Downsizing Notes

I’ll be placing my notes here regarding downsizing, especially where to sell the stuff.  This is a work in progress. Check out our page regarding where we ended up disposing of items by type. 

I opened an account with a credit union and deposit the cash from sales to be used to buy RV stuff, like a truck. It’s been very motivational to watch the account grow.  Because we had years to prepare before we hit the road I concentrated earlier on selling stuff that had a monthly expense associated with it, such as a spare vehicle where we were paying insurance and maintenance costs. That way the savings could be had for a longer period of time. Here in 2016 interest on savings accounts is low so unfortunately the credit union does not pay well.

We might buy our truck a few months earlier or so than the trailer. I’ll already have selected two or three trailers we would buy before we get the truck so we will know what the capabilities of the truck need to be.  The credit union account will be used for that and our emergency money.  Our house will be paid off about two years prior to going full time in an RV. The year of our departure, or maybe the year before, we will get a loan for a trailer then pay it off when the house sells. We plan to use the rig during my last year at work. I’ve been maxing out my saved vacation time to be used that year. I may use a home equity loan, the credit union or another method for financing. I don’t have enough deductions to file a long-form tax return but if I did then establishing a line of credit on our home to buy the RV would be a good move as the loan interest would be tax deductible.  A side benefit will be having a truck to haul stuff around as needed. Also we can get used to the big truck rather than having to get used to both a big truck and big trailer at the same time.

Places to Sell or Donate

Paper Documents and PhotosClick here to see how we decided to handle going papeless.

Electronics: Gazelle buys electronics and handles the shipping. I know Best Buy does this also, but they give you a store credit to buy other junk.

Tools: I’ve built a few houses in the past, got into some minor woodworking and owned a small contracting business.  So I’ve got a lot of tools.  I’m worried if I get rid of everything I’ll be buying something back that we need for fulltime RV living.  For sure, some of it can go earlier than later.  Suppose this can wait until a couple years of going fulltime or until I get all the upgrades to the sticks and bricks done. Here is one link I found concerning RV tools.  And this guy also has some good ideas for tools to keep on hand.

Guns: I’ll be talking with my friends who are into guns to find out the best place to sell them. I’m keeping two so far, one for protection and the other was my fathers (maybe a nephew or future grandson will get it early).  Thinking about keeping one shotgun also as they fire slugs which is the next best thing to a rifle. Retired law enforcement can carry anywhere in the United States under federal law. Although I think I’ll have to qualify once a year.  That’s another thing to do – research the law for retired officers and need to qualify annually at a range.

There is also a website to sell guns at Armslist.com. A guy told me about it but said be careful for fraud. He suggested one always gets a signed Bill of Sale and to have the person show you their ID when you meet. Gunbroker.com is another one I may check out. The difference is you can sell on Armslist in your local city or go with Gunbroker if you want to sell/auction and ship.

Trade Fair/Flea Market Booth:  Karen and two other ladies talked about going in together on a booth at the local trade fair.  She tells me the cost is $35 a month and there is a waiting list to get into the trade center she is interested in.  Because it is located just a few miles away from home we should be able to stock it easy.  For about $12 a month, it’s worth a try. Suppose we could move some shelves from home and sell them when we are done. A group of ladies own the center and I met there husbands as one is a cop and the other is a firefighter.

Clothing: We discovered consignment stores a while back. I bought a brand new Brooks Brothers tie for $12 with the $90 price tag still attached and was hooked.  Karen took a bunch of shoes and purses to the store and traded for a store credit which goes on her account when the item sells.  She used some of the money to replace a jacket she needed (wanted).

Large trash container provided by the trash service: We have one of those large containers provided by the trash company for weekly pick up.  I’m doing my best to go room to room and pitch stuff so the container is full every Tuesday when they pick it up. A lot of other full-timers have suggested to start downsizing now, even if we have so many years to plan.

Collectables:  I gave my George Brett signed ball from the 1985 World Series to a guy from Brazil who visited as part of a Rotary Club visitor exchange program.  He had no idea who George Brett was and it felt good to give him the ball. Most likely I’ll try and sell collectables to another collector or at a store that sells items like this. I’ll give some to friends and family who would appreciate them more than someone having to get rid of it when we are dead. I now listen more closely when others describe their hobbies and collections in case I’ve got something they could use.

Donations: I’ve not met anyone that tried using the Freecycle Network but it looks interesting. I understand the IRS rules for charitable donations changed in 2015. I’ve not researched them yet.

