Let It Go

Perhaps it was the length of time that it took for us to sell our house. Lulled into a little bit of complacency. Everything seemed to be as it had always been. Life on automatic pilot.

When we sold our house earlier this month, we knew that we would have a lot of work ahead of us to downsize. Part of that work involves a significant change to the amount of stuff that we have been carrying with us through our married lives.

On a deeper level there is much, much more going on.

I have been really struggling with this part of the change. And I know why. I am scared about my mortality.

When I hit 60 years of age earlier this month, I was in a bit of shock. Where did all the time go?

As we begin this process of downsizing, I am asking different questions. Looking at all our stuff, it is easy to get confused about where we are going to next. Was this stuff what my life was all about? How did I get here? Is here where I wanted to be?

And there is sadness. Even to the point of tears.

I did not expect this part of the journey to be so challenging.

Peter Walsh wrote a book called Let It Go, Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life. I picked it up last week and read it cover to cover in one sitting. Recommended if you are going through downsizing or know someone who might be starting to downsize.

Too many people sleepwalk through their days, worrying about the future and regretting the past. As they fantasize and catastrophize, they’re missing vast swaths of their real lives, which are going on without them. Surrounding yourself with meaningless clutter further blocks out the real world and further impedes you from being in your life.

You now have a marker that serves as a starting point of a new life… pack up the possessions that are meaningful to you, and go have an adventure!

Downsizing

106 days.

A bit more than 15 weeks.

Taking out vacations and offsites that were already planned and booked? We probably have less than 84 days or 12 weeks.

We have to downsize our home in about three months. And it is time for us to take the plunge.

This will be our general approach:

  • We will start with sorting sessions. Daily. Probably for an hour or two.
  • We will start with the rooms that have the least amount of stuff. Hopefully that will allow us to see some quick results and keep us motivated. Those rooms will become the storage depots for when we tackle the rooms with the most stuff.
  • We will put our stuff into four piles: toss, sell, donate, keep.
  • We will finish one room before moving on to another.

Given our minimalist objective and moving into a much smaller space, we won’t be keeping very much stuff.

Home Free

“We’ve sold our house,” I told my sister and her partner. “We will soon be homeless.”

“You mean, you will soon be home free!”

Our house did take a very long time to sell. And I understand why. It is an expensive home and it is in the country. We had at least 40 showings over the past year. We were getting ready to leave for a vacation last week when we received the first offer.

Finally.

After one year on the market, we finally have an offer.

The offer was full of conditions though. Home inspection. Water inspection. Septic tank inspection. Ability to insure the property. And, the one we did not like to see, 90 days to sell their existing house.

We cut that down to 45 days and we had to go through multiple counters to include our exit clause, namely, if we receive another offer, then this buyer would have 48 hours to firm up and remove all conditions.

Well, we never thought that we would have multiple offers on the house. Sure enough, a few days later, while we were on vacation, another family bid on the house. Firm. No conditions.

The original buyers were notified that they had 48 hours to firm up. They elected to firm the deal, remove all their conditions and this rather major change in our lives has now hit home, so to speak.

Our original plan was to head out and travel full-time in the Castaway. However, Canadian RV sites, unlike the United States, are not quite as accommodating to Class A motorhomes especially for those of us wanting to either full-time or most-time in our coaches. We have so many choices in the States that we are really excited to be snowbirding in that country during our retirement years in the Castaway.

Canadian RV parks are, well, not all that nice when compared to some of the beautiful RV resorts we have enjoyed stateside. Our plan is to improvise and buy a small parcel of land and build a nice RV site or perhaps buy a cottage where we can spend our six months in the nice Canadian weather with our coach parked on the property and then head south once the weather turns cold.

The big challenge is where do we go when the house closes at the end of June? Do we buy the property now — it seems too rushed — or do we rent somewhere and give ourselves a bit of time?

I won’t be retiring for another 12 to 18 months so I think it makes sense to rent for a bit.

I have a feeling of panic as I think about all of the work ahead of us to clear our house of stuff and to get ready for this next chapter in our lives.

I’m also a bit worried about finding a place for the next year or so. Very tight rental market in our area.

Exciting and scary.

Spring

With an unusually mild winter here in our part of Canada, Lorraine and I have started to think about bringing the Castaway out of storage.

We inspected the coach at our storage site just last week. I have been dropping by every six to eight weeks to check all the systems and to make sure that the batteries are topped up with distilled water. The coach looks great and the energy management system is working perfectly.

We are building our post-winterizing checklist for our coach which includes a service trip to our dealer, the Hitch House, in mid-April. We’ll be leaving the coach with them for a couple of weeks to do the service work as well as to perform the recall and a few other minor warranty items.

Our weather in February has been more like what we would expect to see in mid-March. Pleasant, spring-like conditions. It has us thinking about some of the wonderful memories we enjoyed on our coach from last year. One of our favourites was staying at the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort in the upper peninsula of Michigan, a beautiful resort property about a two-day drive from our home in Canada. The picture above was taken from that stay. We are going back to Petoskey again this year, although this time we will be staying at Hearthside Grove.

We are hoping that our home finally sells this year. We have had it on the market since last March. I had expected somewhere between a year or two to sell the property. It is a wonderful home but it is an expensive country estate which narrows down the pool of potential buyers considerably.

When the house does sell, we will finally begin the process of getting ready to do a lot more travelling with our coach. We are quite anxious to make the transition to our new life. It may take another year or so.

Airstream Ranch

Somewhere along the I-4, between Tampa and Orlando, sits this monument to Airstream Trailers. A bit of a twist on the concept of Stonehenge.

From Atlas Obscura:

Frank Bates, the owner of a nearby RV dealership, envisioned Airstream Ranch as a tribute to the iconic company’s 75th anniversary. He was inspired by the similar Cadillac Ranch installation in Amarillo, Texas which consists of a row of the classic cars sticking out of the ground in the same fashion. The Airstream Ranch sees eight silver bullets of the open road jammed into the earth at an angle not unlike a chromed out set of giant’s dominoes. Thousands of visitors frequent the attraction each year to marvel at the odd automobiles, but not everyone is so tickled.

This display of old Airstream Trailers was put together in 2007 near Bates’ RV dealership in Dover, Florida. He has a dealership near some of our family in Venice, Florida

The Airstream Ranch is now being dismantled. Might be able to pick up a used Airstream for a pretty good price.