Downsizing

This, apparently, is what downsizing looks like. An older couple with a few boxes and a plant. I found the photo online here.

Downsizing as an incredible amount of work. I fully appreciate why some people decide not to move. It really is a lot of effort.

Our house is empty now, for the most part. Still a fair amount of stuff to work through yet before we close the doors for the last time at the end of June.

I have found that downsizing can be a very stressful and emotional exercise.

The toughest room for me to deal with was my recording studio.

Last week it looked like this:

And now?

Sold.

Waiting for the new owner to come and pick it up. Like most of the other stuff in our house.

I’ve told Lorraine that I am very excited about what happens next. And I am trying to manage my emotions as we go through the process of getting ready to go out on the road and experience new adventures.

The time between now and then? Well, let’s just say that I will be happy when it is all behind us.

Maybe like the couple in the photo above. That part of the job looks finished for them.

Home Free

Our house sold on my 60th birthday in March of this year. I was having lunch with my sister, her partner and Lorraine in Arizona. I told them the news and I said that Lorraine and I were now homeless.

My sister’s partner corrected me. “You are now home free!”.

We approached our real estate agent in September of 2015 about selling our home. At the time I thought that it would take a couple of years for us to sell the house. We lived in the country, the house was expensive for the area and it would have a much smaller pool of interested buyers.

We went ahead and put in our order for the new coach in October of 2015. I thought it would be wise to have the coach for at least a year or two before we went out on the road. There is a fair amount to learn about the RV lifestyle and the coach itself. Looking back, I’m really pleased we got it then.

We listed the house in March of 2016 and we took delivery of the coach in June of 2016.

And we waited for a buyer.

And waited.

Lots of showings during the first year. Not one offer.

We relisted the house in March of 2017. Reduced our price by 5 percent. Two offers within a few days. The second offer came in firm with no conditions which forced the first buyer to clear conditions if they wanted the deal. They wanted the deal. Close date of July 7.

We are in the process of downsizing and it is certainly a big task. We will move into a condo in a beautiful heritage home in the heart of the downtown. For a year. And then we will be off in our coach. Full time for the first year, perhaps longer.

I was out mowing the property last night. And it is a beautiful spot. The house and the property served us well. I will miss it. More than the other houses that we have lived in over the years.

Very mixed emotions as we go through this part of the transition into retirement.

Old Drives and Old Computers

HardDrives.jpg

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Yes. 11.

11 old computers. Old Macs, PCs, laptops. Even an old Toshiba netbook.

5 old tablets. A dozen or so old cellphones.

And over 20 external hard drives. Of various sizes and configurations.

Why so many devices?

Well, they were acquired over the past few decades and never discarded. Until now. As part of our downsizing activities, we are downsizing all of our tech. All we will need when we retire is 1 laptop, two tablets and two smartphones. And a NAS. Oh and a couple of Apple TVs. A router. Okay, I’ll try and stop there.

The old Apple products will make their way to the Apple Store as part of the Apple Recycling Program. The rest of the old products will go to an electronics recycling depot in town.

But first?

I have to go through every drive and every computer just to make sure that there isn’t any data that we might need to keep. I am mostly worried about digital photos that did not find their way into my Lightroom catalog.

I’m almost done this part of the downsizing effort. It’s silly in a way that digital downsizing is almost as much work as physical downsizing.

I purchased a 4-bay NAS to hold the bulk of our digital data while we travel. I have another set of disks that I will use to keep a rotating set of incremental backups offsite to prevent any catastrophic data loss. Over the past several months I have been scanning and digitizing memories and storing the data in Evernote. That data resides locally and in the cloud. 1 copy local on the NAS, 1 copy in the cloud and 1 copy offsite.

The photography collection is also in three places. 1 copy local on a direct access storage device, 1 copy on the NAS and 1 copy offsite.

Most of our other files, things like spreadsheets, word documents, presentations, courseware, music, movies, will live on the NAS with 1 copy offsite.

Fascinating to turn on all of this old hardware. Old operating systems. Old browsers.

The sad thing is that they all still work. I feel a bit sad that the machines will go into recycling but then again most of the machines have been sitting gathering dust on our storage shelves for the better part of 10 or 15 years.

Time to let them go now.

Spring

The Castaway is still there. Still in storage.

We checked on her several times during the winter. And, apart from filling up the batteries with distilled water, everything on board the coach was fine.

We will be taking our coach out of storage next Wednesday. Hopefully, the engine will start without any issues. After a full inspection of the coach, I’ll need to do the following:

  • Inflate tires to nominal levels, front tires to 110 PSI cold, rear tires to 95 PSI cold
  • Turn on the inverter and reset the charger
  • Turn on the engine and idle
  • Turn on 120V AC breakers
  • Close and secure fridge doors
  • Confirm interior cabin is set and ready
  • Bring up jacks and head out of storage

We will be taking the coach to the Hitch House on Saturday for service and warranty work. I am also getting them to detail the coach. I did it myself last year and it took several days for me to complete the work. As we are downsizing and moving in a few months, I will not have time to detail the Castaway this spring. The dealer assures me that they will do a good job (I tend to be a bit fussy about detailing).

Lorraine and I are very excited to be bringing out the coach. With the house now sold, we are much closer to our retirement dream. We will be in Canada for another winter and after that we should be snowbirds by November of 2018.

I can hardly wait.

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.