I really enjoy my RV lifestyle. Since I retired, living my dreams is a way more fun that working for a living. Being a sometime RVer, I still have a home. I like my home and I like having a place to retreat to and to recharge. But all the stuff that goes with owning a big home is starting to wear on me.
When I get home from traveling, there’s lots of work that has piled up and I go from living my dreams to living a nightmare. I become like a hamster on a wheel with an endless to do list of tasks and fix it projects.
I used to enjoy riding a lawn tractor and mowing my huge 2 acre yard. Now, I’d rather be riding my bike. I used to enjoy puttering around the house, working on projects, and fixing things. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment. Now, I dread when something breaks and I have to repair it. And when the kids were young, I enjoyed having a pool in the back yard. Now, I dread even looking at the pool because it’s turned into just a huge chore that sucks my time.
Traveling in my RV has shown me another lifestyle. I’ve got to see and experience all the other things that I can be doing with my time. And it’s spoiled me. Working around the house is now a detraction from what I really want to be doing.
This spring, while doing all the yard cleanup (and getting super aggravated while doing it), I realized that I had to do something to change my situation. I need to downsize my home and quit this dreaded part-time job call home maintenance. I love my property and location, but I like traveling a whole lot better. I still want a home (or condo) and to be a sometime RVer, but I don’t want all the work (and aggravation) that goes with home ownership.
My Three Year Plan
In order for me to downsize, much has to happen. It’s not something that I can make happen in a few months. It’s probably going to take a least a couple of years. So, I came up with my three-year plan. It’s quite simple. In three years, I want to be living in a smaller and simpler home without all the work that I have now. No more lawn mowing or raking. No more property maintenance. No more pool. No more big yard. No more scraping and painting. No more living out in the country 20 miles away from civilization. That’s my plan.
Why three years? First, there’s lots of work to do to make this happen. Second, my youngest son has to finish college (in three years) and get on his own. Third, in three years I’ll be 65 and with Medicare, I won’t be tethered to my current medical provider setup. Fourth, it will take a while to research and select a new home location. Yup – three years sounds about right. And now I have a plan!!!
Getting Rid of Stuff
One of the biggest challenges and major efforts with my three-year plan is getting rid of stuff. Over the past 40+ years, we’ve accumulated lots of stuff. We’re talking buildings, several rooms, and a cellar full of stuff. Here’s a sample of what I have to deal with.
I’ve got a wood shop in the cellar with just about every major power tool and racks of hand tools. I used to enjoy making furniture as a hobby. But that hobby died a few years ago when I started RVing.
Gardening also used to be a big hobby. The garage is also full of garden tools and machines. There’s the lawn tractor, push mower, trimmer, brush cutter, and chain saw. The garden tool collection is extensive (I own 10 shovels, 4 iron rakes, 6 leaf rakes, 5 hoes, 2 edgers, 6 garden hoses).
I have a few toys also. There’s the 5 bikes, a canoe, and one motorcycle.
In the pool house there’s enough patio furniture to fill two porches and a pool area, In my study, book cases are full of books, CD, DVDs, and stereo equipment. I have one closet devoted to camping gear from my tent camping days, bike clothing, motorcycle clothing, and fishing gear from my fishing hobby days. There’s lots of stuff to get rid of. And I haven’t even listed the wife’s stuff.
To get rid of my stuff, I’m going to enlist / assume some new personas in the Junkoff family. I’ve already started with Selma Junkoff. With Ebay and Craigslist, I’m unloading all the items that have some decent value. Things like selling 2 of my five bikes, my canoe (that I rarely used), all my old CD’s and DVD’s, books, some motorcycle gear, tent camping gear, tools, clothes, and electronics. Selma has a big role and it will take a lot of time to clean up. A yard sale also be something that Selma will undertake.
Once I exhausted my Selma Junkoff role, then I enlist Hallma Junkoff. The stuff that I can’t sell or give away gets handled by Hallma Junkoff. Hallma will handle giveaways to friends and family. The wood shop will be a big job and probably take both Slema’s and Hallma’s efforts to deal with all the tools and machines. Thank god for trash removal and dumpsters.
When Hallma gets done, the final items get handled by Burnma Junkoff. A benefit of living in the country is that I can still have an open fire when I want. There’s plenty of stuff that would make a good campfire or maybe even a bon fire, Like all the “I-might-be-able-to-use-this-small piece-of-oak-someday” wood scraps from my shop, tables that Hallma left, and bulky stuff the landfill won’t take. When Burnma does her thing, it will feel good knowing we’re at the end of the stuff.
While the Junkoff roles are winding down, and the last son moves out then the rehab / spruce up can start. There are rooms to paint, a bathroom to upgrade, some window rot to deal with, and a new roof needed on the garage. I can do much of this work myself while I still have the woodshop. Good thing I have a three-year plan.
Finding a New Location
While all that’s going on, I’ll begin thinking of locations and the type of home I want. Right now Maine, Colorado, and Florida are contenders for a new location. I still have family in Maine, have learned to enjoy winters in Florida, and Colorado is just so damn beautiful.
It feels good to have this plan. It’s like I’ve given my house (and my dreaded maintenance job) its three-year notice. This summer when I ride the lawn tractor and clean the pool, it will feel good knowing that my days doing those chores are numbered.