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Moving solutions

We have resolved our moving problems. A blog reader (who we met last year in Utah) suggested the moving company they used. Their company is a freight hauler that has a "household move" division. You load and unload the truck, they just haul it. Since our stuff is already fully packed, that's a perfect solution for us and it saves us about $2000. We're meeting the truck next week to load it up and we'll hire people at the other end to unload it and put it in the empty house.

We've also decided to take the Honda Fit with us, at least as far as Ohio. We'll leave it with friends there, and either fly back and drive it home another time, or have it shipped. Driving it to Ohio gets it about 700 miles closer to Tucson (thus reducing cost if we pay to ship it), and it's easier to fly to Ohio cities from Tucson than to Vermont. We decided against taking the Fit all the way west with the Airstream since splitting up our team over two separate vehicles will be inconvenient for much of the travel we intend to do.

So when we leave Vermont, we won't be leaving a lot of things behind to deal with later. I'm glad to have that finally resolved. But it seems we are not alone. I have heard from a lot of people about the plight of storing and moving stuff. They have come to the same conclusions: acquire less "stuff" and don't let your possessions possess you. It's a false economy to hold on to a lot of things that you might need someday, if you are likely to move or attempt to go RV'ing full-time in the future.

One blog reader put it well, writing:

"I have moved the same boxes out to Vegas, through several storage units, a condo, a house and now a second house. Add to that grandma's and aunties gifts, the stuff our parents no longer want to store for us and you have a continued burden that we 'promise we'll go through and downsize someday, when we have the time'. HA!

Here's the secret... READ IT AGAIN ALOUD, before making non-consumable purchases. Ask: do I really need this? Will it make my life better? Will the same money, invested in a 401k allow me the comfort cushion I need to retire earlier? I saw a neat billboard a while back from a retirement investment firm. It showed a Rolex watch. The caption simply read, 'Cost: $6500, Cost at retirement: $28,500'. It all adds up.

It may not seem like it now, but you are richer for the experience and your burden lighter. I couldn't believe what you were doing originally. I thought sure, sell it now only to buy it when you have another home. Ridiculous...but now I've put the numbers to it, you're right.

My buddy in Vegas had an unimaginable way of upgrading his belongings. You see, for me, I can never throw out or even give away something that still has use. This must be the depression era parenting I've had. He on the other hand will buy a shirt and give one away. Buy a new set of golf clubs or artwork? Sell the ones they replace. He doesn't have a basement or a storage unit. Never has. That's what I have to do.

I looked up some of my 'prized possessions' on eBay. You know, the stuff I'll never use but placed too much value on to part with? It's all worth less than the cost of one move, say nothing of the three I've been through. It's not worth the mental, physical and psychological burden it places on us. You should have seen me the past few week-ends, trudging up and down stairs in godawful heat, then wear and tear on a vehicle and missing the selling season for our home. That's truly ridiculous.

And don't get me started on furniture that is more valuable un-refinished but which looks so awful to me that I won't have it smelling up my living space. Antiques road show can have all of it!"


Now the question is whether we will be able to resist the urge to fill up the new house with stuff. It is so easy, so tempting, so comforting to buy the things you see because "I'd like to have that," or "Wouldn't that look cool?" It is so insidious to accept gifts and keepsakes from relatives and friends because they are free and given with the good intentions. It is so hard to divest yourself from things that are perfectly good but unneeded.

Our "acquisition test" will have to be strict. We will have to remind ourselves that we got along just fine for two years in an Airstream without anything more than what we possess today. Plus, we have several thousand pounds of additional stuff left over from the last house, including tools, china, spare clothes, some furniture, and specialty things like a pasta maker. It's already more than we need in most departments. If we are buying something for the house, we need to ask why.

It's like going on a lifetime diet. In this society, as sated as we are with food and consumer products, it's the exception to be thin or have an empty garage. You actually have to work at not having too much. But this is a nice problem to have. Living lean is less expensive, which means more money for freedom and perhaps even earlier retirement. Rather than being a painful experience of "doing without", it is relief from a silent burden. I am looking forward to continuing the simplicity of full-time RV living even when we eventually move into a traditional house for 3/4 of the year.

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