Over the last few years, with our plans to go full-time underway, my wife and I have been reading blogs and watching YouTube videos almost ad nauseum regarding downsizing to an RV. Sell, store or give everything away, they said. It will be hard, they said. We believed them.
Now, it is upon us. We sold our 1,680 sq. ft. house and have been downsizing to move into 340 sq. ft. It IS hard, and it doesn't happen overnight. We have been doing the necessary things -- selling, storing and giving away stuff -- for months now, and we will still have to store more than we had hoped. Sunday is D-Day, as in Departure Day, and we have to be out.
While they mention the emotional pain of minimizing your possessions, what the bloggers and YouTubers don't really tell you is that some of the pain is the pure loss of value. Thousands of dollars' worth of things we bought because we needed them, or wanted them, will be left behind. We obviously don't have room for everything, so intellectually it makes sense. However, I still feel the loss of monetary value from my day-to-day life, especially when it is happening over a relatively short period of time. Even small, unsellable items can bear a cost. If we paid $30 each for a hundred of these, they would have cost us $3,000 accumulatively.
Let's say I want to buy a new TV or notebook and give away my old one, even if it works fine, or a wine rack is in the way and we decide to sell it to free up space. Those individual decisions are easy to live with. But, in the span of a month, we will have dealt away or carted to storage our living room and bedroom furniture, our guest room furniture, the dining room set, two wine racks, two big-screen TV's, most of the house's decor, half of my tools, 3/4 of our wardrobes, and even a car. Everything we had stored for a rainy day is gone.
Even a few of these items can be difficult to think about, but our belongings are literally $20,000 less valuable than they were a month ago, money we spent right out of our checkbook (we paid off all our material debt long ago, thank goodness). The cash we gained in selling furniture, etc., is a pittance compared to their original values.
Just as with anything we have to deal with in life, we will focus on the positive and look forward to many years of long-awaited travel. We'll be able to visit friends and family we haven't seen in years, or ever, and we'll finally be able to experience different parts of the country for more than a long weekend at a time.
It took over ten years for the choice of living on the road to come to fruition. I just wish I had known how divesting most of our possessions would feel.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 5 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.