We spent most of January and February getting the house ready to sell and it officially went on the market on February 21. We figured since it wasn't spring yet we would have plenty of time to find the land we wanted to build on and get it ready before the house sold. We were wrong.
February 24 - just 3 days on the market - we received an offer from the first people who came to look! Not only was the offer within negotiating range but they needed possession within 30 days because they were relocating!
Well, needless to say, we were excited - and panicked - at the same time! We have sold enough houses in our lifetime to know that you move when the offer is right. But we didn't have a place to move to and didn't want to rush into a decision we would later regret.
So - we decided to purchase a camper to live in until we found the land we wanted to build our home on. We found the perfect Fifth Wheel in Kentucky that had two separate bedrooms which worked perfectly since my son lives at home and attends college. We rented a storage unit for the necessities and then sold or donated everything else. We had just purchased a flip house on 2 acres so the plan was to move the Fifth Wheel to that property while we renovated it and had time to regroup and rethink our lives.
Although excited for this new opportunity to downsize, living in a 3500 sq ft home and a 41' foot Fifth Wheel are two completely different things.
Here are some lessons I have learned from living in a Fifth Wheel:
1.) You don't need what you think you need.
Although I have never been a hoarder (I actually despise clutter) - I did have a lot of things that I thought I needed. But as I began to go through the house, I realized that most of the "stuff" was just that - stuff. I took only the things I needed to the camper and put a few totes in storage for later use. But honestly, I cannot even remember what is in storage so I guess that means I really don't need that either?
2.) Simple things make you happy.
We had to park the Fifth Wheel at a campground for the first 6 weeks because the closing on the flip house kept getting delayed by the seller. We didn't have water hook-up in the 28 day site (the lake view was more important) so showers were taken in the shower houses. Once we moved to the flip house, we quickly renovated the bathroom so we could shower in the house. Like I said - it's the simple things.
3.) All the "bells and whistles" are just bells and whistles
Living in a Fifth Wheel meant doing laundry at the laundromat which was a 2 hour ordeal not counting the drive time. I made the boys wear the same clothes two days in a row if they weren't dirty so I could cut the laundromat down to one day a week. We finally finished renovating the inside of the flip house so I decided to purchase a washer and dryer. My last washer and dryer had all the "bells and whistles" - so many cycles that I lost count and wrinkle care for the dryer. To be honest, I don't honestly know half of the stuff it actually did because I never used it. When it was time to purchase a washer and dryer for the flip house, I just went with the basic affordable model. No bells and whistles. Just wash. And dry. And I love it! Best washer and dryer I have ever owned! Again - it's those simple things that make you happy.
4.) Experiences are worth more than material things
I have never been a materialistic person but have always tried to have nice things. I make no apologies for that - my husband and I have worked hard all of our lives to provide for our children. However, some of those "nice things" came through loans or even credit card debt. What a wonderful relief when we sold our home to be able to pay off all of the credit cards and most of the other debts. Now our money is spent on trips or experiences with our family. The freedom has allowed us to take vacations that would otherwise be impossible and the experiences are worth it all.
5.) Downsizing means - well - downsizing
We had sold another home prior to this one in 2015 with the intent back then to "downsize". But both kids were still living at home so when we purchased again, it was another big house (smaller than the previous one but still big by today's standards). Once my daughter married and moved out, we realized that we truly did not need the space. So we sold that house too with the intent - again- to downsize. And this time we are truly going to do it! Thanks to the time we have spent living in the Fifth Wheel - I truly understand what "downsizing" really means. In fact, building our 1200 square foot home will now seem like a luxury after months in a Fifth Wheel camper!
Life is all about perspective and it is often our life experiences that determine our perspective. My perspective on life has changed greatly since selling our home and living in the Fifth Wheel. I have realized I want to travel more and buy things less. I want to take time to read more and clean the house less. I want to find the joy in everything - no matter how small.
Although my life still remains in limbo right now as we continue to search for the perfect land, one thing will always remain the same: it's the experiences that make us who we are.
My life is a constant roller coaster but I am thankful for the experiences.
Life is a journey, after all, so you might as well enjoy the ride!