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In business downsizing means the elimination of people and jobs. In our situation, downsizing describes a multi-year life altering process, transforming our priorities. Our full-time RV life is possible because of the work we put into downsizing. Let there be no misunderstanding, downsizing is difficult. For us it was as much about stuff as it was about simplifying our lives. We wanted to prioritize experiences over accumulations.

I researched lots of information pertaining to downsizing prior to writing this piece. What I learned is that Jess and I lived our lives like a typical middle class American family. We paid a mortgage on a comfortable home, had loans for two cars, all while we saved for retirement and college for our daughter. Our disposable income is where we were different, we spent very little.

Minimalist mindset

We purchased any items we deemed necessary, when we needed them. Our daughter played ASA softball and we traveled for years around the eastern United States with her. Buying new bats and cleats every year and occasionally new catching equipment. Hotel stays and meals were all part of the game. To us these experiences and expenses were more important than the latest model TV or the next version I-phone. In this way we had a minimalist mindset without knowing there was such a thing. How did we end up needing to downsize?

It’s simple over time stuff has a way of accumulating. We owned two completely different business which required many items to operate. Then there are those things we think we need, and they just end up cluttering up our lives. I lived in the home pictured below, when Jess and I met we transformed my house into our home, combining the items of two separate lives into one. We raised our daughter here, playing games in the yard and basketball in the kitchen. This house was full of memories, emotions and lots of stuff.

The Many Stages of Downsizing

Our first downsize happened after our daughter had graduated from college and begun her life in Minnesota. We knew we would soon be selling our restaurant thus, allowing us to live wherever we chose. We wanted simplicity and time, moving closer to the city would allow us both, however the idea of moving was overwhelming!

House hunting was a discouraging process, until one day when I got a call from Jess who was at work. Her co-worker knew we were looking for houses and showed her a Zillow post. The house was perfect, it was twice as big as our current home boasting four bedrooms and three baths with an open concept living space. It had updated finishes, new mechanicals and a huge yard with trees and a pool. It was located on a cul-de-sac in a desirable urban community close to restaurants and highways. We purchased it immediately!

Downsizing to move into a bigger home is a confusing idea. We purchased that specific home as an investment in our future, it was a great deal and offered us the life we desired. The layout of the home and kitchen space was an entertainer’s dream. Then there was the location close to friends, no commuting, easy access to shopping and services which saved us time. We had a smaller yard to mow, less driveway to plow, and city services like trash pick-up, all saving us more time.

Emotional Downsize

We literally built the foundation for our future, while living in our first home. Many of the family memories we had were tied to this place and the items within it. We started slow with easy stuff, we threw away broken things and donated items that were too small. We asked ourselves some basic questions, will it fit, do I still need it, and when did I use it last? As we answered these questions our decisions became more clear. Our beloved tractor which had completed so many projects around our house, would no longer have a job, it had to go.

The only items moving with us were the things which had a purpose and that we chose to take up space in our new home. We sorted through every closet and drawer and made decisions about every item. Downsizing can be an emotional roller coaster and mentally exhausting, but it can also be fun and satisfying.


In the attic we found many boxes of trophies and school work belonging to our daughter, Amber. We were going to send them to her, but she did not want them. She left it up to us to decide what to do with these memories, allowing us some creativity. Jess made two beautiful quilts with Amber’s many years of sports T-shirts. Then we gave them to her as a surprise, it was awesome!

We also found a large portfolio of paintings and pictures our daughter had created in first and second grade. We picked our favorites, purchased frames for them and hung them on our walls in our new home. Several of them are hanging in our RV today. The joy we have seeing these little reminders of a time passed was possible because we identified items which held value to us, and we creatively figure out how to repurpose them.

Downsizing Can Make Organizing Easier

Before we knew we would be moving we purchased a new storage building, I had built shelves and work benches in it and purchased cabinets to hold my tools. I hated the idea of leaving it behind, we found a company who would move it. The cost of moving it to our new home was worth it to us. It was easier for me to downsize my tools because, I knew how much space I had. The organized shed became one of my favorite places in our new home.

It had electricity and a heater, making it comfortable for me to work in it any time of year. There was plenty of room for me to build anything I wanted. This one building contained all of our downsized items from two sheds into a purposeful organized space.

Downsizing our first home took several months, many yard sales and lots of trips to the recycling center. We eliminated extra stuff and chose each item with purpose in mind. The anxiety of this first move was real and the process was tiring, but because we re-purposed many items and prioritized what was important it felt good. There was no sense of loss, just clarity and a lightness.


Jess and I loved our new home it was wonderful, because it gave us more time. We hosted many happy hours, dinner parties, and enjoyed spending time with friends. Then covid happened, Maine had a strict covid policy in the beginning months of the pandemic. I was crushed, we could not go anywhere, restaurants and businesses were closing, it was not safe for people to assemble in groups. The extra time and convenience of living close to the city no longer had any benefit, when we felt like we were under house arrest.

