Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Downsizing Plan Has Begun...Excuse Me While I Have a Panic Attack

Quite a while ago I wrote about some downsizing plan ideas I had. For months the ideas never really went anywhere however since we came back from vacation a few weeks ago, I was more motivated than ever to a) downsize our living accommodations (our house is way too big for us and the payments are pretty big as well), b) pay off our debts, c) minimize our possessions, and d) travel the world.
The main problem with moving forward with this plan is that hubby hates change, doesn't want to be involved in change, and practically breaks out in hives when major change happens. Although he agrees in theory with my plan--he thinks our house is too big, would really like to be out of debt, and loves to travel--he just doesn't want to do the changes required to get from point a to point d.
While I was trying to move along slowly to reach these goals, I realized that slow change equals no change. Without some drastic changes we are going to be stuck in the same place, next year and the year after, that we are at now.
So this morning I called our favorite real estate agent, briefed hubby that we were going to sell the house, and this afternoon we formally listed our house for sale. Commence panic attack.

Hopefully this is how the plan will work:
  • We sell the house at the full listing price (since we are not forced to sell, I told the realtor that we want our listing price and that we aren't interested in bargaining down the price because we have a target amount of money we want to make from the sale of the house).
  • We use part of the proceeds of the sale to pay off our debts and become totally debt free.
  • We are then left with about $40,000 to fund a couple of years of travel or use as a down payment on a much smaller house, or do both--travel for a year then buy a smaller house with a smaller down payment.

Among my concerns:

  • How are we going to get rid of all of our stuff? I don't want to put everything in storage for a year or two so it looks like we are going to have the mother of all garage sales--or three--in order to purge ourselves of nearly everything we own. Did I mention hubby likes his possessions? He owns nearly 75 hoodie jackets and that is just the beginning of his clothes-horse tendencies. This part should get interesting in a month or so...
  • Where are we going to go after our house sells? We have tentative plans to travel to Asia for three or four months after the house sells then spend a month or so with each of a half dozen family members who live in various places around the US. There will be some in between time right after the sale in which we may see if we can stay with a cousin for a month or two while we get ready to travel. Hubby's other problem is that he doesn't want to end up "homeless" and after the sale, he will technically be "homeless".
  • How is hubby going to handle this? He has been very quiet today but not totally opposed to the plan--I think his disdain for change is being rivaled with his desire to be debt free and do some traveling. In fact my main impetus for this project is that hubby is now over 60 and I want to ensure that we have plenty of time to spend traveling before age and infirmity keeps us more home-bound, and, more importantly, that we are totally debt free because, knock on wood, should one of us die, I don't want the other of us to be saddled with debt.
  • Am I doing the right thing? I am sure that as soon as people find out what we are doing they are going to think I have lost my damn mind. We are in an enviable position with having a nice house in a wonderful location, hubby is retired and I have a great business (which also will go on the sales block ASAP), we can still afford to travel and enjoy some of the finer things in life (because we are so frugal, which is what most people don't see) and so people will wonder why we want to give up all of that "security" and "status" to be as hubby says, homeless vagabonds (it didn't help much when I told him that there is a burgeoning vagabond industry, just read the blogs...). The older I get, however, I don't see having any item with a debt attached to it as "security". It is the dead weight of debt that, with one small misfortune like a job loss or illness, will sink us and literally make us homeless (and broke) and opposed to homeless (with a sizable amount of cash in savings).

I am crossing my fingers that all of this works out well however it is sooo stressful! Fortunately many people have gone before me and right now I am grabbing onto their blogs with both hands for inspiration and assurance that I, indeed, haven't lost my mind.

p.s. The blogs that have motivated such goals for me include Family on Bikes, Married with Luggage, Vagablogging, Female Nomad, and Man vs Debt.

p.s.s. Thanks for letting me vent!


  1. We're doing a similar thing in 2012, but I'm ready to go now! We're moving abroad, but might travel first.

    Clearing the clutter has taken ages, but we're about there now. My hubby was slower than me in downsizing his possessions, but now he's ruthless with stuff; it can be done!

    The only stuff I'm keeping is stuff to 'stage' the house with, then when it's sold I'm selling most of that too.

    Good luck, it's an exciting ride :-)