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It has been a couple of weeks since our house closed. The house is no longer our home. We are living downtown and loving it.

The biggest surprise for me? I do not miss the house.

Nobody needs to own a house to have a home.

The process of downsizing was humbling and emotionally draining.

I came across Jonathan Look’s blog, Life Part 2. He has a post on The Luxury of Little:

… like many people in the “developed world,” I had so many possessions that I couldn’t remember where my stuff was, or in many cases even remember that I had it. My junk drawers were expanding. I had “spare” cables, obsolete electronics, redundant tools, more sets of dishes and silverware than I had places for people to sit, and boxes of mementos that “one day” I would get around to going through and sorting.

Our situation was like that. Too many things. Way too many things. And, now that they have been sold, donated and tossed, I don’t seem to care about them.

Why did we fill our lives with so much stuff? Probably because we did not fill our lives with experiences that matter more.

Our transition into retirement is teaching me about many things. And one of the important lessons has been about possessions.

As Jonathan puts it:

… having a lot of “stuff” we don’t see or use doesn’t make us more secure. It drains our finances, limits our options, distracts our attention, diminishes our energies and most importantly, it wastes our time.

Downsized

Well, not quite as posed as this stock photo:

Similar result though. We are now officially downsized.

Wow. I do not ever want to go through that process again!

Over 38 years of marriage, we had gathered quite an impressive collection of stuff. Months of effort in terms of going through papers, books, furnishings, electronics and pretty much everything else that North American consumers tend to purchase for their homes.

At times, I was literally embarrassed by all of the stuff. At times, I felt liberated by shedding most of the stuff.

Moving from a 5,200 square foot home with almost 2,000 square feet of garages into a 1-bedroom condo — and ultimately into about 450 square feet in our coach — seemed impossible when we started. But we did it. Although with a bit of stuff being held in a storage unit.

Our house closed around noon today.

Still a bit longer before we head out on the road. But for now, we will hang out in a wonderful space in the downtown core.

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 is 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.