Countdown to the Nomad Life: A Recap of the 6 Weeks I Spent Downsizing

Downtown Boise, Idaho

Excitement, determination, worry… here are some of my musings during the 6-week time period from when my house went under contract (July 24) and when I was due to be out, September 4, 2020 — the day I started my nomad journey.

My mantras? Change your surroundings, change your life. Experiences over possessions. Joie de vivre.

If you’re just getting to know me, here’s more on Why I Decided to Sell My House, 99% of my Belongings, and Travel the U.S. by Car (In the Middle of a Pandemic)

D-Day!:

Spoiler alert — I pulled it off! 🙌🙌🙌🙌

The house is empty and clean. My storage unit is locked and loaded. The last of my items donated. My mail is forwarded. My utilities are transferred. And my SUV is packed. Penny and I are on our way!

And I could not have done it without help from my friends. 💕

The final week:

I’m now a couple days away from closing and I am down to my last 5% of personal possessions. I look at the blinking clock, see the items I still need to shed (whether sell, donate, or pack and store), and I definitely feel a bout of hysteria coming on.

But I recall this statement from my mom: “You always pull it off.” And maybe I needed the pressure of a deadline to bring this to its finish line. 💕

Week 5 of 6:

And the downsizing and liquidating continues!! My selling strategy was like so:

1) list all the larger and/or more-valuable (IE: $20 and up) items on OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace, and wheel-and-deal via instant message
2) for all the smaller or less-valuable items: garage sale
3) anything left over, donate

And, OHMYGOSH… garage sales are a TON of work!! What was I thinking, that I was gonna just throw some things in the garage? Nope. I probably spent 12 hours pulling things out of cabinets, drawers, and closets, transporting them to the garage, and displaying them in a way that made sense, all for a mere few hundred dollars. But I digress. My advice to anyone considering what I’m doing: do your selling earlier than later. You’ll be fine if you are lacking some creature comforts in your last few weeks.

The garage sale was also an opportunity to hold a simultaneous “open house” and have my friends come and offer up goodbyes. It was sooo good for the soul. And damn… this is really happening. 💕

Week 4 of 6:

Week 4’s mantras of the week: “I’m actually really going to pull this off!” and “Am I seriously doing this?”

I had a lot of wins in week 4. Things are coming together! I also got good news about my SUV at the beginning of the week (the insurance company isn’t going to total it!!) — which is such a relief. One less thing to deal with!

I made a ton of progress further sorting and organizing my things into sell, consign, donate, bestow, pack up and store, and throw away/recycle piles. Some big ticket items were sold, which renewed me, I bestowed some nice kitchen items to my nephew for his wedding, and I boxed up a few things to put in storage, reserving a closet-sized unit. I’m keeping only my most-loved, most-practical, and most-meaningful items. Thought-starter for you: If you thought about your possessions like that, how much would you have?!

I also decide to start my journey in Boise, Idaho, and make a personal goal to try to visit all 50 states within a year (as of this writing, I am at 36 out of 50). 💕

Week 3 of 6:

3 weeks down, 3 weeks to go until I am officially a non-homeowner, non-resident of Arizona, and gypsy nomad roadtripper! This week was tougher than the last. Firstly, I learned that the totally cosmetic hail damage to my Honda CR-V — that I bought just 3 months ago now with less than 40,000 miles — is a total loss according to my insurance company. Secondly, I learned that there are about 17 things wrong with my house that will cost me approximately three piles of money. And I came to the cold hard conclusion that I have spent a literal fortune on clothing, purses, shoes and other crap. I’ve probably $10,000 worth of clothing in my closet, if not more. (I’ll be lucky if I get a few hundred for it all…)

It’s really been a stressful and overwhelming week. But you know what? If this was easy, everybody would be doing it. Sure, it may look like I’m tackling all of this head on, but I’m not exempt from the emotional impact. So I rant to my friends and raise a glass every night, and remember: These hurdles to jump and wrenches are just part of the challenge, and that’s what I’m after, right? Nothing good comes easy, and by the time I pack up what remains of my earthly belongings into my (to-be-determined) vehicle, I will be determined, strong and ready. 

P.S. SUCH a relief there wasn’t a 30-day closing… 💕

Week 2 of 6:

A rollercoaster of emotions = week 2. I discovered Facebook Marketplace and began to see my belongings disappear for a sad fraction of what I paid for them. I received the laundry list from the buyers of things in my house that need fixing or replacing. Overwhelmed with the logistics, I have moments where I wonder if this whole idea is crazy and whether I will have any regrets — not because I’ve made the decision to leave Arizona and do this — but because selling all my belongings means eventually I will have to start over (and my mind continues to be boggled by the amount of stuff that I’ve collected over my lifetime that I’ve put off dealing with). 

But so many people have reached out and expressed encouragement and excitement for what I’m doing, which is such powerful affirmation. And there’s actually a release — a peace I feel — when I see my closets, rooms, and garage become a little emptier. 

But seriously. Some of my interactions on Facebook Marketplace really cause me to question the human race. And I have 95% of my stuff left to go.

Week 1 of 6:

Well, there’s no turning back now. The “For Sale” sign hit the web, and in less than 24 hours, the house was under contract. And for asking price, at that! Once it was officially official, I publicly broke the news to my friends and followers of my plans to leave Arizona and become a full-time nomad. There seemed to be some shock and dismay among a few folks, but overwhelmingly, feedback was positive. 

Closing is 6 weeks away, so the home inspection and appraisal are scheduled, I make appointments with my hair stylist, doctor, veterinarian, and massage therapist (to name a few), and I start my research. What about my mail? Where is the best clothing consignment store? How should I best sell my items? Let the work begin!

Questions for me? What do you think of my decision? Leave a comment below!

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