I didn’t know what to do with all of this time we had worked so hard to get. The only improvement we could make to our new home was an outside living space. That’s what we decided to do! We built patios, a wrap around pool bar, decks, an outdoor kitchen space and new entry to the pool.

We even built the chairs and the fireplace!

Covid took so much from so many even though we were spared any covid hardships, we still felt cheated. Our first grandchild was born and my father passed all without the ability gather in celebration and sorrow. Covid reinforced how precious time is to us. We felt the urgency of living the life we wanted to live, and Maine was not the place we wanted to do it. We had fifty incredible years in the state, but it was time for us to move on and begin exploring.


Housing prices were up and we thought our covid project would help us sell our home quickly and make it affordable for us to move across the country. Jess began applying for jobs in the west and southwest, and before we had any time to change our minds she had a new job in Denver, Colorado. We felt in control again making our own choices for the first time in what felt like years!

Yard sales were easy at our first home, here they were more difficult, a permit was required by the city and only two were allowed per year. We decided the upcoming 3-day Memorial Day weekend would be the perfect time, because it was so important, we even flew my mom to Portland to help us organize and get ready. Our move to Denver was a two thousand mile journey across the country to an unseen 2-bedroom condo type unit, with shared resort style outdoor space.

This downsizing was purely about volume and further pairing down what was important to us. We decided we would bring one trailer of items we needed to Denver, and one trailer of items which we wanted keep to our daughter’s in Minnesota.

We sold everything plants, tools, furniture, sporting equipment even our side-by-side! This downsize was much easier, the sentimental items we had kept would be moving with us, we just needed less stuff. The yard sale was a huge success. In the end we paired our belongings down to the two trailers, and made more than enough money to cover the cost of our move, including furnishing our new apartment in Denver.


Denver was exactly what Jess and I needed. Because of the work we had put into downsizing our lives and possessions we were enjoying the life it had created. We spent our free time hiking and participating in local events. The freedom from stuff and owning a home was wonderful. Exploring and the ability to walk and bike from our city apartment to beautiful trails was addictive.

Final Downsize

Our final downsize was an unexpected surprise. We discovered Leisure Travel Van’s while we were living in Denver. We ordered a Wonder RL, because they predicted a three year wait we thought we had plenty of time to decide how we would spend our future. Then soon after we placed our order, Jess had an opportunity to accept a fully remote clinical nurse management position, which she did. The final step in our transition happened when we saw an ad for a canceled LTV order pop-up on Facebook. There was no plan just a clear path to full-time RVing.

Our final downsize was all about space. This is because Voyager has 15 cubic feet of exterior baggage storage, and the interior storage consists of five overhead compartments, two 3-drawer cabinets, and one 2′ wide closet space, with additional nooks and crannies for small items. This downsize would be ruthless!

Three piles, the RV, our daughter’s, and undecided. I sorted every item again. We tried to envision what we would want during our full-time RV travels. Each item we chose needed to fit in the specific storage space of our LTV. I used Facebook marketplace to sell stuff we would no longer need.

The undecided pile was the most difficult to deal with, and the most satisfying to complete. We filled Voyager with the possessions important to us. The remaining items making the cut filled up the trailer and we hauled them to Minnesota. This was the quickest and easiest downsize of all three. The work we put in paid off in the results we achieved.

Live Simple Live Happy

This multi-year process of downsizing helped Jess and I realize the things which were important to us. It changed our lives. We wake up today in Voyager and love the opportunities we have waiting for us just outside our front door, because each day is ours to explore and share our experiences with others. We value time and experiences over things, we have bucked the system and are living the life we want to live. Live Simple Live Happy

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  1. Random comments: Okay, first….”basketball in the kitchen”?!?!? 😃 Do tell!!! I love your first home…it’s so NorthEast. I also LOVE the t-shirt quilt. That photo of your fur children with the valuable artwork…they look SO YOUNG!!!! You seriously made that much money on a YARD SALE?! Wait…was the really cool beach/dune buggy thingie part of the sale? I don’t have anything worth that much to make having a yard sale and all the associated work worth it! 🤣

    So…I really wanted to do what you guys do. I was really looking hard at the Grech Strada-ion Tour…but it just seems so much more “do-able” when there are two of you. Someone to talk things over with, enjoy things with, and to be there if something goes wrong. I was on various FB groups and the number of mechanical issues people were having was worrisome. It seems like anything built after 2019 is a crap shoot on quality. I can just imagine breaking down in the middle of nowhere. I also can’t have a dog for companionship or protection. So…I’ve cancelled my plans for now and I live vicariously through you!

    1. It was a lived in house and basketball was one of many sports practiced in the house and outside of course too. We did have to sell our OHV but it was separate from the yard sale. The yard sale was mostly tools, household items, furniture, yard items, kayaks, wooden furniture we had made, and items from our businesses. Amazing how quick that can add up.

      Sorry to hear about cancelling your plans. I can understand wanting another person around when RVing, not sure if either of us would have been able to jump in the way we did on our own. That being said, we see a lot of people out here on their own. Maybe there’s an opportunity to rent an RV and take it on a roadtrip to see what you think?

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