more seriously. I already made a list of all major pieces of furniture, chairs, tables, etc, going room to room, and then made 2 columns next to each: keep, and sell/donate/give away.

    I really want to winnow/edit down to only things that are used. It coincides so well with my personal philosphy anyway so it's rather an enjoyable exerecise.

    I will have to check to see if those sites are availiable in my area.

    As far as I know, all the clubs are active. Don't forget, there are 2,500 units, so assuming about half are husband/wife and maybe the other half are single, you're looking at a community of 4,000 people or so. I'm surprised they don't have a cooking club, though.

    Ugh, now I've got 2 differing opinions here about which community would be better, the cheaper one with fewer activities (they have a pool and a few picnic type things in summer, but that's about it) or this one. This one also, if i haven't mentioned it already, charges a one-time $1,500 fee which largley goes to pay for the multi-million dollar, state of the art fitness center they just got. Which I would definitely use, by the way.

    I would like to think i would force myself to try out a few things and then hopefully "connect" with a few people enough to make me want to return. usually what happens is i'll go something, like the book club here in town, once or twice but then I'll drop out out of laziness or simply not having a strong feeling about it either way.

    So yes, I want to actively declutter in a meaningful way and I know I will do a pretty good job of that. I have already earmarked certain pieces of furniture to give to my sister as Xmas gifts, since i can't afford to buy gifts now anyway. They are her style and I know she'll like them.

    Like, right now, I actually have THREE desks. An old mahogany tongue-and-groove desk that's beat up but which i use every day to pay bills. My computer desk, and a pretty secretary desk I've yet to use, though it looks nice.

    I plan to get rid of/sell the beat up mahogany desk. It's compact and has a nice shape if someone wanted to refinish it. Maybe I can get $50 for it. However, I don't think i should try to sell it now as I do use it every day! (It has much more storage than the secretary.)

  14. patientsaver Says:

    Gattaca, that doesn't really worry me too much. Becus i was very close to my grandparents, I've always sort of liked seniors and feel sort of protective of them anyway. If I didn't want to help someone out, I just wouldn't.

  15. patientsaver Says:

    Ceejay, thanks for the litter name, if i end up moving to this complex while my cats are still with me, i think it would be worth the extra money to be able to flush it rather than haul it out to the trash all the time.

    I did once see a condo where someone had a little cat door installed on an interior closet door, a small closet that she didn't otherwise use for anything else. she had the litter box in there and i thought it was a great idea because you could keep the door closed and not have to look at it, plus the smell was better contained.

    I know they make those litter boxes that come with a cover, and i used one once, but then i read it was bad to do so becus it allows the ammonia to build up inside and could actually affect the cat's health to breath that in.

  16. snafu Says:

    Sorry, I'm confused... you don't use your pretty secretary desk or computer desk but will try to sell the mahogany desk you use every day? Why not give the desk two coats of paint with a small foam roller. It's truly an easy DIY project.

    Alternatively, do you use and genuinely need everything in the mahogany desk? Would you be willing to transfer needed items to the 'pretty' desk and try it out for 30 days?

  17. patientsaver Says:


    I DO use the old mahogany desk and I DO use the computer desk every day; it's just the pretty secretary desk I don't really use.

    I was actually painting 2 other items today, a small garden bench and a small side table. Latex doesn't always dry right; I've had cases where it remained tacky long after it was painted, and then stuff stuck to it when i thought it was finally dry. I've read that to avoid that, you should use oil based paint, which I could try, I suppose, but since I don't need to keep all 3 desks, the idea was to keep the 2 best ones. the computer desk is biggest, with multiple drawers and shelves and the secretary desk I could use in place of the old mahogany desk, which i really just use to pay bills and stuff. I will have to find other storage when i get rid of it though. the pretty desk doesnt' have any drawers, just a few smallish shelves.

  18. Dido Says:

    Have you tried a litter locker? like a diaper genie for cat litter. The combination of the Breeze litter system and a litter locker makes for very easy low smell maintenance.

    To me, the solution to worries about having pets mess up nice material possessions is simply not to have the nice material possessions. Based on the sheer impact on psychological well being, pets will do you a lot more good than a nice sofa.

    And cats are so relatively easy compared to dogs.

    Dogs do, alas, take more work. (but worth it, IMHO).

  19. patientsaver Says:

    Well, that's a second great cat product I knew nothing about. I see it got really great reviews on Amazon, but people didn't like the cost of the refil bags, although several people posted suggestions on how to get around that.

    While the corn cob litter is also expensive, I think i'd prefer that method becus it would also save you the trouble of having to haul heavy, smelly cat litter out to the trash bins or landfill.

    Very interesting....thanks.

  20. snafu Says:

    For future projects...you might use undercoat like KILZ or the expensive Benjamin Moore Undercoat.

    Shelves on your desk could function as 'drawers' with attractive DIY or Martha Stewart style fabric covered boxes or plastic bins/boxes from Discount or Staples. [Sorry my MacBook refusing to do a link today]

  21. Dido Says:

    Actually, if you use the litter locker the poop is well enough sealed that it isn't smelly (of course, I wouldn't leave it in a hot car for hours and expect the car to smell fresh, but for a trip out to the dump, you won't notice. And the pads for the Breeze...I seal each one in a trash bag and take them out once a week and notice no smell.

    I used to use a corn product (Clump 'N Flush), and the Breeze clay pellets are much less messy on the floor.

    Also if you plan to flush, it depends how good your system is. My old place could handle the flushing but my current place couldn't, which is why I changed systems.

    The replacement price is high but it depends how much you use. When I had two *healthy* cats, I used 1 pad about every 5 days or so and just replaced the clay pellets as needed (doing a complete clean out of the system and replacement maybe once every 6-8 months). The replacement products are available in bulk thru Subscribe 'N Save on Amazon.dom (and you can buy the replacement bags for the litter locker in bulk but not subscribe 'n save) there too.

    Probably the overall cost is a bit more, but it's not huge, and for me, the fact that the pellets are less messy on the floor than the corn makes that system preferable, so that I wouldn't change back even if my plumbing could handle the corn.

  22. Monkey Mama Says:

    We did flushable litter in our condo, too. Very convenient. {We just don't really have a convenient location at our current home, and I was a little extra concerned what it did to the septic system when we bought our house - absolutely no facts or reason to be - I was just a little skeptical so abandoned the flushable litter. I should probably rethink that - it was nice and easy}.

    We kept the cat litter in the guest bath, but the thing is we didn't particularly entertain much when we lived in such a small space. Could be unsettling for guests...

  23. baselle Says:

    Some of the shelters around here are encouraging pet foster care, in which you would host a cat or two for a little while, then when they go to their forever home you would get a new cat or take a break from hosting cats. Usually the more adoptable ones you foster because the shelter would want you to provide this service and it keeps the more adoptable ones adoptable. Plus you clearly have the skills to host cats!

  24. jewels3 Says:

    We live in an apartment (1300 sq ft) & keep our litter box in the 2nd bathroom. I scoop every day and there is no cat box smell in the house.

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