As we begin implementing our plan to become digital nomads and travel the USA by motorcycle, we know downsizing will have to be done in many stages. Physically and mentally!
- Minimize clothing
- Give away/sell all our belongings
- Pack/move to new housing
- Out with the old, in with only what we need
- Make peace with giving away our “stuff”
- Prepare to live in a smaller space
Our motto has been: If it doesn’t fit on the bike, we don’t need it
Now, obviously we will need things that don’t fit on the bike. Things like tools for maintaining the bike, a few personal items, specialty household items like our juicer, and some clothes. For things like this, we will pack them in bins, and they will go in the car.
- Reduce in number or size
- Make smaller in size
- Simplify by reducing the number of one’s possessions
- Become smaller in size by reductions in assets
- Live in a simpler way, especially by moving into a small residence
What does downsizing look like for us:
- Reduce our possessions
- Sell our home
- Share one car
We decided it was time to sell our big, historical home, as the first step in implementing our digital nomad lifestyle. Time to start the physical downsize process, and the mental preparation of saying goodbye to our “stuff”.
Both Trevor and I owned homes before we met. In 2016, we bought a house together. A big house. Afterall, we have four girls and two dogs, we needed space. So, we bought a house, moved all our belongings in and lived there for 3 years.
The girls grew up and moved out. Trevor and I wanted to start traveling more. We didn’t want to spend our weekends cleaning a big house and caring for a large yard. It was just the two of us now, we didn’t need all this space.
Our house went on the market in July 2019. This is a big house, we had a large, four floor home, fully furnished. We needed to clean it out, pack what we were taking with us, and find a place to live! At this point in time, we were not ready to hit the road, so we needed to find an apartment or house to rent. Two months later, the house was sold, and we were in an apartment!
The Downsizing Process
As we started packing our house, we gave a lot of thought as to what we would be taking with us, and what we could part with. In the end, I’m sure we could have parted with a lot more, but this was our first round, we knew there would be more.
We rented a small apartment. There were three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and an office for Trevor.
We decided we would set up the master bedroom and one guest room. The third bedroom was going to be made into a room for our dogs. They would sleep and eat in there, keep their toys in there, and we would use the closet for storage.
The easiest thing to decide on was clothes. We opened the closets and draws, and anything we didn’t wear in the last year, we got rid of. Ok, let’s be honest, that was the goal. But the reality was, there were items that we just really didn’t want to get rid of just yet, even though we didn’t wear them! Since we knew there would be several rounds for this process, we kept a few things that we really didn’t need.
Furniture & Decorative Items
We knew there was a lot of furniture we would not need, so deciding what to keep vs sell was easy. All we needed was two-bedroom sets, a living room set, kitchen set, and Trevor’s office furniture. Everything else could be sold.
Next, we cleaned out decorative items. This was things like pictures, knick-knacks, and decorations. I’d say we kept about half of what we had. We also had several sets of dishes, pots & pans, and silverware. Cutting these items down to a setting for eight as easy.
We decided to have yard sales and sell as much furniture and items as we could. There is a lot of things we didn’t need, such as three couches and a fancy dining room set. All the yard equipment and lawn furniture could be sold. And we certainly didn’t need the loads of clothes, shoes, knick-knacks, and all the other things we were moving from home to home.
Thankfully, I love yard sales! I love going to them, and I love having them. We had four yard sales and they were very successful. Anything that didn’t sell was donated to our local Savers.
This would be our first of three downsizing sessions.
How Did We Do
Well, we did great! We cleaned out a lot of things and settled into our new apartment. Fast forward 5 months and a life changing event, Covid-19, the pandemic!
Two daughters needed to come home. Dorms were closing, life was changing. One took the guest bedroom and made it her own. The dogs lost their room and that become another bedroom. We are now 4 adults living in a little apartment, in a pandemic, not leaving the house, togetherness 24/7.
After 4 months we decided we needed to move. We didn’t love the complex we were living in, but we were not ready to hit the road just yet. So, we decided to rent a home and we moved again! Trevor can work from anywhere, so it worked out great.
Downsizing Session #2
Once again, we went through clothes, household items, furniture, and decorative items. We left most of the furniture in the apartment, as one daughter was staying there for a few months before moving into her first apartment.
Moving with us would be two beds and a bureau, a small cabinet, and Trevor’s office furniture. We donated a lot of clothes and decorative items. Once we were moved and settled, we bought a new couch and chair. When we are ready to leave here, our daughter will take these items to her new apartment!
So Close We Can Taste It
Finally, we are in the last few months of living in our current home. We are in the process of determining what we will take with us and what we will give away and sell.
Each week we donated bags of clothes and several decorative items that we don’t need. Every day we continue to clean out and decide exactly what we will take with us.
Trevor says “if it doesn’t fit on the bike, we don’t need it”. So, we look at things and ask ourselves, “do we need it”, if the answer is no, it goes! And I must admit, this mentality is really growing on me. I’m looking at things differently, I feel so relaxed and at peace with the thought of a life free of clutter and things!
Have you ever downsized before? Do you think you could give away all your belongings and hit the open road? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!