I’ll always remember this move as the big downsize, when we sold our 1,100 square foot house and 40 foot by 50 foot garage on 1.4 acres in Bartlett, TN and moved into our first RV, a 2010 Tiffin Allegro bus/motorhome.
I’d been downsizing for a long time and thought I would be ready, but I was still surprised by how many things we had squirreled away in the spaces we’d lived in for 23 years, and I was still trying to sort through things as we were moving out.
Our sons came to stay with us and they worked on the house before we listed it and then helped us move things into the store and lock, and I really do not know what we would have done without all their help. We would not have been ready.
The house sold six days after we listed it and we had two buyers bidding. On Monday, Nov. 23rd we closed on the house and the buyers took immediate possession, so we had to have everything out and ready to go before then. That would have been a lot even if there were nothing else added on.
But as the ads on television say, “But wait! There’s more!” My husband also housed his business, Whistle Clean Incorporated, in that big garage, so there was an office to dismantle and a business to move out of that garage, everything from office furniture and files to business equipment and chemicals.
The guys worked on Friday the 20th, a regular work day to finish the work, then they collected their last paychecks, and the business closed for any more work. I listed office furniture and equipment for sale and my husband moved everything Whistle Clean into a store and lock. This would be our second store and lock as I already had one for our household things. I am keeping things that mean something to me, antiques and momentos. No, I will not be a person who “gets rid of everything” but in each case these are things I would want around me as I get older and want to be surrounded by my memory things. The question I asked myself was, “If there’d been a house fire, would I be upset at the loss of this?” Having lived through a house fire, I had a pretty good idea of what I’d be upset about and what I wouldn’t. So the decisions were easy for me, and my treasured things are in a temperature controlled storage unit.
So, now we had two store and locks. Whistle Clean was officially done cleaning houses and my husband had retired. He had previously tried to sell the business with no luck (guys wanted to run it but didn’t want to work, or sweat and that is not the way a pressure cleaning service company works) and then he had planned to keep the business going, running it from the road while he retired from doing the heavy work, but that was not to be. One employee had a heart attack the week before we closed and the other announced he was going to Mexico for two months. There would be no one left in Memphis to do the work. The doors would have to close. It wasn’t the optimal way to end, but the signs were clear that it was time to move on. We had a new lifestyle to begin and we were both ready to get on with it.
I’m writing this on December 17th and just today Mike finished emptying the Whistle Clean store and lock. Part of the delay has been the first trip we took, down to Florida to see his mother for Thanksgiving as she was alone there and we hadn’t taken a trip in the motorhome anywhere yet! I’ll write about that in another post, as this one is just for the big downsize.
Tomorrow we get on the road from Memphis to Kentucky. He will drive the motorhome, pulling my car while I drive his truck full of tools and equipment he is keeping to Kentucky, where he will store them along with woodworking equipment and wood for his projects. While we will be living in the motorhome full time, we do have things we are keeping, here and there.
Once we unload his things in KY, the downsizing will be officially done and then we can head for the warm sunshine and our next adventure. And that, I suspect, will feel awesome.
I’ll be back with more of our story and our travels soon, so stay tuned and remember that every day we are alive is a beautiful day!
Debra Parmley, your Beautiful Day Traveler
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