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From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three

Bye, Bye, Big House & Other Downsizing Realizations

Well, not yet, but it’s on the market now at least!

While certainly not jail-like, the Big House definitely has us in shackles financially!



The pond directly in front of our Big House, complete with fountain and horse farms on the other side of the hidden private walking trail.

There’s still a little touching up and some minor repairs to be done, but we’ve spiffed it up for a (hopefully) fast sale. While it seemed like a good choice at the time, having one of the largest houses in the neighborhood, even if we have the best lot with a great pond view, may end up hurting us since the housing market has never fully recovered. Honestly, though, our only goal is to wipe it clean off the slate without having to write any checks to banks, agents, or title companies. Of course, we could write them one… cashing it is another story!

That will be the most welcome change of all once the house is finally sold – not having half my monthly income sucked away by a mortgage. Sure, we bought a new, expensive truck we now have to pay for, but we also sold our second vehicle this month. That instantly cut about $700/mo just in payment and insurance, and that’s not counting the cost of gas either. Once the house is gone we’ll no longer have HOA fees that equate to $60/mo (due bi-annually this month as a matter of fact – yet another reason I’m stressing about money right now), a mortgage payment of $1977/mo, homeowners insurance of about $120/mo, or any other associated upkeep costs. That’s like getting an instant 50% raise each month! Suddenly that $1k truck payment doesn’t seem so bad, especially considering it, the insurance for it, and our cell phone bill will be our only fixed recurring necessity expenses at that point.

While we absolutely will not be counting on making even a dime on our house sale, I can’t help but fantasize about making enough to then pay off all our credit cards completely. Then we’d have no extra debt at all, which would mean I could work even less while we travel. That would be the perfect outcome for us, but I can’t let myself start planning for that with no evidence that it’s even a possibility. Instead, I’m going to get back to focusing on tangible downsizing for that instant decluttering gratification fix I’m craving.

Mount Lavanderia. Ugh.

Mount Lavanderia. Ugh.

I washed four baskets of laundry yesterday, and while rummaging through them to find a set of scrubs for work Monday evening (I said washed, never mentioned folded) it occurred to me that the majority of those clothes hadn’t been worn by any of us in at least a few months.  Then I looked around our room and saw why my dad often joked that we needed an avalanche warning sign: those 4 baskets were stacked on top of three other baskets of random clothes. Obviously I did not do as thorough a job of downsizing our closets as I’d thought. No bueno.

So, it’s time once again for a clothing purge, and worse – it turns out we still have a whole room filled with random crap we never got out of the Big House before our renters moved in. I’m thinking this time I may try to include Yerdle in my quest for rehousing some of the nicer items we have to part with, but I also see more women’s shelter and Goodwill donations in our future. I don’t think much of it would sell on Craigslist, but I am finally going to part with my all-wood solid cherry futon that was my first furniture purchase I made on my own when I moved to Houston for a year in late 1999. It’s just too heavy and large for the tiny house, and since no one sells solid wood futons anymore (all the ones I see have ugly metal “beds” with wood arms) I’m hoping it’ll fetch a decent price even with 16 years of minor scuffs and scratches. I’m not quite sure what to do with the various collections of room-specific art I made for the Big House, but hopefully my pop-art style of painting will be appreciated on Etsy or a local craft mall. So much randomness to re-home – oi!

A circa 2009 version of my four seasons painting at the Big House. I later added cherry blossoms to Spring and touched up Winter – both of which were painted about a month after Summer and Fall, which accounts for the variations in tree trunk style.

Anyway, it’s time to get serious about decluttering and downsizing yet again. We plan to store a few things at my dad’s house – namely a coupe chairs and some dishes I adore but am not willing to risk breaking on our travels – but the less crap we keep now the less we’ll have to come fetch once we get settled in Washington. I e done the cross-state storage unit bit before when I came back from Las Vegas with the intent on moving back out there after I finished nursing school. That was 2004, and six years and about $6k in rental fees I ended up donating the vast majority to a Mission in Vegas, tossed some via 800-got-junk, and what I bothered to haul back in my dad’s truck was sold off or donated last spring when we moved out of the Big House. I bet I paid less than half of what I paid in storage unit fees to buy everything in the 5x8x12 unit. Clearly I do NOT have a good track record when it comes to downsizing. That ends here and now!

