It has been a long time since I posted on this blog. These days, the attention that was once lavished here goes to “Our 1948 House”, the new blog about the joys of owning a 1948 house. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to revisit the past though, and see how things have changed.
This house no longer seems gigantic. Sometimes, it seems very small! We’re still working on it, so only about half of it is being used right now. That’s still far more space than we had in the travel trailer.
So how did our travel trailer experiment work?
It served its purchase. It was cheap. We bought a cheap used travel trailer, and it was cheap to live in. That was the biggest advantage. Maybe the only one, for us anyhow.
There were some other advantages. It was portable, and we could have moved it to any location we desired. That is a useful feature, but wasn’t practical for us. We had to rent a truck to tow it. It’s a massive trailer (30′) to tow, especially when you aren’t used to towing anything bigger than an 8′ cargo trailer. I don’t think I would be thrilled with its size if we were actually nomadic. We also learned that a 30′ trailer that was badly designed offered no more real space than a much better designed one half of its size. We probably would not have minded our downsizing if we had had space that was better designed for storage and workspace.
It is really tough when you are stuck inside due to weather, day after day. On the coast, with the heat and humidity, punctuated by frequent severe storms, that was often the case for us. There was no way we could just take our laptops out and sit by a portable outdoor table to work. Maybe it would have been better if we had been somewhere that was more conducive to outdoor living.
We had too much stuff in the trailer. It meant we couldn’t find anything ever. We had too many clothes too. If you are going to live in a space like that, you need to eliminate almost everything you normally have from the space that you’ll be sharing with it. Unfortunately, we kept the tools we’d need and a number of the books we’d read. Add in summer and winter clothes (we were in the trailer for two years) and it was way too much stuff.
We paid for a storage unit to hold the overflow. That didn’t work so well. Granted we were going to need all of that stuff when we moved into the h ouse, but…
A lot of the stuff was ruined after two years of storage. Clothes smelled funky. Baking pans rusted. Electric motors died. Books smelled musty. We may as well have gotten rid of it at the beginning and put the storage money towards new stuff.
You might want the storage unit to hold your “overflow” items, such as hobby gear, tools, bicycles, etc., but…don’t store furniture unless it’s heirloom quality (and maybe then go with climate controlled storage) and don’t store general household goods either. Storing clothing beyond exchanging seasonal boxes is also a waste. The same goes for books. Face it, after paying storage for two years, we could have bought entirely new stuff, and we’d have been ahead of the game.
Storage units need to be nearby if they are your overflow storage. We had ours what we thought was close, but it was still an hour round trip to and from it, plus the time required for hunting through the unit. By the time the two years was up, it was a jumbled mess. Many things were broken too.
So when you downsize, do it full tilt. Get rid of the stuff. Sell it. Give it away. Donate it. Throw it out. Whatever it takes, make it disappear. Most things, you will never miss. For keepsakes, get a small container, whatever you consider appropriate for your circumstances, be it a shoe box or a trunk. Make yourself ONLY keep what fits in it. Go through it once in awhile and when you can’t remember why you saved that thing…throw it out and make room for a new memory.