Home again and we made the decision to move from our big house to a smaller space. In theory a great idea. In the actuality, a monumental amount of work! 11 years in our house and we have accumulated so much stuff!
Ever since we returned from our winter trip last year I have been overwhelmed by stuff. When we first returned, the kitchen felt enormous. The entire house felt huge and crowded at the same time. But the oven and never ending hot showers were fabulous. We went into a house 9 times the size of the RV. We had an entire floor of the house that we never really used. A realization came about that we wanted to something different. A small rental apartment over the garage was solution.
We built the apartment over the garage 10 years ago and have used it as a rental or an office all this time. When building it we always said that ‘someday’ we would live there and travel more. We put in finishes that we like including a spa tub, washer dryer and even a tiny dishwasher. The entire place has big high ceilings, a great loft office/yoga area with ladder access and is painted in sunny bright colors. With all the trees around, it is like living in a tree house.
So after a few house parties, lots of dinners and gatherings around the fire pit, we slaved away and moved into the small apartment. Parts of the move were kind of fun – using the big house as a shopping ground. Picking out favorite plates and kitchen accessories and leaving the rest behind – to either pack up or leave in the furnished rental. It took 3 weeks, but with a final entire weekend push, we finished it off.
Many of our fellow travelers jumped in 100% and sold off all their belongings. Very impressive, but not what I was prepared to do. I’m just not ready to sell or donate all my stuff away. While I don’t need 20 sweaters, I still like all of them. So we packed up all the items we don’t need right away and filled the garage with well marked boxes. With everything close at hand, it should be easier to work on cleaning them out when we return in the summer.
For downsizing my clothes I took an approach that Kath from Trek With Us told me about. Figure out your activities, what percentage of time you do each activity and what clothes are appropriate. Basically build your time by type of outfit, including everything from active wear, lounging, date night, hiking and anything else that you need. Then I used the list to figure out what types of clothes for each area and how many outfits I would need to bring along in the RV. The balance of favorite items went into the new tiny house. Anything else was packed away to be dealt with upon change of season or a ‘change over’ of the wardrobe. I think this approach will work much better for travel. Last year I packed favorite items and ended up with only 1 pair of shorts (which was the only thing I wore) and 3 pairs of jeans – which I never wore. Time will tell how I did packing this year.
The shedding of all the extra ‘stuff’ was completely liberating and I love the new tiny house. We reduced to 1/3 the size of the big house. Just enough for everything we need and nothing we don’t. It is a relaxing to be back in a small house that I can pick up in 10 minutes. We are together more and don’t have to yell to be heard. It is crazy easy to get laundry done when the machine is an arms length away. I know it doesn’t make sense, that walking 2 whole rooms away would be so much more work. But with more space, the mess isn’t in front of you and it is easier to just put everything off for another day. Now with a small space and a small machine we do laundry much more frequently and keep everything picked up all the time (well most of the time).
We are now comfortable ensconced in the South Wing and packing the RV for our exit south before the weather turns. Here are a few pictures of the ‘tree house.’