Happily Exhausted

What an exhausting weekend! But it was super-productive, and we also got to spend time with family members that we don’t get to see often enough, so it was worth the long hours, sweat and heavy lifting.

We had our yard sale yesterday (Saturday), and of course people were lined up in our driveway a good half hour before our advertised start time. What was the biggest draw? TOOLS!! I actually had people texting me from outside the house at 6:30 AM asking about what kind of tools we had for sale.

Andy had just gotten out of the shower when I told him that we had a crowd waiting to get in. He wasn’t very happy  about it, especially since he hadn’t had his coffee yet, but once the money started rolling in, his good humor came back and he enjoyed the process.

When we opened the garage doors it was like Walmart on Black Friday. There was a mad rush that lasted almost an hour, and then things settled down into a nice steady flow. Yes, we sold things cheap, and we even put a “free pile” in the driveway of things like half-empty bottles of cleaning supplies and half-rolls of shelf paper. We just wanted the stuff to be gone.

By about noon it was pretty much over and we broke for lunch. Andy’s nephew, Mike, had driven over from South Carolina the night before to pick up some family heirlooms and to help with the sale. My mom and sister-in-law, Kathy, also came over to help out, and we were glad to load them up with some things to take home with them as well. It was a lot of fun to hang out with them during the day, and in Mike’s case, for the entire weekend.

After we had lunch, we started packing up the remaining items which we’ll be donating to charity this week.

Items remaining after the yard sale ended on Saturday.

As we were getting the garage cleaned up, another person showed up to meet with Andy about possibly buying some of his lapidary equipment and supplies. He wound up buying the cabbing machine, almost (if not all) the rocks and stones, and some other supplies. It was tough for Andy to see all that stuff go, but it was for a good cause.

This morning, we loaded up Mike’s truck with not only the family heirlooms that he had come to retrieve, but also most of our old camping gear that he and his son should enjoy using (and hopefully his wife as well!).  He headed back to South Carolina after we promised to stay in touch so that we can all get together and do some camping in the future.

Mike loading his truck with family stuff and camping gear.

After having lunch and resting up a little bit, I finally completed the task that I have been dreading–I posted my Prius for sale in Facebook Marketplace.

My 2007 Prius is officially for sale.

Almost immediately I started getting inquiries about it, and I already have appointments for showings tomorrow and Tuesday, with others asking to be notified if it doesn’t sell to either of those. I’ve really enjoyed this little car, it’s been a workhorse and has had very, very few problems. I hate to part with her, but it’s part of the process.

I did some laundry today, mopped the kitchen floor and made sure the bookkeeping was up to date, but otherwise we just relaxed a little bit today. We’ll hit the ground running again tomorrow after a good night’s sleep. The plans for this week include showing (and hopefully selling) the car, applying for our mail forwarding service through Escapees, delivering the leftover yard sale stuff to charity, making a run or two to the landfill, continuing to scan and shred documents from the files, and wiping the files on my desktop computer so it can be sold.

We’re still trying to sell the dining room set and the microwave hutch. I’ll have some other furniture pieces to list soon (desks, bookcases, file cabinet, breakfast table/chairs). The bedroom furniture and recliners are semi-promised to certain individuals, and the television will be among the last things to go.

Oh, and we went ahead and made our reservation for Tombigbee State Park for the move-in process. We had originally thought we would stay at Barnes Crossing RV Park here in Tupelo, but after comparing rates, we saved over $150 by choosing the state park due to Andy’s senior discount as well as a credit on our Reserve America account from where we had to cancel a trip earlier in the year. Tombigbee is only about 15 minutes away, and we’ve always enjoyed staying there. It will be our home base while we move everything in and get it organized, and while we go through the closing process on the house sale.

Only three weeks until we move into the RV.


Things That Keep Me Awake At Night

It’s 4:00 AM on Friday, and I’ve been awake for over an hour. Why can’t I go back to sleep? Because I’m trying to figure out the best place to store those blasted rolls of aluminum foil, plastic wrap and parchment paper in our little RV. There’s no good place!!

Only 26 more days until we close on the sale of our house and hit the road, and there is so much to do. We got the results of the appraisal yesterday, and everything looks good for a successful closing. The fencing guys finally came by to repair the chain link fence behind the workshop where the huge branch fell on it several weeks ago, so that was our last major repair expenditure. On Wednesday we took our two kitties, Maggie and Molly, to the vet for their annual checkups and vaccinations, and we also had them do a blood workup to check for any organ issues that we should be aware of–still waiting to get those results, but the vet said that they seemed healthy otherwise, although Maggie could stand to lose some weight (couldn’t we all!).

