YES! We did it! The house is empty, keys are turned over, and we’ve moved into the RV. Doug will officially retire in two short weeks!
The journey from 2400 sq feet to 379 sq feet can be summed up as “stuff, stuff and MORE stuff.” Once you get the stuff, you have to store the stuff, then you must insure the stuff, maintain the stuff, repair the stuff, clean the stuff, move the stuff…whew! Stuff = work.
Why did we have such a large house anyway, for just the two of us? Two words: stuff storage. And three more words: three car garage. So we invested in the large, unnecessary house and lived in one quarter of it, but our stuff had a home! And then, of course, there’s the REST of the stuff in a storage unit at $100/month because it won’t fit in said three-car garage!
As I researched and read about this new life we were signing up for, one common thread was: DO NOT KEEP A STORAGE UNIT, it will prove to be a waste of money. One couple had been on the road for 6 years and paid for storage the entire time. Finally, they were ready to let go and cleaned it out, sold it off, dumped it. That stuff that was too precious to let go of six years ago was now just a financial drain, and had been for years. NO. STORAGE.
Doug was the most anxious that we wouldn’t be able to get rid of all our stuff, probably because most of it was his: the many toys in the garage, a huge gun collection with loading area and bench, kayaks, bike lifts, jeep top hoist, gun safe, nine storage cabinets, yard equipment, air compressor…it goes on and on and on. We lived like many other Americans with much more than we ever needed. I read somewhere that having more than you need is truly the definition of insanity, especially when so many others do without.
THE (mostly) EASY STUFF: We picked April 22, 2016 as Doug’s last day of work. So the previous September, (to beat the winter cold) we started having huge moving sales. (Please don’t ask about the super nice gas grill he sold for $25. It’s an argument we’ve chosen to walk away from.) After two weekends, and lots of Craigslist ads, IT WAS GONE. The bed we were sleeping in and the table we were eating on were both sold to nice people who said we could use them until April. By October, we felt like we were camping in our own house. Doug felt much better. I wanted s’mores by our fire, but, since it’s gas, I will wait.
When you decide to downsize/minimize there is no longer a question “Hmm, should I buy that?” Basically, if it’s not consumable you don’t need it, and in fact can’t have it! It becomes very freeing, very simple, to live like our ancestors and focus only on survival.
THE HARD STUFF: Family pictures, old letters, the inherited items from deceased parents. What do you do with those? I must say this was/is hard. We did some practical things to help us through: 1) Scanned/copied pictures and videos into CD’s and jump drives. 2) Took pictures of items that were precious. 3) Gave to family any items that were sentimental. 4) Made photo albums/scrap books of pictures we wanted to preserve in original form.
The day we moved into the RV was a true reality check; it was also my 50th birthday! I was down to two piles: 1) must take it, and 2) would like to take it if there’s room. Pile number two became pile 3) donate.
Counting down the days!