Downsizing 101

Photo above from

My mantra is, LESS IS MORE.

I remember praying for simplicity in my life in my late twenties. Since then my prayers were answered in very unexpected and unforeseen ways. Purging stuff became cathartic and symbolic of new rites of passage in my life. Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book, Gift from the Sea, inspired me to become unattached to stuff. Owning less stuff meant having fewer choices to choose from, not to mention less dusting and storage space!

But I digress…


Knowing that we wanted to downsize into an RV lifestyle, Jeff and I went room to room and separated everything into two piles: KEEP and NOT KEEP. When the NOT KEEP pile was big enough to host a yard sale I found the following website with good and practical advice for hosting a yard sale:

yard sale queen

Be sure to visit Chris’s site,  It is filled with practical advice, is easy to follow and IT WORKS! Thank you, Chris, for guiding us through our successful yard sale!

We set up our yard sale in our finished basement that had a door accessible from the outside. Having no parking space in front of our house, we were concerned that this would detract potential lookers and buyers. We forged ahead anyway! Jeff listed our one day event on


Craig Newmark

We also purchased signage as suggested from Chris, the yard sale queen, and placed them in strategic locations at the ends of our street and in front of the house. The purchase price was quite reasonable and the signs arrived in a timely manner. We even had a shelf with FREE ITEMS and some garden items that we advertised as FREE placed outside of the entry door. For kids I wrapped up some fun items from the dollar store, candy and school supplies I had previously purchased for my school. This is what I learned:

  • Books, even children’s books, are not big sellers
  • The same can be said of music CDs and DVDs
  • Dishes and kitchenware go quickly
  • Christmas decorations are also hot items
  • End tables and display tables and furniture are very popular

What did not sell we listed on and donated to 

viet nam vets


VVA will pick up more than clothing. We also donated household items, chairs, shelving, decorations, jewelry, holiday decorations, gardening equipment and framed prints.

Everything we just could not part with we stored in an empty bedroom in our finished basement. Meanwhile, I sent saved memorabilia home with my sons when they came in for a visit and shipped children’s books from my vast collection to our grandchildren in Colorado. We went through our clothes’ closets and drawers and parted with outfits we were just saving for a someday special occasion, like losing weight or a formal event! We still needed clothes to wear to work and cold weather outerwear and accessories.

The same was true of the kitchen; We streamlined our entertaining needs and researched cookware, baking-ware, tableware, utensils and leftover food storage-ware for RV living. So, downsizing a kitchen in a house led to new necessities for an RV kitchen.

shower_with_gifts_greeting_cardsAnd then it dawned on me… Why are showers limited to brides and babies? I could shower myself with new kitchen and storage ware for RV living! (picture from

collapsible So I began receiving and purchasing collapsible items, stackable cookware, a set of melanin dishes… Why not??? I deserve it!!! An RV is my new home and my retirement adventure is a new beginning. (picture from

The final downsizing:


  • Sorting through the “cannot part with items” a few more times
  • Packing up sentimental treasures (limited to one box) and asking one of my sons to store it for us
  • Hosting a moving sale (a fancy alias for a second yard sale) for furniture and appliances not staying with the house (Actually you would be surprised how well word-of-mouth works, especially when you start offering items for free! And the best part is that people will come and remove the items for you.)
  • Packing up final donations and heading out to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity
  • And finally, realizing what actually fits and doesn’t fit into the RV

NEXT… RVs 101

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