Progressing to Simple

I’ve been journaling my various back and gut maladies enough lately that I need not delve any further into that topic for the time being. As such, a brief update on the other main thing taking my attention; the march toward a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle.

We’ve been slowly moving toward this goal most of the year, the main catalyst of which is to sell our 1800 square foot, double-garage townhouse and downsize to a condo of roughly 1000 square feet, further west. Just how much further west depends on many things, but we could even end up all the way over in Victoria. I’m not going to get ahead of myself though.

Changing Gears and Making a Plan

From the end, to the range

Not that long ago, we thought it likely we’d stay where we are for several years, and we renovated our kitchen and baths accordingly two summers ago. We’d probably have done some updates to the then 30 year old rooms even if we’d have known we were going to sell, but I suspect we may have gone in a more budget-oriented direction with the work. What we’ve done will help the place show well and sell, but we’ve got a little line of credit debt we want to clear up from the sale before committing to our new mortgage.

As partial empty-nesters of two now-adult sons, our home had collected the amount of stuff you’d expect a place of its size to contain, including two vehicles, and enough furnishings, TVs, conveniences and the like for a family of four with three bedrooms, a family room, den, three bathrooms, a very small yard space, bicycles, etc, etc, etc.

Nonetheless, we decided that we needed to begin the process of purging and eliminating. Our main goal is to be lean and mean by the time we move, with just enough left to furnish a home half the size of our current one. As we have house-sized furniture, it’s possible we’ll need to over-purge and then get very small and simple things for our new place.

Even with neither of us being packrats by nature, the things that accumulate in your garage and storage areas take a lot of work to remove. We already know we’re donating a bunch of digital media, electronics, clothing and the like to the Developmental Disabilities Association. That pickup is scheduled for May 1st, so we have a fixed target of ten days from now for deciding exactly what’s going where in our purge. To meet this goal, we’ve decided to separate the things slated for landfill and sale/donation in our garage. In a perfect world, we’d donate or sell everything, but some things simply don’t have the value for either fate.

So Far …

I sold our 2005 Xterra a few weeks ago and got pretty much what I asked for it. While I liked driving it much more than our Subaru Imprezza, not only did the cost of operating it sway me, but I realized that driving an off-road 4×4 around town hardly screams minimalism or simplicity. As part of the reason for moving closer to the city centre is a significant reduction in driving, keeping the larger, less efficient vehicle made no sense.

We took this week off, in part, to get some small/medium things done around the house in preparation for listing it. In particular, I had some long-standing wall patch and paint touch-up work to do. I’m happy to report that the three main things all got done and ended up looking not too bad, if I do say so myself.

Gettin’ all electrical

I should also mention at this point, that while I’ve been patching, sanding and painting, Connie updated the remainder of our plugs and switches updated to decora style. Much like what I’ve been doing, this has been on the back burner for some time. Nothing like deciding to sell to get your ass in gear.

We still have this weekend before it’s back to work, so my hope is to get a bit of the yard work and a trip or two of the definite dump stuff taken by the end of it. We also presently have the beginnings of three distinct piles on the side of our garage which no longer accommodates a vehicle.

Coming Up

Our main reason for taking a week off together in the spring was to get these little things done before the whole sell and buy process of moving begins. We still have more purging and organizing of the garage piles left to do before we know exactly what’s being dumped, donated or possibly even sold via a garage sale in the next few weeks. We also have more furniture that we’ll need to sell before we move. However, we need to leave it in place for now to show our townhouse. Not only the extra furniture we will no longer need, but I expect our dining and bedroom furniture to be too large for a smaller condo.

We have our pre-approval financing application rolling with our mortgage broker, so we’ll have a good idea of where we stand before we begin looking seriously at condos with the notion of making any offers. Given the rental market in Vancouver and us being dog folk, there’s no way we can consider renting for a while after we sell, and then buying a condo. As such, similar to our last move eight years ago, I expect we’ll be into the wonderful world of bridge financing for a short period. I don’t expect selling our townhouse to be too difficult. We’re in a nice quiet family neighbourhood with great schools, with an end unit in a well-run strata. We also have one of the largest townhouses in our entire neighbourhood, with three full (renovated) baths. Our place kind of screams “ideal for families.”

All in all, our goal was to be in a position to list by early May and I think we’ll pretty much be on track. The only thing I’m still not sure about is how much yard work I’m going to do before selling. I expect any new owner will want to change a few things and give our place a coat of paint, so the goal with all of it is more about being presentable than perfect.