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Old 03-11-2016, 01:01 PM   #1
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Help - How to handle the emotional side of downsizing

My wife and I are about 18 months away from going full-time and I really need help on handling the emotional side of downsizing.

I would appreciate any guidance that you can provide on how I can help my wife through the emotional phase of getting rid of the accumulation of 22 years. We have a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath house and need to get rid of a *lot*. My wife is not a hoarder or *anything* like that, but she is a sentimentalist. She places a very high value on gifts, things from some a special place or event, or handed down. She still has the black and white TV that her parents gave her in college 30 years ago, though she's not touched it since I've known her. We still use her grandmother's dressers even though much of the facing wood has delaminated and cracked away.

I am much less attached to “stuff” and am struggling with how to help her through this without the intervention of narcotics or a divorce attorney. I get frustrated in the typically masculine fashion and it isn't helping.

I would appreciate suggestions, any stories or anecdotes that you or your significant other could share. What worked and what didn't. What you wish you had/not done. I'll take anything.

Also, I know that there is a whole world of RV'rs out there so I am posting this in a few sites, so you may see this somewhere else also.

Pete
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:06 PM   #2
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It's OK to seek professional help with these kind of things. Seriously. Mental health professionals could be very helpful, even if there is no medication involved.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:27 PM   #3
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My DW was kinda like yours. When we finally decided to go full time I had a 6X12 covered trailer that I told her she could keep anything she could get into the trailer. She filled that thing so full there wasn't room for oxygen to breath. Then we called an auctioneering service. I also had a 40X80 shop with tractor, some equipment and lots of tools from wood working to air conditioning. After the auctioneers tabulated everything, and put out the sale bills everything was set. Day of sale there was four auctioneers, two at the house and two at the shop. By the end of the day all we owned was a Mh, a pickup, and the 6X12 trailer full of goodies. We put all the goodies is a storage unit sold the trailer and have been full time since 2010.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:28 PM   #4
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Sounds like your going to need a very large storage unit. Maybe when she tired of paying the monthly rent to keep stuff she never uses she may see the light. We've had one for four years filled with wife's sentimental items, furniture, tools, and items that I can't remember. I've told my wife that if everything in that unit disappeared, there would be very little I would miss but for now it's all valuable stuff to her. It's going to depend if she places more value on the old possessions or your new adventures. There will always be more stuff to aqquire.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:39 PM   #5
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Pete-

I put my thoughts down in this post.

The process has the potential to bring you both many blessings. Be open to them.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:40 PM   #6
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When my wife and I downsized from 3000 SF to roughly a thousand we had no remorse.
We gave away sold and hauled to the dump load after load.
We were not hoarders either but living on an acreage and having a large shop and out buildings a person has a lot of stuff after a 45 year marriage.

The only thing my wife has ever mentioned is that she missed the yard. It was like a park.
But we don't miss the work.
If the time is right you will know it. If it isn't you will have a hard time.
I would like to suggest that you re-evaluate your situation very carefully.
You both have to be ready.
It's all stuff!
Good Luck!

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I checked twice as a matter of fact.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:58 PM   #7
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When we got ready to go FT we:
Called the kids..what do you want-----name it and we shipped it
Called family,,,,,what do you want-----name it and we shipped it
Called close friends......what do you want----name it/come get it or we shipped it

We then looked & decided on what we had to keep provided it could go with us (NO Storage)

We then contacted an Estate Auctioneer. Told him everything goes.
He advertised for 2 weeks prior
Crew spent 3 days sorting---putting 'lots' together
Day of auction he announced ALL items go....or to be removed from property that day.
Auction started at 9am and ended at 5pm---everything SOLD
At first it was a little bit unsettling----folks squabbling over our STUFF and then it got comical, I mean folks squabbling over our STUFF and then it got interesting---folks actually squabbling over our STUFF

He handled all translations. At end of day he provided us with audit and a check for our 75% of total sales.

DONE>>>>>>

Going FT means doing MORE with a lot LESS

Our motto while on the road traveling

"1 bag in ---2 bags OUT"

Good luck. It is absolutely FREEING
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Old 03-11-2016, 06:18 PM   #8
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Just started full time 6 months ago. There were tears shed more than twice by my wife as we cleaned out things.

Like you I was a little more free about parting with things. I had.........(had, do not any more) my fathers golf clubs he loved and that i kept for way to many years, a shotgun i loved, sports memorabilia, a great grandmothers china, and so on and so on..........I got rid of those early to kind of set the tone for her. i may have once or twice said something like.........i did it.........it sucked........but the rewards later will be worth it........you can do it also.

We messaged faimly and told em what we had and if they wanted it we would arrange to get it to them or sell it..........we were kind of amazed at how much we had to sell.

We packed up a truck and dove it to our adult daughter with instructions she was to keep it a year then sell or keep what she wanted. We did not give her a choice in it.

