Downsizing process

Tim and I started planning for our retirement about 5 years ago. We spent quite a bit of time researching the lifestyle, types of RVs and trailers, budgets, and places to visit but very little time on what to do with our stuff. I guess we thought that part would be easy and we would have plenty of time to do it. Now that we are only a few months away from living in our RV, I can honestly say that we still have way too much stuff.

I mentioned in a previous post that we moved from our home of 25 years and didn’t really get rid of much during that move. We should have used that as the first step and purged as we packed. Unfortunately, we move it all and bought a larger home so purchased even more over the next few years. You tend to fill up the space you have, don’t you?

We made a decision to move back to Pittsburgh 2 years ago and were a bit smarter with that move. Knowing that we wanted to retire in a few years, we decided to rent rather than buying another home. I convinced Tim that we should rent an apartment downtown so we could experience city living. Moving from a 4000 sq. ft. home to a 1320 sq. ft. apartment forced us to purge. I started my new job and stayed with our daughter and son in law during the week and went back home on weekends. Over the next few months, we spent the weekends going through each room and deciding what to take with us and what to eliminate.

We had three garage sales over those few months. One thing that I did right was to decide that what went out to the garage would not come back into the house. Each sale was over 2 days and at the end of that time, we loaded the truck with anything that didn’t sell and donated it. We sold quite a bit and donated even more. We also gave stuff away to family and friends. We pitched stuff and shredded so much paper. I could not believe how much there was. Overall, we got rid of probably two thirds of our belongings.

Moving day came and as we unloaded into the apartment, we realized we still had way too much. We were overflowing. So much for moving towards a minimalist lifestyle. We had to get a storage unit for the first few months and rotate stuff between storage and the apartment, until we determined exactly what we needed and then finally got rid of the rest.


After a year in the apartment, Tim wanted to move. He did not like high rise apartment living in town. We rented half of a duplex in a suburb and it was a little smaller than the apartment. I started the process again of going through the cupboards and closets to eliminate more of the belongings that we did not use that much. . Gave more to family and donated more, especially kitchen items. I feel that with these 2 moves, I was pretty successful downsizing the kitchen and household items. I also have greatly reduced my wardrobe and won’t have too much difficulty getting that reduced further when I quit working. I am still working on some items, like these green glasses. Do I keep them? My parents got them as a wedding present and I always loved them.


I know they won’t travel well so I will probably pack them to store at our daughter’s initially. There are many challenging decisions in this process. Tim has had more difficulty with this process than me. Luckily, our current place has a spare bedroom and a small basement. He has those areas full of the boxes that he still needs to go through. He has been working on it a little bit at a time and he is slowly making progress. Now that winter is coming to an end (I hope!), we have to start working harder at this process. Our goal now is to clean out more every weekend, either selling it on line, giving it away to family or donating it. We have this small stack of bags and boxes to donate after this past weekend’s work efforts. Definitely not enough progress!