Clearing this place out is a MAJOR job for us. We both have many items that we have collected over the years and failed to purge during previous moves. We had over 200 sets of salt & pepper shakers, over 120 music boxes, nearly three dozen bells, a closet full of board games and jig-saw puzzles...and that's just her stuff! I had a garage full of leftover remodeling material, electrical and electronics material, tools for nearly every trade, and now I have a garage full of steel pegboard products that will have to go after we clear some more stuff out. Plus, we have 13 panels of black steel grid and all the hanging accessories that made up our long defunct photo imaging booth. Right now we are using it to display garage sale offerings, but it too, has to go at some point! We always thought we would have a home base, and wouldn't need to part with anything. But truth sometimes has a way of catching up with us...and sometimes running us over!
On my other blog at http://blog.caravancamperrv.com/blog2/2013/06/16/808/, I provided a downloadable spreadsheet that allows anyone to compare ordinary "house dwelling" against traveling. I provide several options in the columns there, from just living in a house, to doing that and traveling part time. I also provided columns for what could happen if one spouse is suddenly gone from the picture, as well as just full-time RVing without real estate.
The deciding fact for us in ditching a house was that it proved that (in our case) we were over $1100 a month FARTHER ahead than we would be if trying to maintain real estate and travel part time! (That's assuming no RV or vehicle payments.) You can't argue with facts!
Another deciding factor was that this house needs a lot of remodeling to bring it up to our normal standards. I had a new floor plan drawn up for it and considered all the options, but the truth is that if we did everything we wanted to do, we would have more in it than what we would ever get out of it in this neighborhood! And that doesn't include my own time in it...just the material costs! On top of that, we don't even like the neighborhood!
The third thing is that I have already retired early four years ago (at 62) because of a bad back, and can't do all the things that I used to do. I have built houses from the ground up and serviced everything in them at one time or another. But roofing, concrete work, and other tasks are beyond my capabilities now. I popped a tendon in my back nearly 44 years ago, and never got it repaired at the time, and I have been paying for my foolishness ever since. (I bear hugged a refrigerator and set it on the back of a pick-up truck, and two days later the tendon popped.) So why would I want to own a house and have to pay other people to do those tasks for me?
For every dollar we would spend in making this house what we would want it to be, that's another dollar taken away from doing what we REALLY want to do, and that's to get away from all the work, and travel! And on top of all that, with our love of travel and new adventures, why would we want to lock ourselves into one place, doing the same thing day after day in a place that we don't even like? That would be the height of stupidity!
Our situation is probably different than most other people, in that we have no one to leave anything to that would want it, or would want to deal with an estate attorney in disposing of it after we're gone. So the common sense thing to do is to not leave anything for anyone to fight over! What we wish people to have, we will give them while we are still able to make that decision, and sell off the rest for our own use!
We're healthy enough to enjoy life for (hopefully) many years yet, and feel that our best bet is to dispose of the excess stuff ourselves and reap the rewards of it. After all, we worked hard to pay for it, so why would we want to let some estate attorney tell everyone that it's only worth ten cents on the dollar (or less), when we know we can get far more than that out of it for our own pockets!
That's what they do, you know. They don't worry about "real" value. They call in some liquidator who buys up leftover stuff cheap, just to settle the estate, and the heirs get next to nothing, as most of it goes for the attorney's fees. They're not going to take the time to put it on eBay to get the best price for it. That's too much trouble. It's easier to screw the heirs out of that value and get everything out of the way as fast as possible. Been there, done that...seen it happen first hand on several occasions!
The state hankie collection that we sold on eBay for over $500 would have probably brought $5 from a liquidator. The Wishon Harell hand thrown wine carafe that just brought $140 would have brought maybe $4 from a liquidator. The 1953 Jubilee Edition toy tractor that sold for over $125 would have probably been given away to some kid or even junked because the tires had gotten loose on it. This is the reality of estate liquidation, People! And that's why we aren't going to let some idiot come in and devalue all our stuff that we worked so hard for! That value is going to go into our own pockets to help fund our traveling fun, and the heck with anyone else!
With the exception of a few Christmas and other holiday decorations which can be stored without taking up much room (that will be about 1/10th of what we have now) we are getting rid of anything that does not get used at least once in six months. Useless knick-knacks and dust collectors will be gone! Useless furniture will be gone! We refuse to pay for storage space for things that we don't use! We want to be outside, hiking, biking, and seeing this great country and enjoying it with other people of like minds...and I can tell you that there is no one within 50 miles of us right now that feels the same way we do! (That's where the closest membership resort is!) We need to get out of here and start living again!
Our real estate will be gone, and if the time ever comes where we need to quit traveling and settle down, it certainly won't be with more real estate! There are plenty of RV's and park models out there, and if we can't travel, we'll just find a spot to rent in a resort somewhere that has lots of amenities and stay put! And that can be anywhere in this great country that we choose! No more putting up with freezing weather, tornadoes, ice storms, and other crappy weather!
Real estate is a boat anchor, and an excuse for people to not go out and live their lives. In more cases than not, money is not made on real estate if you include all your own time in maintaining it. If you didn't do many of those repairs and improvements yourself, you would have to pay someone to do it. But yet many homeowner's don't include their own hours when they figure up their costs in maintaining real estate.
Smart investor's know how to make money even despite paying someone to do all the labor for them, but average people very seldom make money from hanging onto real estate, despite what they claim. If they put the same amount of money into safe investments, rather than real estate, they would be much farther ahead and with less work to do. They also wouldn't have to work so hard to fill up all that space with useless junk that serves no purpose other than to make them work harder to pay for it!
But there's an old saying that "everybody's got to be someplace", and for some, they just can't get past the obsolete theories that have been drilled into them by society for way too long. If it isn't worrying about what the neighbors or other family members think, it's their own ideas that they "just have to live in a house", when there is no concrete proof that doing so has ever gotten anyone farther ahead in anything. In fact, living a sedentary existence in a house can be downright unhealthy for many people, and for a lot of reasons. And that HAS been proven!
Another interruption that I have been faced with recently is trying to answer emails from people, when many of the things said in them would be better discussed on an open forum like a blog. Answers to questions about RVing, and home ownership are topics that those that are even "thinking" about pursuing those avenues might find enlightening, or at least food for thought.
So in that light, I am going to make more of an effort to put many of these thoughts down here, rather than reply to emails from individual people. After all, the process of disposing of personal possessions is a discomforting feeling that many try to avoid, and yet the process in itself is enlightening in many ways. Many people would like to know that others are also sharing the same thoughts and problems that they are going through.
We have a long way to go yet, but already we are feeling better in freeing up space and getting rid of much of the clutter that only causes more work. After all, the useless decorations fail to give visual pleasure when we have to spend hours dusting them rather than being somewhere else doing something that is more enjoyable. And if we "don't" clean them, then every time we look at them it lays a guilt trip on us from not doing so! You can't win unless you eliminate the problem!
As always I welcome your thoughts on this subject. Don't be afraid to comment! All you have to do is click on the "No Comments" link if there isn't any posted yet, and the comment form will open up.