I lead the way by setting the example. I took nothing but some clothes, and shoes that were just for me...........everything else i kept had uses for both of us or for the rv......tools, bikes, laptop, cell phone......We went through the rv and looked at storage, set aside some space for her and the stuff she "needed" and that was that.............those spaces are hers and she keeps what she wants there. i might drive past a golf course now and again and point out how nice it looks and how much i would love to play a round but I just do not have space in the rv for my clubs and shoes. She gets it. She uses her tiny sewing machine for whatever very hap to have it and does not fuss when i grab a 12 pack of beer at the next fuel fill up.

Someone posted this..........."Memorabilia- You'd give it away after you're dead, so why not now? Keep a few small, precious things with you."

I would add that getting to give some of those things to people can be very rewarding............they may or may not love it but they will be flattered you choose them to keep it for you...........just never ask to see it again or you might be dissapointed they were able to get rid of it.

So far it is worth it.

good luck
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:31 PM   #9
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Pete Kudos to you for thinking about your better-half as this new adventure unfolds - there are many who are not as thoughtful. Our approach has been to talk through a room-by-room plan beforehand - backed by a rented storage unit for life's treasures. We've found great joy in gifting to friends and strangers - knowing that they will make great use of things that have often spent years out-of-sight and use ...

Again - good on you!
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
When we got ready to go FT we:
Called the kids..what do you want-----name it and we shipped it
Called family,,,,,what do you want-----name it and we shipped it
Called close friends......what do you want----name it/come get it or we shipped it

We then looked & decided on what we had to keep provided it could go with us (NO Storage)

We then contacted an Estate Auctioneer. Told him everything goes.
He advertised for 2 weeks prior
Crew spent 3 days sorting---putting 'lots' together
Day of auction he announced ALL items go....or to be removed from property that day.
Auction started at 9am and ended at 5pm---everything SOLD
At first it was a little bit unsettling----folks squabbling over our STUFF and then it got comical, I mean folks squabbling over our STUFF and then it got interesting---folks actually squabbling over our STUFF

He handled all translations. At end of day he provided us with audit and a check for our 75% of total sales.

DONE>>>>>>

Going FT means doing MORE with a lot LESS

Our motto while on the road traveling

"1 bag in ---2 bags OUT"

Good luck. It is absolutely FREEING
This is the way to do it. Keeping an old television is going overboard.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:23 AM   #11
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We are having similar discussions, but I am the one who is the sentimentalist. My dad passed my grandfather's stuff to me and my brother so we have generations of "stuff" to get rid of. I know I need to pick a few select items and move on, but every time I try there is so much stuff it is just overwhelming. I do plan to sell my older garden tractor and all the attachments this spring and try to get rid of some other extraneous items. Hoping this will get the ball rolling. Not sure we will go full time, but even moving to a smaller house you face the same issues. We spent the last few days working in the yard. We love our property but are starting to realize we can't maintain it forever unless we hire someone. I have set a personal goal to be ready for downsizing in two years since we each still have elderly parents that we need to care for at the moment.
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Old 03-13-2016, 08:54 AM   #12
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I was the "sentimentalist". Then one day I was involved in an accident that my heart stopped three times on the operating table. Took me two years of therapy in order to function again. That's when I realized that one never sees a hearse followed by a U-Haul truck. So I gave most of the sentimental stuff to my only daughter, she would be the one who ended up with it anyway. Now I can go visit the stuff and she gets to dust it off. I was divorced 38 years ago and never remarried. My choice was my own.

Your wife will need to decide for 'herself' when and if to purge the "Stuff". Full timing is a joint decision and mentally she may not be as ready. You will be less frustrated if you back off the pressure until she is ready.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:33 PM   #13
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We are 12 months away from going ft too. We just purchased our mh and brought it home yesterday. My husband is the "collector ". We've discussed it in great length. With 4 grown children and many grandchildren we don't think it will be too hard to find a good home for much of our 45 years of acquired goods. But, I'm sure even though we are excited and looking forward to this next phase in our lives it will be an emotional time too. Good luck to you both.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:52 PM   #14
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We offered our children what they wanted. But don't be surprised or hurt if they are not interested in much. Be prepared to realize once you give it away it theirs. If they later sell it, paint it, break it, sell it or toss it you can't open your mouth.
Give you're spouse space. Ask her\him to make a decision on only one thing at a time. Let the person morn the piece being gone. If you don't already have your RV then every time you get rid of something go look at rigs to reinforce the excitement, talk about the places you'll see and visit.
Start with small stuff that they aren't so attached too. Take lots of pictures of the item and create a memory book for those pictures with written stories about the item.
Our greatest joy was having our kids and grandchildren the Thanksgiving before the house went on the market. They had fun choosing, we stayed out of it but listened as they bartered, negotiated, told stories about the items etc.
Go slow. If its meant to be it will work out.
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