After I committed to buying The Breeze, with delivery in May 2016 (yeah, it’s a long wait, which is both worth it and another post entirely…) I went up to Vancouver BC and sat in one for a while. I loved the lightness, the airy feeling of the big windows, and the compactness of it.
And then it hit me: I won’t be taking much stuff at all on the road. There’s simply no room. A few boxes worth of stuff, clothes and shoes included, my camera gear and laptop, and then the negotiations start about what to take and what to leave behind. And by “leave behind” I mean get rid of because I’m not putting stuff in a storage unit on the chance I might need it later or come back and settle down in a year. I’m all in with the nomad decision.
Much as I love my Thunderbird display for photo editing, it’s not going to fit. It’s massive in comparison to the storage space I’ll have. The 15-inch MacBook Pro screen will have to do.
The 6-inch Celestron telescope? Oh, that HAS to come because several of the big things on my bucket list of places to stay are the dark sky national parks. I figure it can live in the back of Bella most of the time, tucked away in a travel case I haven’t bought yet.
My pictures? The two prints I love from Scotland, the aboriginal purple dolphins from Australia, the blue heron from a First Nations artist in Canada? What do I do with those? Can I unframe them and just stick the artwork on the walls with velcro or something? Not that much wall space either.
So hard choices will need to be made before make my getaway in the next few years…
I decided to do this downsizing in two stages: the first is happening now, moving from a two-bedroom and basement rental house to a 493 square-foot apartment. No basement, no storage unit. I’ve been shedding furniture and other things at a furious rate for the past few months and I am now at the point where I can count all the furniture I’ll move with less than two rounds of 10 fingers. My books all fit into one small bookcase (and my Kindle is where the rest of my books live, thankfully). I keep a list of everything I’ve shed, partly to show myself progress and partly to remind myself this is all just “stuff” and it’s ephemeral.
One thing I’ve learned is that “stuff” only has monetary value to the person buying it. It doesn’t matter how much I paid for that rowing machine 4 years ago or the cost of that dining room set. What matters is how much someone is willing to pay for it now. And it’s kind of shocking how little that amount can be. If you think a new car loses significant value the second you drive it off the lot, welcome to the wild world of selling things on Craigslist! In my experience, some people will see a fair price (usually half of the retail “new” price) and go with it. But the bottom feeders will take that and slash it in half. So that two year old lovely TV stand from IKEA? It went for 30% of the retail price 2 years ago. Ouch. But, and this is the big point to remember, it’s gone to a new home and it’s not in mine any more so I am one step closer to fitting into that 493 square feet next month.
So that’s my moment of clarity in all this: My goal is to have much less stuff. How much money things cost new and how much they’re worth now is (pun intended) immaterial. That stuff gets gone, that’s the point. Any money I make on something, I consider a little gift and put it in savings for the time when Bella and The Breeze and me go blowing down that road.