Let the Downsizing Begin!

Brett and I made a command decision a couple of weeks ago that we will not be putting anything into storage again when we set off on Big Adventure II. Just about everything will be sold, including most of our Japanese antiques. Anything we keep will need to be small enough to be packed in a box and affordably mailed to one of our daughters on the mainland, including art work.

The decision was made after lots of discussion about what we should keep along with the cost of shipping those items back to mainland once again. Besides the expense of shipping our goods back to the mainland, the movers losing a large box of our stuff and our shipment not being packed very well when we left Kaua’i last time played a major part in our decision. The main thing though is that we want less to own and be responsible for while we travel.

We’ve been storing several things for the girls but have let them know they will need to go through their things while they’re here in December and decide what they want to keep and what they can let go of. For example, we’ve been storing WenYu’s first guitar, a Fender Mini-Strat and its amplifier, and she’s already let us know she intends to take that back with her when she visits this December. But the cute “hat lamp” she’s had since she was a baby and was so insistent on keeping before she now no longer wants. It will most likely be the same with many other items they couldn’t bear to part with before.

Because the girls are adults, we will also be giving them all their official paperwork (birth certificates, adoption paperwork, diplomas, etc.). They will also get the packet of clothing they were wearing when we received them in China and that we’ve kept for them all these years. They will each be carrying back a piece of art work (or two) of their choosing when they depart as well – they’ve already agreed to that. We will be taking some things to Japan next year when we visit, things that our son should have to either keep or dispose of.

We’ve already started selling a few things as we’d rather have the money in our bank account now than those things sitting around unused, or in a closet collecting dust. Our goal is to sell at least two things each month. At the end of last month we sold my apple green KitchenAid stand mixer because I had not used even once in the last year; my hand mixer is more convenient these days and gets the job done. I listed the KA on our local Buy & Sell group and it sold in less than half an hour for the full asking price. The next day we sold a Noguchi pendant lamp that we can’t use. Last week we listed an ultra-thin light box that WenYu no longer needs and a small TV that YaYu didn’t want to keep. Those sold in a couple of days so we’ll probably list something else this month to keep the ball rolling. After the girls are here for Christmas we’ll reassess what else we can let go, and we’ll have a garage sale right before we depart in 2023 with anything that’s remaining.

We’ve learned during the last few years that downsizing and getting rid of stuff isn’t the worse thing in the world, and there’s nothing we’ve previously sold or given away that we miss. Our kids don’t want our stuff, and we’d plan to live very minimally when we eventually settle, so this is the right thing for us to do, and there’s no reason like the present to get started.


18 thoughts on “Let the Downsizing Begin!

    1. We loved being responsible only for what we carried in our suitcases. It was so freeing! The cost of shipping our stuff last time and then bringing it back was just something we don’t want to deal with again, especially since we know it will cost even more this time. Plus, we have no idea where to send it. The girls really don’t want any of our things as well, or at least not much of them – that was an eye-opener as well. Just as well for us to let it go now.

      Bring a big suitcase when you come though – maybe you’ll see something you want!


    1. Before we moved over to Hawaii in 2014 we scanned all our photos and they now all reside in cloud storage! The only photo albums we have are scrapbooks I made for the girls when they were little, and they are taking those back with them this December.


  1. We’ve downsized twice and I gave away all my books. For those books that I really missed, I bought them again, usually pre-owned, but very cheap. I know purchase Kindle books. No storage!!


    1. All of our books are now on Kindles except for five coffee table books (about Japan) that we kept. We haven’t decided whether to let them go this next time or put them in storage with our daughter.


  2. As extreme it may sound, this is a really good decision. Let’s just say that things, in general, don’t do well in long-term storage units. They tend to over-dry or become musty or dusty. Unless one uses the conditioned storage units which are so expensive. Plus the electronics will become obsolete by the time you settle.


    1. We would only need a tiny storage unit, maybe only a locker, but it’s the cost of moving our stuff back and forth to the mainland that’s the killer for us. $$$$. And leaving it on Kaua’i is not an option, air-conditioned or not. So, we’re letting everything go. We’ll have a better idea after the girls are here in December what we’ll need to sell.


  3. If you have any wood block prints , I’d be interested. Nothing too expensive but i do love the japanese woodblocks. Or if you decide to sell some of the Tenugui?? Just email me.


    1. We only have one woodblock print these days that we’ll be selling, a 19th century one. I will email you a picture and if you’re interested we can go from there. We sent most of our prints to the auction house before we left Portland!

      I use the tenugui every day, and they will be packed in our suitcases and carried along on our travels!


  4. That’s a serious goal, but it makes so much sense. Your KitchenAid mixer photo got me thinking about how often I use mine…not very often. We have a few other things that I would part with in a hot minute but DH won’t. It’s great that you can agree on this whole process and project. It will make your life much easier going forward with your plans!


    1. Our kitchen is so small and that mixer was taking up so much room . . . and I NEVER used it! I got it back in Portland for only $4.95 using Swagbucks I had earned, so what I got for it was pure profit. The guy that bought it was so happy too, and that made me happy. Same for the other stuff we’ve sold.

      The Japanese stuff is going to be harder to sell here, but the girls have said they’ll help me get it listed on eBay or Etsy when they’re here for Christmas. Better money in our pocket than paying those ridiculous shipping fees back to the mainland!


  5. Our adult daughters have made many of the same decisions: not much of what we have dutifully saved will be things they want when the time comes. There are boxes of their old T-shirts and blue jeans in the attic that were meant to become quilts or something years ago. Now, they are constant reminders we have a way to go to properly declutter.

    Our action will be required when it is time to move into a retirement community not that many years ahead. There is no way everything in the attic, garage, and storage shed will fit, or add to the quality of our lives.


    1. I think what our girls will be taking back with them is going to be considerably less than what they couldn’t part with earlier. I’m glad at least the guitar and amp will be going, and some of the art, but otherwise we have been getting the silent treatment about other things we’d like them to take with them.

      The interesting thing about downsizing, to me anyway, is that we have never missed the stuff we have let go. Not one piece of it. That speaks more to me than anything, that much of it really is just stuff we think we can’t do without but actually can. And, while there are things we own now that still bring us pleasure, lots of it doesn’t any more, or at least not like it did in the past. It’s just stuff now that hopefully someone else can use and enjoy owning (eventually).


  6. It is so good you both agree with letting things go and not holding onto them. Mr S won’t let things go – and I’m not talking about as extreme downsizing as you are doing.

    Not that I’m so holy. I’ve wanted a KA mixer but this post has made me reassess that want. Like you, I use my hand mixer and it does the job.

    My mother kept a box of my “ must keeps” for years/decades. When she moved earlier this year into a smaller unit, I went through it and tossed almost all of it. Why did I think it was all important?


    1. I hope we can get rid of everything before we got without giving it all way. It’s why we’re starting to get rid of stuff now, and trying out different places for selling. Last time when we left everything we sold went quickly, but post-pandemic I don’t think it’s going to be as easy this time.

      I have never missed anything we sold, which tells me that it’s OK to let this stuff go. We are keeping a very few things, but only what can be mailed in boxes back to our daughters’ homes. I’m happy that the people buying our stuff are so happy to get it.

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