Down Sizing

We remember a time when everything we owned fit into the back of a car.

The thoughts about getting our four bedroom colonial home in order and then getting what’s left into one 16ft Pod were overwhelming at times.  But we needed to start somewhere, with something simple,  so obviously we started collecting boxes.  As much as I fear my wife’s shopping on-line, the sight of an appropriate size box on the front porch brought secret joy.  Two years worth of empty boxes of every size from Amazon, UPS, friends and the time- honored empty liquor store box eventually filled our basement to the rafters.  Movement in the underworld became difficult, things were temporarily lost.

Decisions, decisions, everything must go!  What to keep?  “My stuff is more important than your stuff.”  It’s not so simple anymore with the assembly of memories associated with so many things we’ve collected over the years.  The worn out furniture will end up on the curb.  Other items found their way onto Craig’s List, EBay or an auction house.  Our first major cleansing started over a year ago, thinning our extensive library and amassing unwanted knick-knacks to donate to our church fund raiser.  And then we were on roll!  Getting all seven of our children to claim their flotsam,  we could see over the mountain of boxes.  We started packing one box a day on our day off.

Our collection of empty boxes in the basement and packed boxes in the garage. March 30, 2018

Retirement for me happened at the end of 2017. Bored and with time on my hands, I marked out the dimensions of our future storage unit on the garage floor.  Now I was packing two boxes a day!  Paintings were coming off the walls, some shelves were bare and the library was depleted.  Several rows of boxes deep, the corner of the garage was now packed to the ceiling and the dining room was barely navigable. The rooms in the house were beginning to look dismal.  “Have you seen that book?” Donna asked.  “Must be packed.”  “You know I wanted to read that and we still have to live here for another six months, slow down” she said.  “But, there’s so much do to” I replied.   After Easter the dining room table went.

There is the philosophy that if you haven’t opened a box in six or twelve months you don’t really need the contents and can freely toss it in the dumpster.  Be forewarned, that is a dangerous path to consider, dagger eyes or divorce court could await.  If you are not of that mindset, leave yourself plenty of time to pack so that you can review casually what you want to save.  A mad packing rush at the end could lead to over packing and the fear that it all won’t fit in the Pod.  And then what do you do at the last minute?  Another plus of slow packing was we worked with two to four open boxes at a time so we could optimize stuffing them to their fullest.  For tongue in cheek inspiration our dear friend Karen recommended -The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (dostadning) by Margareta Magnusson.  Her non-sentimental approach might inspire you to discard things early, because no one else really wants all the junk that you have been saving for them. is a wonderful resource for planning your round the world trip.  They offer a free daily email newsletter for 30 days, which covers various aspects of making your dream become a reality.   Down sizing is featured.

There are a number of container services available across the United States.  They vary by region.  We choose to go with Pods because the location of their storage facility was in close proximity to our son’s home and we are not sure yet where our final destination in the states will be once we return.

Who knows, by then our clothes will be thread bare and we’ll be foraging and wrangling gators in Florida.