Author Topic: The down side of down sizing  (Read 6538 times)

Linea_Norway

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The down side of down sizing
« on: February 17, 2017, 04:25:54 AM »
Hello,

My DH and I have always had many hobbies and have gotten more hobbies as we get older. And he is also a handyman who does a lot of things himself and then it is good to have tools. We have collected quite a lot of hobby stuff and tools during the last 16 years (after we bought a big house). Now we live in another big house and most of the rooms have stuff in them that I do not want to get rid of yet. The majority of the stuff is also used regularly.

I count that we need to downsize when we going to FIRE, to free up money that was paid for our current house. But I'm pretty sure we would like to have a lot of place where we can store all this stuff. When FIRED we would have much more time than we currently have to use all this stuff. It doesn't need to be stored inside the house though. A shed would be OK.

Some of the hobby stuff we own:

- 4 Tents of different age/size/season.
- Different size backpacks, bottles and other camping equipment.
- 5 sleeping bags for different seasons.
- Many pairs of skies for different circumstances + 2 sledges for winter camping.
- Many different bicycles. I am planning to sell my racer in spring and will then have only 1 mountain bike. My husband will also sell his racer. He will then only have a mountain bike, a time trial bike, a touring bike, a laying down bike and a brompton. The laying down bike he built himself, so I guess he is quite attached to it. The brompton come in handy sometimes when travelling by train.
- Some swimming gear, including swimming wetsuits (much thinner ones than the free diving wetsuits).
- An electronic piano. I have actually tried to sell it for a good price, but no one was interested. Second hand piano's aren't worth much, so now I'm keeping it for if I ever want to play. That seems better than selling it for a low price.
- Fishing equipment (fly fishing, ice fishing, hand rod fishing), waders, nets, bait etc.
- Soon some surfing equipment, as my husband just collected his old board from his father's house and is looking for a cheap, second hand sail.

Other stuff that we own:

- Tools for fixing the house
- Many pots of paint that came with the house. They might be used in the future.
- Bicycle repair stuff including some spare parts and tires.
- Ski preparing stuff.
- Lot of cooking equipment. Some of it is not used very often.
- Only 3 book shelves. I have given away many old books several times before and gave gone over to Kindle books many years ago.
- Lots of shoes, including running shoes with and without goretex and/or spikes, hiking boots, skiing shoes. A few nice shoes as well, but not so many.
- Lot of bags of several kinds and a few suitcases. Most get used from time to time.
- 1 extra bunk bed and 1 extra double sleeping sofa for visitors. So for we have only had 2 visitors staying at the same time. But our brothers have now children.
- Sewing equipment. Also used regularly. 2 sewing machines, as we recently got a newer one (for free). Maybe we'll ditch the old one.
- An extra chaise longe, bought second hand. I can sell that again.
- Silvery under plates and serviette rings. Received as a gift. Probably not worth much to sell, as it is not real silver. Used only once or twice.
- A collection of DVDs and old video tapes with stuff that is worth ever watching again.

As you can understand, this will not fit easily into a small apartment. How do you others do downsizing? Do you keep the hobby stuff, in case you get more time to spend on your hobbies, at least after FIRE? Do you give up hobbies to be able to downsize? Or do those of you with a lot of stuff just buy a bigger house?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 07:23:25 AM by Linea_Norway »

lizzzi

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 04:49:16 AM »
I would buy a small house, rather than going into an apartment. Make sure it has lots of storage space...basement, attic, big garage, shed out back. Don't worry too much about space for company--air mattresses are fabulous these days, and can be inflated anywhere...living room floor, whatever. You don't sound like folks who would be happy with apartment living--it sounds as if you need most of your stuff.

pbkmaine

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 04:50:43 AM »
You could build a lofted bed with a large closet or cupboard underneath to store a lot of this.

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 04:52:02 AM »
Don't worry too much about space for company--air mattresses are fabulous these days, and can be inflated anywhere...living room floor, whatever.

Good idea. In the past, when we lived in a 2 room apartment, visitors would even sleep outside on the balcony (by their own choice). Or in the living room.

pbkmaine

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 04:55:22 AM »

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 04:56:54 AM »
You could build a lofted bed with a large closet or cupboard underneath to store a lot of this.

This is also a good idea, as least for a guest bed. I'm not sure if I would like to sleep so high every day.

