Thursday, February 10, 2011

Traveling....Selling it ALL

My Mom was our cashier.  Having great help was a must!  One person doing the cashier is a great idea.  Drake was the bagger and he also helped make piles on our lawn.  If people had their hands full, our kids would take it and add it to the pile.  The visitors loved the personal attention.  Many of them came everyday!  LOL
Where do you begin and how do you do it?  I get asked these questions a lot by people who are thinking of hitting the road full time or just want to downsize their life.  A year ago, in January, we started thinking about selling our stuff, simplifying our lives and doing something crazy.  It wasn't crazy to us because we had always dreamed of living full time in a motor home.  We just thought that we would do this when we retired.

Why now? It's a long story, but basically we had gone through some changes with work, faith and hitting 40...LOL  Some have called it a mid life crisis....we call it being adventurous and reinventing our lives.  It is never too young or you never too old to start fresh, start new, start today.

We made lots of list.  I am a list person and I like to see things in print.  I have always made list and this huge event in my life would create the mother of all list: what to sell, when to sell, where to sell, what kind of RV, what time of year to leave, how to sell everything, who would want our was never ending.  I had help though.  

Not only do I like to make list, I like to research.  I began looking for families that had done or were doing the same thing we were thinking of doing.  The decision still had not been MADE..just a thought, but we all know that once we think it, the process has already been put into motion. I found several websites on line that documented their experiences.  These were a ton of help!  Based on what I read and looking at what we had I knew it would be a huge undertaking.  So in advance, I was aware of the work that this would involve.

We had been married for 22 years, in our current home for 5 years and our home was 4000 square feet. We had toys...trailers, jet ski's, ATV's...all would have to go.  We had to sell everything for several reasons.  We needed the money to fund our adventure, we wanted to teach our kids that you can live and be happy without stuff and we needed a fresh start. 

We borrowed a ton of tables from friends and family.  I had profession signs made to post along the street.  I posted in the papers.  Advertising was the key to our success!

After talking, discussing, praying and a lot more talking...we asked the kids what they thought.  We would never make a decision like this without asking our kids first.  The jury is still out on what they think, but during this planning process they were supportive and very helpful in the process.  We asked the kids to not discuss with anyone our decision for a while.  We needed to figure a few things out before it became public knowledge that the Watson's had lost their minds.   We have had many reactions to our decision.  Most people are envious, some of jealous, some could never do it themselves, and others can't wait until their adventure starts.  We knew without a shadow of a doubt that what we were doing was right for our family.  Hearing of peoples shock and alarm did not shake us one bit.  We actually laughed, at ourselves of course for having this crazy dream and making it a reality.

Our trusty truck!  This is what is pulling our home now.  It's been good to us.

My first task was sorting!  This was huge...I went through every single thing in our house...EVERYTHING!  I immediately started sorting...things to sell, things to keep, things to donate, things to throw away.  In this process we took 15 truck loads to the dump....10 loads to thrift stores....and sold the rest.  I ended up keeping about 25 tubs of stuff.  We still have some furniture that I wanted to save that had meaning to me.

SO, all in all we still have a small amount of mementos...scrapbooks, quilts, heirloom items, letters, etc....
I knew that I needed help.  I spent about 3 months going through my entire house, I labeled everything as I went.  I started shuffling rooms around. I had one room that would hold everything that would go with us, a room (the garage) where everything would go to be sold and tons of black garbage bags for trash and thrift store (kept on the front porch).  I am talking 3 months of everyday, some days 8 hours sorting.  It was SOOOO much work.  The sorting is something that you really have to do yourself. You know what you want and don't want.  Having someone asking you constantly "this" or "this" takes time and it slows the process down.  Put your big girl panties on and just get to work...LOL

It was a wonderful opportunity to relive my life...the sorting allowed me to read letters from my hubby when we were first married and he was in Iraq, I had a chance to revisit family heirlooms and the memories I had associated with them, it was fulfilling to see my life and what we had accomplished in 20+ years. With that said, I am so glad to have most of it stored safely away in a few tubs.

We were dealing with weather in Utah.  I started sorting in March and we projected that the snow and weather would get better in June. We had to leave by September.  Our window of selling and leaving was very small. I planned on flying my Mom down for 2 weeks to help with the estate sale.  This was a huge help to me.  The estate sale was insane.  We advertised well and the people came. It took 4-5 people to help with the 3 day event.

I organized everything.  If I had 5 of the same like toy, they went in a bag and had one price, I put 10 pairs of socks in a bag with one price.  I grouped a ton of stuff and people loved that.  I had very few individually priced items.  They are just too small and people don't want to dig through "stuff"..they want it to be easily accessible and priced.

I started a folder for all of the titles and manuals to the vehicles, ATV's, washer and dryer and other items.  This made it much easier if someone called about something or had questions.  Organization is your friend during this process...if you are not organized yourself, then ask for help. was priced to sell.  Did I sell things that I payed way too much money for...YOU BET I DID.  But, I did not care.  I saw the bigger picture, I knew the experience we would have...I just knew it was right.  I got to the point of being so tired towards the end, that I just gave away stuff.  When you make the choice to sell, you detach yourself from the emotional pull of the items.  I did not care anymore, or at least, like I did a few months before.

I don't know when we will pull it all out again. Our goal was to be on the road for one year.  I do know that we have learned to live smaller, simpler and I am grateful for this.  I don't want big ever again.  I want memories and opportunities more than I want stuff.

We left on July 24th for the adventure of a life time.  We have passed 6 months and still know that what we did was right for our family.  If you are thinking of doing this too, please feel free to ask me any questions that you have.  I could not possible talk about all the things that go into making this happen in one blog entry.

Is it WORK?  You bet your socks it is, but it IS so WORTH it!

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