Our big push at the moment is getting ready for tomorrow’s yard sale. We’ve already started setting things up in the garage, but there is just so much STUFF that needs to be sold that we won’t be able to put it all out there at once. One of our neighbors was kind enough to offer the use of some more folding tables, and that will help tremendously. We’re keeping our fingers crossed on the weather forecast, hoping that the rain will hold off so we can put some things out on the driveway as well.

On Wednesday I visited Lizzy at the storage lot and brought home all the dishes, cookware and kitchen utensils that we had been using on our camping trips. Yesterday I went through everything in our kitchen cabinets and drawers, pulled out anything breakable to put in the yard sale and replaced it with the non-breakable items from the RV that we’ll be using going forward.

All our camping kitchen-ware from the RV

For instance, my 43-piece set of Mikasa stoneware that we’ve had since we got married is now on the sale rack, replaced with a few non-breakable plates, saucers and bowls from the RV. All my glassware and stemware is gone, replaced by two clear plastic goblets from the RV. Making these changes now will give us several weeks to make sure we still have the items that we need to prepare and enjoy our food while still keeping our possessions to a minimum.

Andy’s nephew is driving over from South Carolina to pick up some family heirlooms that we’re passing along, so we’ll put Mike to work helping in the yard sale for as long as he’s here. 🙂

Yesterday we sold our wine rack and one of our Roku devices on Facebook Marketplace. We sold our patio furniture to the next door neighbor (same one who got our grill). We still haven’t sold the dining room set or the microwave hutch, but there’s been a lot of interest so we’re still hopeful. I’ve also already had a serious inquiry about my car, but I’m not planning to post it for sale until Sunday at the earliest.

Andy has been going through his wardrobe and has managed to weed it out pretty well. He was having a tough time trying to narrow down his t-shirt collection, so we decided to have a quilt made from some of his favorites. I have a friend from high school who specializes in making t-shirt quilts, so I’ve sent the shirts to her so she can work her magic. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Now that the appraisal is done and we’re 99.9% confident that the sale will go through, we’ll move forward with some important things like getting our new address set up in Texas, reserving a site in the RV park here in Tupelo for our move-in, and selling the car. We’ll have to deal with all the stuff that does not disappear in the yard sale, and we will have some final larger items to sell like the bedroom furniture and the television that we’re still using for the moment.

We follow a lot of full time RVers on YouTube and listen to their stories about how they made the transition from sticks-and-bricks to the RV, and they all talk about how hard it is to totally divest yourself of all your possessions–not necessarily because of the emotional attachment (although there’s a good bit of that when it comes to certain items), but just the sheer volume of “stuff” that we tend to accumulate when we live in one place for too long. We tell ourselves that our stuff is valuable (how else could we justify hanging on to it), but you find out just how worthless all this crap really is when you try to sell it to someone–anyone–else. And when you have a hard deadline, like a closing date, to meet, it becomes even more stressful.

But underneath that stress, there’s this feeling of freedom that’s starting to bubble up, knowing that there will be no more yard work, no more utility bills, no more being stuck with crazy neighbors fighting in the street.

I’ll have about 10 square feet to sweep and mop. That in itself makes me happy!

Now, I just need to figure out a good place to put those stupid rolls of aluminum foil and parchment paper.


How We Plan to Sell our Stuff

You just don’t realize how much stuff you have until you have to get rid of it all.

Now that we’re starting to really get serious about The Big Purge, we’ll be using several different avenues to liquidate our belongings:

  • Yard Sales – We already had a large and fairly successful yard sale back in the spring, but we were still holding on to a lot of things that we use on a daily basis in our house. Now it’s time to let that stuff go as well, so our next yard sale will have a whole new selection of items that we didn’t offer last time. Some of our neighbors are already salivating. Right now it looks like our next sale will be the first weekend in August. It will be hot and miserable, but we need to get it done.
  • Goodwill – Whatever doesn’t sell in the yard sale will be going to Goodwill or the landfill. In fact, we already took a load last weekend of things that we didn’t think would do well in a yard sale–I think mainly we were just tired of looking at them and wanted them out of the house. But Goodwill is going to be seeing a lot from us.
  • Social Media – This will be the main place where we sell larger furniture items, and possibly even the Prius. I had always used Craigslist before when we lived in larger cities, but it doesn’t seem to deliver the same results here in a mostly rural area. So this week I tried listing a couple of things on Facebook Marketplace, and we were very happy with the results. I got rid of two milk crates of miscellaneous office supplies, along with our very nice leather recliner. I’ll be listing some more furniture items next week.
  • Specific Facebook Groups – Andy is listing a lot of his lapidary inventory in a Facebook group specifically related to that hobby. Not much luck so far, but we’ll see how it goes.
  • Freecycling – If someone we know and love has expressed an interest in anything that we’re getting rid of, then in some cases we’re just giving stuff away. For instance, yesterday Andy gave his big charcoal/gas grill to our next door neighbor (the good one!), as he has always been so willing to help out when Andy had his broken leg and when we needed someone to feed our feral cat while we were camping. They were so happy to get the grill, they fired it up last night and had a big cookout! Last week I gave my sewing machine and a bunch of sewing notions and supplies to my niece, as her daughter has started learning to sew. It’s nice to know that the things we give away will be used and enjoyed.

