Downsizing & Going Without

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You may have noticed that we haven’t been doing a whole lot with Liahona right now. There is a reason….but I will get to that in a moment. First, I want to preface. The past couple of weeks, between the stress of Mr. C trying to work 3 jobs, myself trying to take care of sick kids and a sick hubby (then being sick, myself), having a few relatives try and convince me that I am crazy to want to do anything out of the norm, and the realization that the pain in my lower back (from being rear ended a few months back) is never going to completely go away….I haven’t felt very motivated to do much of anything. I reached a point where I had to search my heart and soul to figure out if this really is what is best for our family or if it is just some harebrained idea that I am too stubborn to let go of. After talking it over with Mr. C and our Father, we know that this is EXACTLY what we need to be doing in our lives for now. After Mr. C convinced me that he is, indeed, okay with this adventure of ours, we spent some time discussing what our options are. In order for us to get our family to Central America, cover our costs for those few months, finish up our RV conversion, make sure we are financially stable once we return, and etc., we needed to work out a more in depth plan. With much discussion and prayer over the matter, Mr. C and I have decided that we are going to prepare our home to put up on the market.

That’s right, we are hoping to sell our home and travel in Liahona for a while. I know…we are crazy. But, did you expect anything else from us? The plan is to sell our home, pay our capital gains (gotta love that pointless tax) and pay off all of our debts. Once we have our home ready to show, we can finish up whatever else needs to be done on Liahona. With the sell of our home, we can head out on our family’s adventure. We are kind of doubtful that we will be able to sell our home quickly, as the market is so soft right now, but we feel that if it is what we are supposed to do, it will all fall into place.

As soon as Mr. C and I came to this agreement, it felt as if a HUGE burden was lifted off of our shoulders….literally….felt it disappear that night. The next morning, that burden was replaced with the new one….where to start to get this home ready for selling? There are a few minor repairs and details that need to be seen to, and Mr. C is too busy with his 3 jobs to get to any of them. So, we have hired for a handyman this week to help us get them taken care of. The other area that we are dealing with is keeping our home uncluttered (with this many kids, it is sometimes an issue) and downsizing.

Downsizing: This past week has been spent going through the kids clothes and determining which ones still fit, have no holes or stains, or will need to be stored for another child to wear someday. So far, I have 5 huge bags to go to a family who needs them more than we do, 5 more bags for younger cousins, and 2 bags of winter clothing. We are planning on having 7 outfits, 2 Sunday outfits, 2 PJs, a jacket, a coat, 3 pairs of shoes, and swimwear for each kid. After going through clothes, I plan on going through toys. As far as toys go, we are planning on taking the basics: a huge box of legos, some building blocks, quite a few educational manipulatives, some dress up accessories, a few cars, baby doll accessories, and a few crafting items. Each of the kids will have an area on the bus where they will also be able to keep personal special belongings. The toys we don’t take will either be stored, sold, or given to charity.
We have rented a 10×20 storage unit and have begun taking over items that we want to keep, that won’t be going on our adventure with us. We will be selling a lot of our furniture and our non sentimental possessions. And, to tell you the truth, it feels great to be getting rid of so many worldly possessions. I find myself thinking about it all day long…Will I need this? Do I want to store that? Why did we buy this in the first place? Where did that come from?

Since we began planning for an adventure living out of a motorhome, every aspect in my life has changed. I look at everything from a new angle. The fridge we are using right now is 4x as big as our RV fridge. This means that we will be eating what we buy more frequently. And we won’t have the extra freezer that we now have in our garage. This means that our freezer won’t be holding ice cubes, ice cream, or frozen veggies and fruits. It will solely be used for meats and ice packs (for boo boos). Right now, I am trying to find out if there is a network for Farmer’s Markets across the USA. I would love to stop and pick up fresh produce and free range eggs along our way….doesn’t that sound divine? Also, our RV stove/oven is kind of small to be using for a year or longer. I definitely won’t be able to put a cookie sheet in the oven or have the space that I currently have for cooking on the stove. We are debating on getting a folding grill to use for cooking outside or purchasing a regular size stove/oven to use in Liahona. I know it sounds crazy, but I am looking forward to cooking out of an RV….lots of picnics. 😉

