Downsizing Update: Boxes and Boxes

We are running out of things to throw out with the trash. For the past few years, and more so in the last year, we having been drifting through the house looking for items that can’t be sold, given away or taken on the road. Filling the large trash receptacle on as much of a weekly basis as possible. The successful garage sale last summer and selling off larger items since then has opened up spaces in the house.

Karen and I made the final decision that we will be renting a 5×10 storage unit which will most likely be in a climate controlled facility. Knowing we will have this available small space has made it easier to deal with the emotions of downsizing. To some extent we are not forced to part with things that are most important to us.  We might also place a few things in storage where we aren’t sure if they are needed on the road or not.

I’m really trying to avoid buying anything new to include storage totes. I’ve read plastic boxes may not be the best thing to use for long-term storage because of issues with condensation.  I’m assuming with a climate controlled storage area the condensation will not be bad.  I’ve been bringing cardboard boxes home from work that might be a better solution for items in storage we don’t plan to access, thereby saving the plastic boxes for the camper depending on their sizes.

Our homes storage spaces are nearly free of everything we have not touched for years. That’s making it possible for staging areas we use for sorting and storing  in anticipation of a large springtime sale. We have decided not to hire an estate sales company. I was not sure at first how to display larger items upstairs in our home during the sale. Our driveway is larger and I may just move larger items to the driveway for the sale. Especially as we would need to move things to the truck should something not sell. Karen and I have both been busy listing larger stuff on Craigslist and our local Facebook swap and shop page. We are lucky to live just outside the city so the customer base is larger than if we lived further outside of town.

We finally have at least one room in the house where we can move everything remaining into the center of the room for painting. So far, and subject to change, we are leaning towards just keeping a minimal amount of furniture and accessories to live with while the house is on the market? Although I suspect the realtor may want us to stage a few items? Karen would rather move into the fifth wheel once the house is on the market. I’d be open to giving that a try for a month and see how it works. Repairs and upgrades inside our house are hit and miss. I suspect there will be a mad rush to finish it up before the house goes on sale right after we replace our very old and stained carpeted areas.

We have setup a few boxes with labels for sorting. These include items going to family, keepsakes for storage and items to sell on Ebay. After our experience with the last garage sale I know there are smaller collectables and specialty items that would never bring a fraction of what they are worth. I suspect we will end up with one or two medium sized boxes of items that would be easy to ship as they are sold off. So we have decided to give Ebay a try once we are on the road?  Again, with a storage unit back home, we have an advantage of keeping a few sale items there. Personally, it will be fun to sell off a few things on Ebay, especially having more time on our hands by not have a nine to five job. So far, I’ve decided not to bother with trying to Ebay anything worth less than $50.

We have considered the total cost of a storage unit over a six year period and it’s worth it to us. I’ll have to figure that into our annual budget.

Because we decided on a 35′ fifth wheel, compared to a forty-footer, our basement storage area will be a little smaller. Opting to not have a larger on-board generator will free some space up in the front storage of the trailer. If we end up ordering a trailer I may not even spend the several hundred dollars for the generator prep option? Our trailer will have great inside storage and a better than average cargo capacity. But still, we already know space will be at a premium. We have started stacking things we are taking on the road within some of the freed-up space at home. We want to start off with that pile being as small as possible for sure.

Thank you to everyone for the comments and conversation on the last blog post concerning which camper we have selected. I’m working on a multi-part post to over-explain the reasons for that selection. I’m hoping it will be informative. If you want to bounce ideas off each other offline my email is mseneker@hotmail.com. Karen says it’s okay to email her as well at ksseneker@hotmail.com

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7 thoughts on “Downsizing Update: Boxes and Boxes

  1. Sounds like lots of great progress being made! Good for you! I agree with Karen about not staying in the house. Once you start to move things into your new home – it’s hard to be in two places. Plus, getting used to your new home while still stationary has advantages. Also – as far as generator prep – I’d say get it if it isn’t too much – for potential future resale if nothing else. Same for washer/dryer prep – although I think you’ve said you are getting your own washer/dryer?

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    • I don’t want the added expense of staying out of the house when it’s of sale but could see why doing so would give the realtor options and constant cleaning would not be an issue. Remember I’ll still be working fulltime. Karen wants to stay at a local State Park so we would have to move every now and then. By then we should have already had the RV out on maybe three trips for break-in.

      Hard to tell what the future economy will be once we decide to sell the rig (assuming we ever want to come off the road). The babyboomer retirement thing should start to level off in maybe 2020 in Missouri. May be a lot of used RVs on the market by 2025 which is six years out from us leaving full time. Hard to say if a fulltimer would buy ours or not. I have a price sheet for the trailer and the generator prep with a 25% discount would be $625. I’ll have to think about it.

      Karen wants a washer/dryer combo. And if so, we would get a vented model. I’m worried she might do laundry every day to keep up. Seems like just taking a trip to a laundromat every couple weeks would be preferred. Or with a small onboard unit, going less often. I’ll leave it up to her however.

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  2. On the condensation in the plastic totes issue, what if you added some kind of desiccant packs or containers to each tote? I have a fear of vermin and would rather use plastic totes over cardboard boxes for long-term storage (I also live in Southern California where condensation isn’t much of an issue).

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  3. We moved into our RV on August 11, 2014 so we could paint the interior of the house. We had the 15 year old carpet that had seen 3 golden retrievers over the entire time professionally cleaned. The new people ended up keeping it. The house sold in late August, with three full price offers on the first open house.

    Gotta tell you: we walk into our 10 x 15 storage room, shake our heads and say “why did we do this” and reclose the door. Wish we had never done that.

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    • When I built this house I put in builder’s grade carpet for a reason. Been here 16 years and went to wood or tile everywhere but the bedrooms and a stairway. Several dogs later and I wish ours would have held up. It’s one of those things which would drive a buyer away if not changed out.

      As I look around at what is left to do in getting ready to sell, I figure the smaller stuff can wait or maybe even not worry about unless there are negative comments from shoppers.

      I could handle not having a storage unit but Karen has so many things she has collected that are special to her. The 5×10 will cost us maybe $50 a month. We agreed to take a look at it again after our first year on the road. Heck, maybe we can move to a 5×5 the second year. Either way it will not take much effort to get rid of what is left.

      Was there anything costly you guys got rid of that you should have kept? I’m wondering about keeping our leaf blower and smaller weed eater? We are already hauling a gas can for the generator.

      What about my nice axe or hand hatchet? Dare I ask if I should keep the chain saw. From my own experience I could see using the leaf blower and having a way to cut up dead-fall wood.

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      • We do have a hatchet, but not a leaf blower or weed whip. We only carry a broom, which has been sufficient so far. One thing we do have with us are solar lights and Christmas lights.

        Missouri prices are a bargain on that storage room, especially a climate controlled one! It also helps that KC is centrally located in the country. I’m sure you will be able to access it often.

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