This time around I’ll be even less merciful than last year when I convinced myself I still needed at least one dress of each style (dresses have always been a weak spot for me), at least one pair each of my usual shoe styles (I have only worn four pairs consistently in this past year, and I’ve easy still got 10 more pairs), and one of each color of my beloved maternity tank tops that I use for layering/running/weightlifting/painting/etc because they are extra long and flattering even when not preggo! I’ve also accumulated a bunch of workout clothes since I started seriously running in September, but I haven’t gotten rid of something in exchange for each item that came in. Add that to the fact I’ve lost a decent amount of weight (and am still losing), and I’ve also accumulated multiple pairs of leggings that don’t stay up when I run. More clutter and more money spent. Story of my life, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m not going to give myself a hard timeline because I know dang well I’m too busy to stick to it, but I’m going to aim for one trash bag full of donation items dropped off and one sellable item listed online for sale each week. That’s the pace I was able to keep up with last year, so I see no reason to tinker with a formula that worked. I’m looking forward to seeing the floor of our room at my dad’s house again, but as hard as I’m being on myself right now I need to remember one thing: all our possessions now fit into one room. Well, two if you count the stuff at the Big House, but 99% of that will be donated/gifted/sold/or trashed. Not bad for a former borderline packrat whose hubby could fill a whole room with just his action figure collection!

5 comments on “Bye, Bye, Big House & Other Downsizing Realizations

  1. troykoubsky
    April 21, 2015

    Congrats on making progress!! Nice post!!

    • meg & brandy - TH43
      April 27, 2015

      Thanks, Troy! Hope your downsizing has continued along nicely since we took the class together! 🙂 -Meg

  2. Pingback: Part 2 ~ Thinking Inside The Box with Meg from TinyHouse43 | Shiny Tiny Mansion

  3. Lesley
    April 27, 2015

    If you don’t have the time to deal with the hassle and labor intensive activity of selling your clothing yourself, there is an online site called “twice” which is a resale store. All you need to do is check if they are accepting the brand and type of clothing you have. You can also see an approximate range of prices for the items you want to sell. They pay for shipping your items, evaluate them and then send you an offer. Granted, their offers are pretty paltry compared to the prices you originally paid, but you don’t have to do a garage sale (where you get next to nothing anyway) or list/package/ship things individually on ebay. You can get an additional 25% if you decide to take a store credit! lol! Not quite what it appears you want to do, but you could always decide to do a wardrobe update or buy smaller clothes (congrats on that!). I decided to get rid of a ton of clothing and buy new to me things that are currently more “in fashion” or fit my current needs better. It seems that so many of my clothes have become construction and/or painting clothing. They offer some pretty nice stuff, including yours, and the prices are pretty low. You get free returns on things you buy as long as you continue to take store credit. I hate buying clothing on ebay because, if it doesn’t fit or you hate it, you are either stuck with it or have to pay shipping to send it back. I’ve also found that many people on ebay do not accurately describe the true condition of their items. I choose to sell some of my very expensive things myself, take others to resale shops in the area (if they will take them, you will probably get more money that way), donated some to a women’s shelter for abused women and, as a last result, goodwill. Wow, I ended up writing a book! Hope this gives you and others some ideas

    • meg & brandy - TH43
      April 27, 2015

      Sounds like something worth checking into! I’m also going to try the Yerdle system out (already “sold” a unused bath linen set in the time it took me to post a second listing on the site!), which is more like and exchange system since you get Yerdle dollars vs. real money credits. I’m willing to try just about any system that helps rid me of excess items, so I’ll definitely check out Twice, too! Thanks for the info! 🙂

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