Our downsizing journey, which began in the fall of 2012, ended on a balmy day in March.
Once the truck and van were unloaded, the real fun work began—finding places for all we’d brought with us. Even though we’d culled and tossed, we still found duplicates and extras.
Four weeks later, all the stuff has a home. There are no boxes on the front porch or in the house.
We ended up repacking many boxes. Some to store for a garage sale this summer. Some to our church’s thift shop.
Lastly we swapped the dining room chandelier for one we’ve had in every home since 1972.
We’re finally home.
There are still a few last touches to complete.
A new storage shed so my husband can have his workshop back.
A garage – can’t survive Colorado winters without a place for the cars.
A master bedroom addition above the garage so there’s plenty of room for company to visit.
Overall, our transition from urban living to simplified mountain top living is complete. We don’t miss the traffic, the fast food, or the noise. We love watching the wildlife from our bay window as we sip our morning coffee, our long walks on the forest trails, and the clean mountain air.
Our downsizing journey began in the fall of 2012. If you haven’t been following the saga, you can catch up on Phase 1 and Phase 2.
We planned to leave on our new adventure after the New Year and be settled in our Colorado home by spring.
Our son and his wife came to help us, selected furniture they wanted to stay in the family. That’s Wendy’s head above the open box on the floor.
After they left, the months betwixt and between our anticipated departure date found our thoughts focused on the new place when reality was living in the old place that no longer resembled our home. We’d find ourselves going to a cabinet to put something where it had lived for thirty-three years only to realize that that cabinet was no longer there!
It now lived in our son’s home.
Every thing was on schedule until Mother Nature threw a curve into our plans. Sub-zero temperatures in Colorado created an electrical outage at our destination home.
Unfortunately, when the electricity returned, our furnace didn’t reignite. Pipes froze. Four pipes burst.
We quit packing our Houston house, drove to Colorado, and found:Amazingly, tear-out went smoothly and restoration was fast. Replacement floors arrived as promised. The house was ready for the arrival of our daughter and her family for spring break. While they played in the snow, we returned to Houston and finished packing.
Finally, on a ninety-degree day in March, we pulled away from the home we’d lived in for thirty-three years. With all our worldly possessions loaded into a trailer and a U-Haul, we headed to our new home in the Rio Grande National Forest where the final phase of our adventure began. More about that next Tuesday.
If you’re not familiar with Carlin (I wasn’t), think Seinfeld. Btw, the definition of observational comedy is humor based on commonplace aspects of everyday life. Carlin’s routine STUFF fits perfectly what happened to us.
For a full two weeks, we organized. We gave away. Passed to children and family. Shredded.
And, yes, we kept things. Some treasures we just couldn’t part with and some furniture we’ll use in our new place.
Finally, we held our garage sale. What fun talking with all the folks who stopped by.
We heard some great stories. (You’ll find parts of some of those stories in future Judythe Morgan manuscripts.) I loved the smiles on the faces of those who took away our treasures and made them theirs. Our stuff had found happy homes.
The house is mostly empty now. The rooms echo. The walls are bare.
The woodwork and floors clean and polished. I can’t praise Liquid Gold enough. Windows glisten thanks to Windex. Easy Off turned our originally installed ovens into shiny clean.
I am feeling like a heavy burden has been lifted, but the process involved lots of physical labor and emotional drain.
Onto the next phase now. The house is up for sale.
We’re waiting for the perfect person to buy the home we’ve loved and cherished.
Next time I’ll share how this new phase of our transition progresses.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Anyone recognize that paragraph? I hope so. It’s the introductory paragraph to the Declaration of Independence. My fingers automatically typed those words instead of what I was meaning to say thanks to some teacher who made us memorize it and the Preamble to the Constitution.
Guess I became sidetracked by all the political ads and chatter everywhere. Today we have the option to cast a ballot for the Presidential candidate of our choice.
Now you go do the same. It’s our right and our privilege.
But I digress, the course of events that I meant to reference is that point in our lives when we recognize the time for change has arrived and we must do some personal downsizing.
No denying. All of us reach such a point sooner or later. By choice or by death.
As an antiques dealer, I’ve done enough estates – either as organizer, buyer or seller – to know that all our stuff ultimately has to go. Hearses don’t pull U-Hauls. We’re no longer an Egyptian pyramid culture where we entomb our worldly goods with us.
Recently, my husband and I returned from our vacation home and looked around at our beautiful home in the suburbs of the nation’s 4th largest city and experienced a tipping point.
We asked one another, “Why do we need all this stuff?”
The obvious answer was we don’t. For 4-5 months every year, we live in a small, small house in the Rio Grande National Forest and love every minute of it. We come back to hustle and bustle and headaches. So we asked ourselves, “Why?”
That’s when we reached the tipping point and decided to sell our house and stuff and vie for a simple life in the woods.
Our children are extremely grateful that they won’t be saddled with the grueling task after we’re gone. I think watching us disburse estates of our parents, his older sister, and our aunt and uncle convinced them it was an arduous job.
We’ve discovered a fringe benefit — seeing our children enjoy the things of their childhood and objects from our home in theirs.
That’s Chicken Wrangler Sara and her original Barbie house. She couldn’t believe we’d kept it all these years!
Our son and his son playing chess on the table where my husband and son played many a game.
This knife set (a wedding present to my husband and me) now hangs in our youngest daughter’s kitchen.
On Tuesdays, I’ll be blogging about our journey to simplify and the amazing freedom we’re finding as we turn the stuff loose. I’ll tell you how we decided what to get rid of and what to keep and how we disbursed the stuff.
Probably not every Tuesday. After all, this is a monumental task that takes time.
Plus I have another book due out this year. Gotta get in my writing time.