Locale Facebook Page: Karen says there is a local Facebook page consisting of all the cities around us where folks post stuff they are selling.  Will be checking it out.

Garage Sales: Read where people advertise the sale on Craigslist.  Also read a blog where they rented a storage building, move stuff in and later have the sale at the storage building. Have a pile of “free stuff” shoppers can take.

Sell to Friends: Read this one on a blog – One suggestion, send an email to all of your business and personal contacts in Georgia of the things you have to sell. The blogger continues – ” you may be surprised at the response. We did that and sold our car, truck, furniture, rugs and home furnishings. And, we didn’t have to move it – the buyers took it right out of the condo before we closed. I was amazed.”

Auctions or Online Consignment: AuctionbyMayo.com is a local service. I talked to a guy at a pawn shop that used to work here. This is an auction service that has you put what you are selling in a POD (metal shipping container) that they pickup. He says they sell everything in about six weeks.

Wallapop: is supposed to be as easy as taking picture and posting what’s for sale. Buyers/sellers can check items within a certain distance from their current location.

Estate Sale: Here is an idea I really like. Sell some of the big stuff prior to the sale using other methods. Clean out a bedroom to put stuff in you don’t want to sell. Then mark everything in the house with a price and have an estate sale. You might need extra help with people stationed around the house to help out. Here is a good forum thread with a lot of ideas.

Storage Unit our Not?

My views as of 2014 are based on limited thought.  Cost for a 5×10 is $35 a month. Looking around the house there appears to be four categories of stuff other than what can be sold/disposed of.

  1. Items that can be scanned, photographed and stored on mass media.
  2. Items that are hard to replace such as paintings.  I’m more worried about the items it took years to find.
  3. Items that cannot be replaced and/or need to be passed down after death. Another approach might be to loan out the hard to replace/inheritance items. Or maybe after a year or two renting a storage unit we would have downsized to a few boxes we could store with family.  Will wait and see on this so I’ve placed it in the final year of preparation to make the decision.
  4. Items we will be taking on the road or might think we need to take on the road. Then again, if we disposed of an item accidentally, we could always buy it again.  A benefit of long-range planning should be reducing the chance this will happen.
  • Yet another one disposes of their storage unit after six years. Here is a link.
  • Seven tips for renting – or not – a storage unit.  Good reading. I like the part to get the storage unit closer to an RV park you might later be staying at.

Decision Check List

Things to do:

  • Can I claim $400 a year in tax deductions for donations even if use the standard tax deduction rather than itemized deductions?
  • The aluminum boat in the back yard is nearly 30 years old.  It was last in the water three years ago and the engine ran fine.  Wonder if it is best to sell it as scrap after striping off anything usable to sell separate to include the trailer.  I’ll be checking on options to sell it to someone that buys junk boats. (sold)
  • We rode the motorcycle once last year.  I’m selling it in the spring which will save on insurance and give us more room in the garage. It’s my fourth bike and I’m over that phase in life.  Anyway, we can buy another one later.
  • Downsize the beekeeping hobby and others. We started the hobby in 2010 and went up to 13 hives which has become more work than I want.  We ran 10 hives in 2014 and by going down to 7 we can sell off some of the items required for more hives.  Thinking I’ll find a new beekeeper that wants some equipment and maybe even sell them some bees, which I raise. When we are done and ready to retire, I’ll post to sell everything in the beekeepers club we belong to. On the same line, we have always been into hiking and camping.  My brother and I have back-packed many national forests in and near Missouri.  Suppose we will have to be careful not to sell off any hobby related items that are usable while full-timing in an RV.
  • Once we get a space cleared out it may become our stuff to dispose of pile.
  • What hobbies are conducive to full-time RV living? This will effect what we sell off.
  • Office Furniture: I owned a small contracting company and part of the sell agreement was to transfer the assets to the new owner who kept me on as an employee doing office work.  This provides extra income and I think it is a great part-time job. Thinking it can stay in our home office downstairs until the year we retire. Half of it can go now.

General Notes

  • Karen says jewelry is always something she can use – go figure! She also says (as of 12/7/14) that she does not want to give up her paintings.  Compromising is in our future.
  • We live on four acres, three of which are wooded. I’m wondering if some of the large items can go with the home when sold. Things like the larger riding mower and gardening equipment.

One thought on “Downsizing Notes

  1. Pingback: Going Paperless | Our Future in an RV

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