Another aspect is water. Anyone who has been camping knows that water is limited when you are in a motorhome. You learn to turn the water off when you brush your teeth, wash your hands, and even take a shower. Every time, and I mean every time, that I have taken a shower for the past 3 months, I have thought about how thankful I am to be able to have 5 or 10 minutes of hot water soothing my tired and sore body. I think about the limited amount of time that I will have in an RV shower. Water becomes a valued commodity when you are so aware of it. A few weeks ago a neighbor brought to our attention that there was a small leak that seemed to be coming from the gutter in front of our home. Sure enough, it wasn’t that the neighbors had been over watering like I had suspected. It was a leak. I called the city and they sent someone out last week to check it out. They knocked on my door and told me that the water would be off for a few hours. Those 3 hours were a great eye opener for what limited water will look like. I had to postpone my much needed shower till later in the day. I also had to wait to rinse breakfast dishes, the food became caked on before the water was back on. I grabbed a couple of bottles of water out of our food storage and used them to have everyone brush their teeth. I told them all that this is what I had to do when I was in Egypt and China, brush my teeth with bottled water every day. My kids were very curious about what was going on out in front of our home, so I asked if it would be okay to have them come and see. The city workers smiled and told me that they expected that. It was a great way for me to teach them about how all of our water is connected to the same water tanks and that they all run through pipes under ground which connect to more pipes leading into our homes. There were the pipes, right before them, uncovered and being reconnected so that we could have our water turned back on. They also understood more clearly that water doesn’t just come from the faucet, it has a process that it must go through to get to us. And culinary water is not free.
Besides limited space for storage and water usage, I also know that we will be living in tight quarters with one another. This may seem strange, but I am actually looking forward to that part. I know that there will have to be alone time for everyone, and that we will literally step on each others toes on occasion, but I like the idea of having everyone together in an area, either watching a movie, playing games, reading stories, drawing, or just shooting the breeze. I like the idea of going on a hike or bike ride to escape our confinement. And I am really looking forward to sleeping on a single mattress with Mr. C….snuggling all night is one of my favorite things to do with him. 😉

Going Without: There will also be adjustments. The biggest one for me is letting go of the ownership of a home. For so many years, Mr. C and I saved and waited to purchase our first home. We even rented-to-own for 2 years before we could afford to purchase that home. We put a lot of time and sweat into that first home. When we finally outgrew it, we moved into a wonderful neighborhood with beautiful people and the picturesque Wasatch mountains right outside our kitchen window. Letting go is going to be hard, but we know that we will have another home again when we figure out where we want to settle down and continue raising our family. Both Mr. C and I are a little bit nomadic, by nature, and we look forward to traveling with our kiddies before they all grow up and leave our nest for their own adventures (hey, it happens quicker than you think).

Another adjustment that I am going to have a hard time with is the fact that I won’t have the option of growing my own vegetable garden or having my own fruits. As a way of trying to keep myself from going insane over this fact, I have potted up some of my favorite herbs which I will keep in my kitchen windows and take out into the sun every day. Most are culinary, but a few are just for pure olfactory pleasure.

Recycling has become a huge part of our lives. Whenever I am about to throw something away or put it down the disposal, I have gotten into the habit of stopping to consider where it will best rest….in the compost bin, in the recycle bag, or in the trash. I am amazed at how much space we have saved in our trash can and it’s only a few dollars more a month for our curbside recycling service. I will miss that service. I don’t know if we will have the opportunity to figure out recycling spots along our travels, but that would be nice. I am going to have a lot of issues putting cans, cardboard, paper, and plastic in the trash. It is all I can do sometimes to not sift through garbage cans and take the cans and plastic bottles to be recycled (hey, I said I refrain). So, maybe someone (not me, I am too busy) needs to figure out a way to get a list of all of the recycling centers and farmer’s markets in the USA…..I’m just thinking.

Electronics…need I say more? When we travel down through Central America we are going to go through withdrawals from the Internet. Nothing like paying by the minute in a cyber cafe to curb your appetite for surfing. But, in the US, we are going to have connection. Jamin wanted a laptop for his birthday and we found a very nice used one online for $100. Ethan wants a laptop for his upcoming birthday. We are thinking that by the time we leave, we will have quite a few laptops and they will come in handy when we are trying to get school done. We are going to set up e-mails for the middle boys, so that they can keep pen pals with their buddies. Mr. C and I are checking into getting new phones with Internet access…possibly droids or iPhones. We haven’t decided yet. Part of that decision will be based upon the plans available for out of the country. We haven’t had our television hooked up for several years now, so that won’t be difficult to go without. And we will have several plugs throughout Liahona for charging up all of our many electronic goodies while we are on the road.

I am sure there are a lot of other things that we will come to miss as we prepare for this great journey….but we will have each other and that is what matters the most.

Roadschooling: Anyone who homeschools knows about the benefit of being able to visit all of the sites while others are sitting in a desk at school. Roadschooling will be like being on a year long field trip, with math, writing, typing, and reading along the way. We are so happy to live in a country where we are free to do this. There are actually a lot of others who choose to roadschool, either full time or part time, with their children. We look forward to hooking up with others for shared adventures and a continuous stream of new friends.

Along our path, we plan on reading about and exploring our great nation’s history. I am thrilled at the idea of being able to take our kids on a tour of the USA. What a great way to teach them, by visiting each state along the way. If we sell our home before the fall, we will head up through Idaho, over to Washington to visit Mr. C’s brother and his family, down through Oregon and into California. I have never been to Washington or Oregon and I was quite little when my family went to Northern California. I have always wanted to travel down the coast and I can’t think of a better time to do it than now.

We will also continue working on our Spanish and learning about Central America. We learn of new charities all the time and can’t wait to team up with others who are like minded in serving others in far away lands. We are hoping to get in a month of traveling before we head into Central America, to get used to the RVing lifestyle. Wish us luck on selling our home….especially those of you who would like to have us stay in our home….wish us luck.

And if anyone knows of someone looking for a 6 bedroom 3 bath 3500 sf home in Davis County, UT, please send them our way. We will be waiting for them. 😉


Pura Vida!
Mrs. C

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