At Treetop RV Resort, Arlington, Texas...
It would be difficult to describe adequately the exhausting chaos of the last few days leading up to the real estate closing and the possession of the house by the new owners. If you have fulltiming on your mind and think you can rationally and reasonably purge all of your excess belongings in 21 days, then please--for the love of God--don't try it!
The first couple of weeks seemed to go pretty well, with what we thought was a system in place to deal with the various dispositions of the goods. It was about at the end of this time that it became evident that our system was not purging fast enough to reach the goal of cleaning out the house in time for the closing. So, we studied our options and decided we would do what any trained professional would do--panic!
The most time consuming and frustrating part of purging is the fact that you actually have to look at every single thing you own, no matter how small, and make a decision as to what to do with it. And after nearly 40 years of marriage, we had a lot of things--thousands of them, in fact--to look at.
As closing date drew nearer, our evaluation of each item and the decision about its disposition was afforded less and less time. And within a couple of days of the closing, our looking and thinking turned into mere glances and no thinking. By the last day before closing, the stuff was being tossed into large boxes labeled "Last Minute Junk." Any semblance of the orderly process had flown out the window.
Almost all of the "last minute junk" went straight to the storage facility to be sorted out the next time we're in town. Unless, of course, a mysterious fire consumes the storage facility at a time when we have a good alibi. Where is Guido when we need him?
But, somehow we did it; the house was empty within a few hours after closing, but not without its exacting a toll on our rapidly aging bodies. I don't know when we've been so tired.
Our exhaustion was so great that we really didn't get to appreciate fully the huge change that just happened in our lives. We think it really won't hit us until we actually leave the Metroplex and get on the open road in a couple of days. But that's another post.
Here are a few observations that we can share with you now that that we're houseless:
In order to keep your sanity and your health, take a least a year to do your downsizing; more time is better. Doing it in 21 days is utterly ridiculous! (In our defense, weak as it may be, we thought the house would take much longer to sell.)
Be brutal about the things you discard; we are a ridiculously affluent society, and we actually need very few of the possessions we have accumulated. (We weren't nearly brutal enough, but it did make us feel better that we gave all of our excess things to family or charity and sold nothing.)
Keeping a bunch of stuff in a storage facility is a loser. The rent charges will soon eclipse the value of the things you kept. (Yes, we're guilty, but we can correct this mistake; we're going to purge again when we get our senses back.)
Digitize the old paper photos and slides--especially ones of important family members, friends and events. You can start doing this years in advance, and you won't have thousands of photos hanging around in boxes, deteriorating. By the way, it's up to you to save this legacy for your descendants; your knowledge of the subjects in the photos is irreplaceable. (We have many photos digitized, but not nearly enough.)
I wish I could report that we have entered a realm of euphoria that is only achievable through this newly found freedom, but it is just too soon. Right now, we're still recovering from our self-induced exhaustion, but we do know that living in Phannie seems like being home, and it makes us happy; that can't be bad. We will keep you posted.
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.