It’s been just under a year now since minimalism changed the way we operate. After viewing “The Minimalists” documentary, we began to see how our current life wasn’t working for us. We had allowed ourselves to believe that owning 2165 sq ft of stuff was the key to happiness. It wasn’t, and underneath we knew it, we just needed someone to tell us. The day after watching the documentary, we began to downsize. Next, we placed our house on the market and planned to buy a travel trailer. Once the house sold, we would move the RV to a piece of land and begin paying down debt. The next step was to buy or build a small home where we could live every day. Then once my husband retired, we would purchase a truck that could tow our little McMansion to see the world. The puzzle was coming together in our minds all we needed was the benefit of time. Those are lofty goals I know, but possible ones. What we didn’t consider is that the financial decisions we make today will impact us long into the future.
Real estate professionals like a neat staged house, or an empty canvas. We were eager to comply by attacking our boxes left unpacked from our last move. We made two piles, keep and give away. We had not seen those items in eighteen months, and it wasn’t much of a problem to see them out. We ended up retaining four small boxes out of eighteen large ones. We continued over the next couple of months working in the few hours we had per day. By this point, we had donated half of our possessions. The minimalism taboo happened next, the storage room. We needed a place to place for our new boxes, and our living situation was in limbo. We reasoned that the idea of obtaining short-term storage to keep everything separate was valid. We now know it was a mistake. It’s one thing if a company is storing your belongings until they deliver them to you, and the date of delivery is a certainty.
For a couple who strived to get out of debt and downsize we weren’t doing very well. We bought the travel trailer on credit. We were supposed to buy it with cash once we sold the house, but I jumped the gun. A new job meant relocation. My husband and I needed to be closer to work and instead of renting we decided to go forward with the purchase of the Jayco. Worse, the house wasn’t selling or showing well (it was a fixer). The offers were low, and acceptance would have resulted in a loss. At the end of six months, our contract with the realtor ended, and we pulled out. We wanted the house to list as “move in ready” and attractive to buyers. This required money, and resulted in no extra payments on debt. A month later, we both came down with the flu, and then my grandfather passed away. Living in two places one during the week, and one on the weekend was hard. A decision was made to empty the house and take up full residence in the travel trailer.
After completing some of the work ourselves, we hired a new realtor, and she became our general contractor. The work was expensive, but it paid off. Less than a week after most of the remodel ended, we received an offer. When the home inspector came out, he noted the age of the air conditioner, hot water heater, and the paint job. The buyers backed out without giving us a chance to correct the deficiencies. With the replacements, came new buyers and a closing date in Mid-July. The land we purchased, turned into quite the ordeal and I will cover that in a future post.
Where are we now? We have been living in the trailer full time. An inheritance I received took care of a good chunk of our debt. I’m no longer working (temp job), we are still having land issues, and we have two storage rooms instead of one. I have been going through them to pare down seriously. I’m also doing a no shopping ban to save money, and we are starting to get our act together on getting everything onto one property.
Goals need to be a part of our future, but we also need to be aware of the pitfalls that can occur. I asked Courtney Carver in the middle of this mess what to do when life becomes uncertain. Her answer was simple, “Life is always uncertain.” We all need to remember this. You can’t get to the roses without encountering the thorns. With our pruning shears and gloves in hand, our table will look fantastic. Hope to see you there.