In the ten months since I retired, I’ve learned a lot.  One of those lessons is still being drilled into my head by my late father-in-law.  Downsize and simplify.  He was a pack rat and we’re left to clean up his considerable mess.  Sheds full of junk, piles of woods and metal and old TVs and appliances just laying around his property.  Insane!!

We have determined we don’t wanna live like that or leave that kind of legacy for our kids.  Not that we’re anywhere near what he left us, but it made us think.  It’s time to take a good look at our life and our stuff and figure out what we really want and need.  We already know that our big house is a goner, but probably not until the kids are on their own.  Too big for a retired couple and too much work to maintain.

We’ve also gone through the interior of the house a couple of times in the past year, prior to the mess we found in Oregon, and got rid of a lot of stuff.  We reclaimed a whole room.  Our media room used to be half storage, half home theater.  We used it to watch movies, but the walls were lined with boxes full of stuff.  Now, it’s mostly devoid of boxes and serves as our movie room and my office with plenty of room left over.  Most of the stuff was sold or donated and we either made a little money or took a nice tax deduction.

Now, it’s on to the fleet of vehicles.  We have a 3/4 ton truck and a small commuter car, both paid for.  We have a travel trailer, hence the truck.  We also have an 18 foot boat we haven’t used in two years, a quad that has an electrical problem and doesn’t run right now, a lawn tractor we got from my father-in-law that we don’t really need and my Jeep restoration project.  Right now, most of that stuff just sits and I go nuts when I start thinking about it.

I love Jeeps and bought the running, but very rough Jeep 5 years back.  My goal was to restore it and have a nice Jeep for fishing and exploring.  Well, that’s not working out.  I thought once I retired I’d get fired up and really go to town on the restoration, but that isn’t the case.  I have found I like the idea of working on vehicles more than actually doing it.  Then on a long drive from Oregon, contemplating how to downsize and simplify our life a little more, it hit me.

The plan is to sell the boat, the quad and the lawn tractor after each has been fixed, repaired or cleaned as necessary.  Then sell the commuter car.  That should net me enough to buy a late model, used Jeep in pretty good shape and maybe even enough left over to buy a few accessories.  As for my Jeep project, if I can sell it as is and recoup some or all of the money, fine.  If not, I will continue working on it at a pace both my pocketbook and patience can tolerate.

I won’t miss the other stuff.  The boat doesn’t get used and is a pain to store and maintain through the winter.  The quad I would use, but this one is old and I bought it cheap from my father-in-law, who didn’t take good care of it…surprise, surprise!  It’s broken down twice since I’ve had it and I don’t want repairing the damn thing to become my new hobby.  The lawn tractor is just logistically difficult to used and doesn’t bag the grass and raking sucks.  It’s just easier to use our current mower, especially since my boys do the mowing.

So, I will get what I want, a Jeep, lose a bunch of stuff I don’t want or need and declutter the garage and yard.  Why didn’t I do this before?  Well, I guess I needed the commuter car to commute, but now I don’t.  A Jeep would be more practical and also keep my expensive truck at home instead of racking up miles and getting beat to hell on fishing trips.

So, what in your life could you do without?  What could you downsize or simplify?  Look at me.  I got rid of a bunch of stuff, made some money or got a tax deduction and gained room for my office.  I’m going to get rid of vehicles that I don’t use and cause me a lot of work and headaches and gain something I really want.  Start looking around and you might discover you could lose a lot of stuff and gain something in the process.  You might even regain your sanity!

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