Last week was huge – I finally closed on the big family house. It was a long, difficult last month with repeated trips to remove and deliver unwanted and unneeded stuff. A local charity received a windfall and drove away with an entire moving truck full of furniture and household goods. I was relieved to see it all go to a good home. I am so glad that I no longer have to care for a large home and keep track of all of the stuff associated with it.
I am one week away from closing on the sale of the large family home. This has been quite a process. I made the decision to sell in February, moved out in March, then hired a contractor to do some renovating to put the house in better selling condition. That work took two months. The house was on the market for almost three months. After one price drop, one failed negotiation and one scam offer, I had a contract with a legitimate buyer in late July.
I have been writing about my continuing downsizing efforts. It’s all come down to this: My house is being listed on MLS today and is officially on the market. My Realtor put a “coming soon” sign in the front yard last weekend. Following that, and before it was listed today, she showed the house five times to different buyers. One seemed very interested but no offer so now the house is open to all lookers. I just received my first text message requesting a showing this afternoon. (Scheduling is automated now.)
I’ve been busy this week getting rid of stuff, again. Early in the week I found a local non-profit that was willing to pick up some large pieces of furniture that I didn’t use: a sofa bed, chest of drawers, television, sectional sofa, and coffee table. Wow – did this open up some space in my house and my life!
I took another car-full of stuff to Goodwill and the dump today. As usual, it gave me another little “downsizing high.” I enjoy the realization that I am another car load closer to being able to move from this big house. Do you get a rush from freeing yourself from stuff?
I have too much stuff in a house that’s too big. No big news there. Many people in my situation would hold garage sales and/or “moving” sales to get rid of a bunch of stuff all at once. I think garage sales are a poor investment of my time. I’m not ready to move so there is no point in opening up my house to a bunch of bargain hunters for a moving sale. Instead, when the mood hits, I take a few photographs, write a few words and “boom”, I’ve got stuff listed on Craigslist. So far it is working great, even for things I own that are not mainstream.
I am well into my second year of being a “downsize prepper”. (Do you like that term? I just made it up!) By this I mean that I am still living in an oversized house but stuff is leaving this house every week – permanently. I am working diligently on stuff removal so that I can be ready to make a downsizing move on short notice. Clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, knick-nacks, furniture, and stuff lurking in the garage and attic for years are my targets. My sons are afraid to be around me when I am in an active downsize mode because I constantly ask them if they want to have what I don’t want.
We continue with our downsizing plan by preparing to sell our large house in middle Tennessee. In 2012, we gutted and remodeled our master bathroom. Although the bathroom finishes and fixtures were not over the top, it was a significant investment. However, this money had to be spent so that this house would be marketable to anyone other than house flippers. At least we are getting to enjoy the new and improved master bath for a time before we sell. We are about to begin phase II of the remodel.
When we are in our “big” house in Tennessee, I remain in a downsizing state of mind. If I am not taking stuff to Goodwill or the dump, I am at least thinking about what should go next. At the same time, I am cognizant of an attachment to certain “stuff” that has been in our lives for many years. Today I had successes in both categories.
Surveys conducted by various financial services providers continue to show a disconnect between retirement reality and U.S. baby boomers. In a recent such survey, use of home equity as retirement income tool came front and center.