Losing Weight

#vanlife .

Mr. Ram wanted me to write up some information about how we parted with all of our STUFF.

As I thought about the entire process, it felt like I was Losing Weight. Parting with our material possessions which we had acquired over 30 years felt like weight being lifted from me(I do wish it was ‘actual’ weight). I am surprised that ‘things’ can actually weigh us down. Feng Shui guided my process of clearing away things. When you simplify and pare down what you own to the things you actually use and need it makes you feel better.

I have listed some key tips, or hacks as they now seem to call them, here.

A. The process is to pick 1 room (any room)

  • Throw out all the trash such as old papers, magazines, etc.
  • Remove items which don’t belong in that room
  • Move to the next room and continue this process.
  • Once the 2 floors of our house were done we did the same with our basement, the garage, and the attic.

B. Do it again. However this time we added these steps

  • Remove items we don’t use and if we don’t want to throw them out…box them, mark them and put them aside
  • Sell items we don’t use or no longer want
  • Donate things someone might be able to use but are hard to sell

I sold items which were breakable on Craigslist so they could be picked up at my home or at a parking lot if you don’t want people coming to your house. Many police stations have a parking space with video coverage for just such transactions.  I also set up an EBay account to sell items easily shipped such as books, electronics, etc.  Specialty items like horse tack sold better on sites devoted to those particular items like ‘Tack Traders’ for horse tack.

C. Do it again.  Yes it can get repetitive but each time you will surprised at what you can get rid of and not miss.

D. Remember those things boxed in step B?  We went through those boxes and found that stuff was much easier to get rid of now.  Neither of us wanted to spend a lot of money every month storing stuff that later we would say, ” Why did we pay to store this!?”

E. Do it again…  We were trying to empty our house to sell it so this time we were taking things out of rooms that we really want to keep or used but aren’t using right now.

  • Buy bankers boxes (the small ones).  We liked the fact that even filled with heavy books either one of us could lift them AND they have string closures so no separate lids to get misplaced, fall off, etc.
  • Estimate how many boxes and the size of things you might want to store.  Mr Ram figured that we needed about 8’x8’x10′
  • Mark an area in that nice clean, organized garage you have now and pile the stuff you want to keep there.  We stacked everything up in that 8’x8’x10′ space.

Ok so the garage was still not that clean.  Not only did we have a pile for storage, there was a pile for Craigslist, a pile for donation, a pile for ebay and a pile of stuff that would go with us.  And we were still trying to finish our Van Sparty as well.

F. Pack up everything else.

  • Leave just enough so we could continue living there but no more than that.
  • The really good stuff that we weren’t saving had to go: furniture, lawn tools, dishes, etc.  We asked family and friends if they wanted any of these things. My son just purchased a house so he made a wish list and the girls also chose a few things.
  • Store some things that our kids had no use for now but might want in the future such as china and crystal and a large wooden clock.
  • It was time to call the real estate agent. In our area houses reasonably priced sell quickly.  You may want to list earlier depending on your Real Estate market.
  • Rent that storage unit. We found a great  price on a 10’x10’x8′ storage unit which was a bit odd with a column in it.

G.  House is sold and we were ready to go.

  • Moved the last of our things to the storage unit.  Mr Ram managed to even fit our bedroom set in it.  See how crammed that unit is here.
  • Tossed or donated anything that can be easily replaced. Sure it was a really nice vacuum but we can buy another one.
  • Take what was left and toss it in the van.

If you think this is time consuming…it is! This took us nearly 3 years.  But just like weight loss, it took us a long time to accumulate it so it took a long time to get rid of it.

We did return at Thanksgiving and pulled some of the boxes and looked inside. There were some ‘Why did we store this?’ moments but overall we put most stuff back so I guess we did a good job.  Eventually we might buy another house or condo and all of that good stuff will find a place in our new home. Then again maybe we will like this nomadic life and upgrade our camping experience somehow.  Till then what remains of our things will wait patiently till we return again.

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