Downsizing

Mom's kitchen in the cottage
Mom’s kitchen in the cottage after I cleaned it out.

Once the house was under contract, I needed to focus on packing up. I did a great deal of packing, donating, and tossing in 2015 before putting the house on the market. I packed up all the contents of my mother’s house, cleaned up the basement in my house, and put all personal articles away so the house could be staged. I put the items I wanted to save in a 16 x 8 foot POD.  It took two months of intense work, with the help of a contractor who made many trips to the dump for me, and to Salvation Army with the many, many large items I chose not to keep.

So I felt like I had already done most of the work, and that this final packing would be a piece of cake.  WRONG!!!  The attic is full, the shed is full, the garage is full, our daughter’s closet, and the basement crawl space is all packed with stuff.

When I was packing up in 2015, I thought I was going to remain in Bucks County, and perhaps continue to work, so I was packing for a local move.  This time, I knew I was going to be living in an RV for a long time, and that the items would eventually be shipped somewhere far away.  So I had to carefully evaluate each item:  Did I love it?  Could it be easily replaced at a reasonable cost?  Was I emotionally attached to it?  Was it worth the storage and shipping costs to keep it?

If I wasn’t going to put it in storage, then there were other decisions to make. Does it need to be accessible in storage, or could it be put way in the back?  Did it have value to anyone else? Could it be sold by us at a yard sale or other means, or could it be donated to Goodwill?  Was it simply trash?  Should we ship it to one of the kids? Did we have a friend who could use it? Would we need it in the RV?

This process seemed endless.  There were countless trips to Goodwill, all made by Eric.  Numerous trips to electronic recycling.  Several trips to the dump.  Multiple piles all over the house – my storage, Eric’s storage, RV, Goodwill, yard sale, trash, accessible storage, going to the kids, etc. etc. etc.  By the time we were finished, we both felt like we couldn’t possibly make one more decision about one more item.

We had to be out by the closing date of August 19th, so we had two and a half months and we took every minute.  In fact, when closing was extended an additional week, we were very grateful to have the extra time.  And we worked until midnight the night before closing.  But we did it!

In addition to the POD I filled last year, I ended up with a small, climate controlled 5×10 storage unit (which we measured and it’s actually 4×9), and a 10×15 non-climate controlled unit which is mostly my stuff but partly Eric’s.  I got a great deal on the local storage, with a couple of free months in exchange for paying 12 months in advance.  Altogether, I’m paying about $375/month for storage.

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