We didn’t need to be mathletes to realize 5,000+ square feet of “stuff” wouldn’t squeeze into a 700 square foot park model!
We didn’t realize it at the time we were packing up our stuff, but we were following these 4 steps to downsize:
1Decide what we THOUGHT we wanted to keep
Keep family heirlooms and mementos. It’s kind of shocking how many boxes of mementos we have. We decided to just organize what we have and minimize the amount of space needed to store it. We also kept several antiques we inherited from Holly’s parents. Some of the decisions on antiques were easier than others. If a piece has multiple purposes, it’s easier to make a case for keeping it!
Keep important papers. For now, we’ve kept the required number of years of tax documents and other papers. We eventually want to scan it all in and get rid of the paper copies.
Keep smaller furniture. We kept smaller pieces we thought would fit into our park model. Small chairs, anything with good storage, and lamps were no-brainers.
Keep household basics. The last thing we wanted to do was get rid of too much and have to go buy it again. I think for the most part we were successful at this. I’m pretty sure the only think we’ve had to re-purchase is scissors!
2Decide what we KNEW we needed to get rid of
We made dozens of trips to make charitable donations. We donated everything from blenders to lawn chairs to dress shoes (and dresses). We took pictures of everything we donated and got receipts to use as tax deductions.
Carter created an online garage sale through Facebook. I’m not sure of the psychology behind it, but it was easier to get rid of some things when we knew they were going to friends and family. We love that some of our friends now have our Christmas decorations, winter coats, and shop equipment.
Holly consigned over 200 items. We researched the best consignment shops in Denver and decided to sell as much as we could. We sold home decorations, furniture, artwork, and antiques. The money we made from the consignments is still sitting in a separate account so we can use it for any needed work on our park model.
3Go back through everything we thought we wanted to keep
Holly has a hoarding problem with pillows and blankets. And, no, this is not an exaggeration. Plus, we needed to downsize from 4 bedrooms, 3 living areas, 5 bathrooms, and 4 patios to 1 bedroom, 2 living areas, 2 bathrooms, and no patio at all.
The first round of sorting helped, but it was clear we needed to get rid of even more. We sorted everything again and made a list of what we really needed. Some of the decisions were easy – we knew we wouldn’t have a king bed, so all of the king-sized linens got donated. Cody got one of our queen mattress sets and lots of furniture for his new apartment.
4Repeat step 3
We repeated step 3 at least 5 times. And, now we’re in maintenance mode!