Friday, April 24, 2015

Memories of a Much Loved Home

As closing day nears and we move into our RV, our definition of "home" will change. But we also realize that, like this wall hanging states, having family and friends is the true blessing. I'm not going to lie, it is going to be very hard to leave behind our "home" of 29 years. But the memories of improvements, events, and gatherings of family and friends will forever be etched in our hearts...We have been truly blessed!

We were so young when we bought this house in 1986. And, much to my delight, I was about to find out how "handy" my handyman turned out to be as we slowly started to make this house our home. 

Getting rid of the "hard to mow" hill in our back yard and putting in a terraced garden was one of Doug's first projects. Kevin, age 1, made sure Dad figured out a place for a sand box! 

As Kevin grew, it was time to level off the back yard for a swing set. Once again he was Doug's consultant!

Power tools...such fun...helped produce a beautiful deck around our maple tree the next year.

Kevin commissioned Dad to build him a loft in the smaller bedroom so that he could have lots more room for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Kevin and newborn brother, Adam welcomed some real live turtles, Yertle and Swimmy, to live in the aquarium stand that Doug built.

With two boys, our house was starting to feel small, so I started looking at Open Houses. In order to avoid moving, Doug would find a solution for whatever I was finding dissatisfying. His handmade computer center housed our electronics as our world of computers expanded.

But try as I might, I could never convince him to replace the pink tile in the bathroom. I was very happy to hear that "pink" was back in style about the time we put our house on the market :-)

A larger entry to provide a place for shoes, coats, skateboards, and biking equipment proved so fashionable and functional that I stopped dreaming of a bigger house for a while...

...until the boys started hanging out with friends. The remodel of the basement family room became a comfortable gathering area and new home for Doug's pinball machine, big screen TV and Rock Band. Who says that men can't have toys also?

But the kitchen got smaller as my love of cooking and Pampered Chef products expanded...

...so our basement contractor and I drew up a plan to create my dream kitchen...much to Doug's amazement!

 Naturally, remodeling the living room would follow.

My BEAUTIFUL kitchen...a place for the creation of wonderful meals shared with family and friends.
Even Koko loved it!

Christmas, Thanksgiving, Sunday brunches....

...teaching special friends to cook...

...Homecoming meals, the Pie Ride and Chain Gang parties...

So many fun gatherings and wonderful memories...What can top this, we ask?

 We are hoping it will be when family and friends...i.e. YOU show up at our door...whether that door be just outside of Rochester, in Florida, near Yellowstone or some other spectacular place in this country.

Yes, I will have a few tears when we hand over our much-love home to the new owners next week. But I also know that:

Having a place to go is HOME
Having someone to love is FAMILY
Having both (even if the home is on wheels) is a BLESSING!

Doug and I hope that you will continue to stay in touch and join us wherever RVentures lead us! You can receive email notices of our blog entries by filling in your email address on the upper right corner.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The 10 Commandments of Downsizing

We are counting down the days...one week until we close on our house and move all our belongings into our 40 foot long “Wildebeest” to start RVentures!

I think about all that we have gotten rid of in the last year...and how little we truly miss.  I have been asked by many people, “How did you do it?” "How do you part with a lifetime of precious belongings?" It’s not easy, but it helped to keep in mind Doug's motto for us:

We are going to collect memories and experiences, not possessions!
Look at your bucket list...Does it say “buy this?” or does it say “do this?”

Because ours is saying "do this", we had to get rid of many of the possessions that we have collected through the years. And we accomplished this with our...

10 Commandments of Downsizing

Should everyone downsize as we did? Could you decrease your wardrobe to the degree that Doug did in one hour?

Or sell all your excess kitchen items in one day?

I don't recommend doing it as quickly or drastically as we did, but it is good to start...and here is our tips for how to begin.

Commandment #1: Get rid of it if you haven’t touched it in a year. You should love and use what you have or lose it.
Go into your closet or cabinets and take out everything that you haven't worn or used for a year or more. Put the items in a box and donate it or sell it in a garage sale. Or, if you want to downsize the SLOW WAY, put the box in a spare room and if the items are still in the box untouched next year at this time...out it goes.

Commandment #2: Look at all you have - do you need 15 Christmas hand towels...or 25 fancy tea cups....or 4 different types of bikes? Nope, just one SWEET bike and a SWEET biking partner will do!

Stop bargain shopping - just buy what you need. In order to prepare for our year of downsizing, I tried to not buy any new clothes...even if they were on sale...for a whole year. Guess what? I didn't feel like I lacked anything...and actually gained more free time to do important things...like biking to Sebastian Joe's for the BEST ice cream around!

Commandment #4: Start small - Open that junk drawer...or hutch. Choose one small area to clear out at a time and clear it out! WARNING: this downsizing gig is about to get really hard!

Commandment #5: Look to the future - Is there someone who you would like to give that special Hummel or book to? Let them enjoy it NOW...and you will enjoy knowing that your precious collectible is going to be much loved!

Commandment #6:  Sort through it now....are you thinking that your children will want their kindergarten art in 30 or 40 years...sorry, but they won't. The next time they are home, bring out that box of art, look at it together, share memories and laughter, and capture the moment with photos.

Commandment #7: Replace rather than increase - Moving into an RV has helped me to REALLY THINK before I buy. New pair of shoes? How many pairs can I get rid of? I recently bought a pair of sandals for 50% off, and those sandals will replace four pairs of shoes. I will still have more shoes in the RV than Doug thinks I should have, but the important thing to remember is that you should always surround your shoes with friends!

Commandment #8: Don’t let consumption consume you - Yes, I LOVED my comfy furniture...But with our boys gone, we use it less and less. so as we sold off items, I found that I really didn't miss the furniture...sitting on make-shift chairs while laughing with family is still a magical moment!

Commandment #9: Omit Needless Things - like your English teacher tried to stress...are all those words...and all those possessions needed? All we really need is time enjoyed with family and friends...and a good manicure!

Commandment #10: Less is More - enjoy the items in you house...and get rid of the things that you don't enjoy...like tacky old wallpaper :-) 

So there you have it...sounds easy, right? We look forward to hearing how this goes for you.

Be forewarned: It will be tough at first, but you will experience a new and exhilarating feeling of freedom as you get rid of the unneeded and unused items that are bogging you down and...
start collecting memories and experiences that can last a lifetime!