In 2008 my husband and I were living in a 1500 square foot two floor, two bedroom, three bath townhouse furnished mostly with teak furniture and with a basement full of model trains. We had been accumulating for years, upgrading our furniture gradually and we finally had everything pretty much the way we wanted it.
Except for Minnesota winters.
My husband was born in Minneapolis and I moved there when I was 15 years old. We spent our young adult years snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. But, most of our family members had moved away and we were getting old. And I was tired of winter lasting seven months of the year.
So I talked my husband into selling nearly everything we owned and moving into a motorhome to go see the rest of this great country while avoiding winter. We rented the smallest storage room we could get and put in it the few things we felt we would always want like photo albums and a few other sentimental things. Then we hired an estate company to sell everything else.
We spent three wonderful years traveling through all the 48 contiguous states and seeing the sites that most interested us–living large in a small space with the view outside our windows changing frequently. Visiting wonders of nature such as the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park. Visiting history sites like Gettysburg and the Abraham Lincoln museum. Exploring our own pasts by driving roads like Historic Route 66 and the Great River Road. Driving down the west coast on Highways 1 and 101. Cruising down the east coast slowly enough to stay in peak leaf color season for several weeks. Exploring our own state visiting Pipestone National Monument and the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. All while sleeping in our own bed every night.
But, Dave missed his community back home: the family still there and the model railroad community in which we had both been active for years. Model Railroading is a great hobby with many aspects. We focused mostly on a nation-wide community that operates model railroads as if they were full-size railroads with signals, schedules, dispatchers, etc.
I am physically unable to participate in that anymore but there are enough of those in the Minneapolis area so Dave can go operate on one at least once a week every month—yes, even in the winter. And I spend much of my days on line helping other people figure out how to go about downsizing and moving into an RV so they, too, can go visit our great country.
Once, we decided to go home again we chose to move into an apartment this time because neither of us missed the responsibilities of home ownership. It’s so nice to be able to let the manager deal with any glitches in our apartment. They even come and change our light bulbs for us.
But we had no furniture to move into an apartment since we had sold what had been in the townhouse. And, while living in the motorhome, all our furnishings were built in.
So, we started talking about what we would do to furnish a new apartment. We each wanted a comfortable chair for relaxing with the ability to put our feet up, we needed a kitchen table and chairs, and beds and chests of drawers, and a desk and office chair, and a TV and stand, and some end tables by our chairs to hold lamps and beverages. And that was pretty much it.
I like the simple lines of Scandinavian type furniture—remember all that teak furniture we sold? Except we no longer cared if our furniture was stylish. Nor did we wish to spend a small fortune replenishing what we had sold.
So, I started researching IKEA on line and picked out a few pieces I thought would work for us. Then we went to an IKEA store and picked out a few more pieces. Finally, we decided precisely what we wanted and ordered it all at once. And had it delivered to our new apartment. Easiest move we ever made.
Now, we love living with just what we need and no more, but after three years of living in a ~200 square foot motorhome, this 700 square foot, one bedroom, one bath apartment feels a bit too large.
I encourage you to take your life in both hands and go out there and live it! Whether that be in an RV touring the country, or with cheap furniture in an upscale apartment complex if that suits you. Or, even back where you thought you didn’t want to be if loving your husband means that’s what you decide to do.
Anything that is right for you is right–period.
About the Author: Linda Sand a 72-year-old woman with a passion for traveling and a knack for keeping things organized while living small.