Tomorrow evening we meet with our Realtor to get started on the process of listing the house for sale. We’re trying to get it ready to show by cleaning, decluttering and repairing a few things that need attention.

The downside to all this activity is that we don’t have any time to actually take the RV on a road trip. I still have to work through the 27th of July, but maybe we can sneak in a trip in August after the house is listed. I wouldn’t mind heading up to the Smoky Mountains while we’re still in this part of the country.

We’ll see!


The News is Out! Full Steam Ahead!

For the past few months we’ve been a little vague about our future plans here on the blog, but as of today we can share what’s going on and where we’re headed.

Yes, we are on our way to becoming full-time RVers, living in our 24′ Class C Thor Chateau 22E and driving our Toyota Tacoma with camper shell as our chase vehicle. We plan to spend the foreseeable future traveling and exploring the United States (and maybe Canada and Mexico as well) for as long as we’re healthy, happy and enjoying the experience. Our plan is to be on the road by the time I turn 60 in mid-October.

And those plans took a HUGE leap ahead today!

This morning I submitted my resignation at my job with Humana. I gave them four weeks notice, and my last day of work will be Friday, July 27. These remaining four weeks will be extremely busy as I do a lot of traveling around the northern third of the state for work, but fortunately most of it will be day trips with only one, maybe two, overnight trips. And by the end of the day on July 27, I will officially be retired!

I didn’t want to say too much in a public forum about our specific plans until I had formally announced my resignation at work. The timing was driven by my becoming fully vested in my company 401(k) plan. Humana matches the first 6% that employees contribute to their plans at a rate of 125%, but you have to work two years to be vested in the matching funds. My two year anniversary was this past Tuesday, and that was the date that we were waiting for to put all this plan into motion.

So now that I’ve turned in my notice at work, what’s next?

We have an appointment with a Realtor next Thursday evening for him to come look over our house and property so he can give us an idea of what we might expect to sell it for. This is the same Realtor that we used when we bought this house, so he’s familiar with the property and the area. We hope to have the house on the market by the third week of July.

Because I still have four weeks of employment left, Andy has to shoulder most of the burden of getting the house ready to sell. We’ve done a lot of decluttering, I’ve digitized hundreds of photos, we’ve already had one big yard sale, we’ve sold some furniture and my piano–but there’s so much more to do. I’ll help out as much as I can in the evenings and on the weekends, but until I’m free from my job, Andy will be tackling most of this stuff on his own.

As far as the furnishings and other possessions go, we’ll be having at least one more yard sale, and we’ll be listing larger items for sale in all the usual places. If you’re in the Tupelo area and you’re looking for a dining room set, a large entertainment center, a big screen TV, a leather sofa, blah, blah, blah…..hit us up!

We will be selling my beloved 2007 Toyota Prius as soon as we get a contract on the house. It’s a wonderful vehicle, has about 139,000 miles on it, runs like a top, and still gets around 46 MPG. Make us an offer!!

Andy will have a lot of tools to sell, and he’s liquidating a lot of his jewelry-making inventory. He does plan to keep some tools and materials so that he can continue to do some filigree work on the road, but doesn’t plan to continue the lapidary work (stone cutting and polishing).

We’ve had these plans for about a year now, and it’s hard to believe that we’re almost at the point where we’re totally committed. Quitting my job, selling our house and almost all our possessions–those are serious decisions. But every time we let something go, we feel lighter and less burdened by all the “stuff” that we’ve accumulated. We look forward to having the bare minimum in terms of material possessions so that we can have the maximum number of hours together accumulating experiences and memories.

Instead of having a lawn to be mowed and tended, our front yard can be anything from the Grand Canyon to the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran Desert–it will just depend on where we decide to park the RV that week. Instead of being stuck in the same location through a hot, humid Southern summer, we will chase the good weather, moving to the warm Southwest in the winter and to the cooler mountains and Pacific Northwest in the summer. And of course we will be free to travel to where we can visit family members at any time without having to wait until I have enough vacation days accrued on somebody’s payroll.

Making that phone call this morning to my boss, setting these wheels in motion, it’s been a very exciting day. Just the first of many, many more to come, so stay tuned! We’ll be posting much more regularly from now on since we don’t have to keep things on the down-low anymore, so be sure to subscribe! It’s gonna get CrAzY!! 🙂