J. Dawg Journeys

My Three Year Downsizing Plan

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.

Leaves to be rakes

Leaf raking – a job I now hate

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.

Wood Shop

The wood shop that has to go

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.

Garage Full of Tools

Garage Full of Tools

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.

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7 thoughts on “My Three Year Downsizing Plan

  1. Roger Bohnke

    Whew! Got the e-mail alert on my phone this morning and just saw the headline. Thought you were giving up the RV! Glad to see I was 180 degrees off base on that one. Have always enjoyed reading your posts, and I look forward to many more. Good luck working with Selma, Haulma and Burnma on the downsizing!

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Thanks, Roger. This spring, Sellma and Hallma have made a good sized “dent” in getting rid of stuff. Even Burnma got a little start.

  2. Janice

    Downsizing; I love it. I have been going through, bit by bit my “stuff” and getting rid of a lot. It is such a freeing feeling. I, too, have felt that the work I have to do when I get home isn’t fun anymore. I no longer plant a garden (I’m gone in the summer a lot). I have about an acre to take care of and it’s TOO MUCH! I would like to downsize to a place with less yardwork (like NO yardwork) but my other half likes where he is (it is beautiful) and isn’t ready to go anywhere soon. He is a “sometimes rver” and I am beginning to take trips on my own. Good luck with the adventure!
    Janice in CO

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Janice,
      Thanks. It does feel really good to get rid of stuff. Even better when I make some money from it.
      J. Dawg

  3. Cathy

    We can totally relate. This is exactly what we had in mind when we purchased an empty building lot that is much less property than we currently own and maintain. We have about 5 years yet before my husband retires and we’re free to move, but we have started the cleaning out process. Whenever I encounter a relative who could use something I got from my parents that I don’t need, they get it now! We have major contributions to garage sales. And I realize as the time gets closer, we will have to put on a big push to get rid of stuff. It’s amazing how much we keep just because we have room for it!

    I love the whole house design and building process, so we’ve chosen to build new. We’re planning everything to be as low maintenance as possible, though.

  4. Merikay

    Sounds about right. For me it was repair and fix up plus getting rid of things. Husband not into the gradual approach, so there was a bit if tension. In the last two years I made a monthly plan, room by room for painting. I committed to getting rid of something every day, even if it was a handful of stuff from the junk drawer. In the end, we had an estate liquidator come in who took everything left. We didn’t get much, but we didn’t have to do yard sales and flea markets either.

    Now, two years later, I do not miss anything. Keep what you need for your small home base, but remember, if your kids don’t want something now, they will probably not want it in the future. Store only something that is irreplaceable. Anything else can be bought again.

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Merikay,
      I like your approach of having a monthly plan and getting rid of something every day. Thanks for commenting.
      J. Dawg