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.
I have developed a pattern now. Most of my stays back in the “big house” in Brentwood now include at least one trip to the county dump and/or to Good Will. The alternative is to do it all at once, when we sell this house in a couple of years. But I have also learned that I do not want to wait until then.
Several weeks ago I was interviewed by a journalist who was researching a story about retirement downsizing. She found me because I write this blog and sell a retirement planning tool at Failsafe Retirement. I suppose that gives me some credibility because it shows that I at least think and care enough about retirement issues to research and write about them.
It’s been two weeks since my past post. A lot has been going on. A big part has been preparing our large family home to sell. We are spending more time in our condo now. Condo living is a definite lifestyle downsize, from 4500 square feet on three levels (with a yard to maintain) to 1500 square feet on one level.
As part of our ongoing downsizing efforts, we have sold a dozen or so items on Craigslist over the past few months. Furniture, bicycles, a jukebox and today, a car. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Even from this single experience, I learned a few things about Craigslist car shoppers that some of you might find interesting.
This week was a “downsizing week.” I made our first attempt to sell-off unneeded items that were taking up space in the basement level and garage. I took photographs of the items to be sold, opened a Craigslist account (free), learned how to post items for sale with photos (easy), and off I went.