Laura33

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 06:20:51 AM »
This is a real question for us, too, so I will be happy to see what people post.  I always had the idea of trading in the family home for a condo right downtown in the heart of the action, so that I can walk everywhere + free up a good chunk of $$ to add to our 'stache.  But about a year ago, I realized that that's probably not realistic, for exactly the reason you mentioned:  we have hobbies, and the whole point of FIRE is to free up time to do the things you enjoy.  Most specifically for us, DH is a woodworker and has taken over the equivalent of a two-car garage for his work; if he had more time, he'd probably want even more space (at least, that is my guess, based on the comments I hear about the need for a separate dust-free finishing room).  Hard to fit all of that into a downtown condo.  :-) 

For general condo living with general hobby stuff, many condos come with an assigned storage space.  So if you are looking in an area where tht is common, you may be able to find a spot for things like your wetsuits and bikes and the other larger things.  Obviously, that won't work for woodworking tools.  One route that we may think about is whether we could just rent a shop space for him.  But even assuming we can find something like that, it does increase our FIRE expenses -- it's probably still cheaper overall than keeping the big house, given the house upkeep costs, but it does mean we're not going to have as big of a delta as we had originally thought.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 06:31:03 AM by Laura33 »

Cranky

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 06:21:59 AM »
I dunno how you define a "big house" but I've got a smallish house and most of that stuff.

We keep the camping stuff, the gardening stuff, the tools, and a pottery studio in the garage.
In the basement, we've got the winemaking setup, and my sewing and knitting stuff.

We don't plan to move after we retire, but we've paid off the house, so it's a cheap place to live.

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 06:40:42 AM »
This is a real question for us, too, so I will be happy to see what people post. 
<...>

I also want to move to a cheaper area. There is also no need to keep living so close to the capital when houses elsewhere are much cheaper. And I would like to live in an area where I now would like to go during my holidays, so that we don't need to travel so much to be in a nice place with spectacular nature. We have started to think about alternatives, but haven't decided anything yet, as there is still 7 years to go.

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 06:44:56 AM »
I dunno how you define a "big house" but I've got a smallish house and most of that stuff.

We keep the camping stuff, the gardening stuff, the tools, and a pottery studio in the garage.
In the basement, we've got the winemaking setup, and my sewing and knitting stuff.

We don't plan to move after we retire, but we've paid off the house, so it's a cheap place to live.

Previous big house was 200 square meters (2053 square feet). Current big house is 240 square meters (2581 square feet). But you're probably right. We have a house with a lot of room every where. I suppose we could have saved a lot of floor surface with a better designed house.

MayDay

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 07:13:27 AM »
You get rid of some of that stuff.

Like the piano- who cares if it doesn't get much money. If it burned up in a fire tomorrow, would you replace it? If not, sell or donate it now.

You say about a lot of things that it wouldn't get very much if you sold it, or you don't use it much. Get rid of all that stuff!

What if, for example, you moved into a 2 bedroom house or co do with a two car garage. Garage is the shop. One bedroom is a giant storage closet for the hobby supplies. The garage holds all the woodworking and bicycle supplies.guests sleep on an air mattress in the living room.

Then really evaluate how often you do all those hobbies. are you really camping enough that you need four tents and swimming enough that you need 4 wetsuits, and biking enough that you need all those bikes? If so, you must never be home to woodwork!

You can probably be just as happy decreasing the quantity of hobbies requiring seperate equipment.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 07:44:27 AM »
I dunno how you define a "big house" but I've got a smallish house and most of that stuff.

We keep the camping stuff, the gardening stuff, the tools, and a pottery studio in the garage.
In the basement, we've got the winemaking setup, and my sewing and knitting stuff.

We don't plan to move after we retire, but we've paid off the house, so it's a cheap place to live.

Previous big house was 200 square meters (2053 square feet). Current big house is 240 square meters (2581 square feet). But you're probably right. We have a house with a lot of room every where. I suppose we could have saved a lot of floor surface with a better designed house.

Layout and usable space is going to make a big difference. If you're also moving somewhere with a lower cost per square meter, then you won't have to downsize super drastically. It's probably worth spending a little bit more to get a place you'll be happy, and which allows you to use the things you already own during your free time. Less temptation to fill the time with stuff that costs money.

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 07:47:21 AM »
You get rid of some of that stuff.

Like the piano- who cares if it doesn't get much money. If it burned up in a fire tomorrow, would you replace it? If not, sell or donate it now.

You say about a lot of things that it wouldn't get very much if you sold it, or you don't use it much. Get rid of all that stuff!

What if, for example, you moved into a 2 bedroom house or co do with a two car garage. Garage is the shop. One bedroom is a giant storage closet for the hobby supplies. The garage holds all the woodworking and bicycle supplies.guests sleep on an air mattress in the living room.

Then really evaluate how often you do all those hobbies. are you really camping enough that you need four tents and swimming enough that you need 4 wetsuits, and biking enough that you need all those bikes? If so, you must never be home to woodwork!

You can probably be just as happy decreasing the quantity of hobbies requiring seperate equipment.

I guess I could indeed get rid of the piano, the "silver" and one of the tents that has become abundant. And as said, I am planning to sell my second bike in a few months when prices are good. The mention of replacing it after a fire is a good one. I wouldn't replace the Things mentioned above.
But most of the stuff is indeed used regularly or frequently.

historienne

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 08:12:09 AM »
  Most specifically for us, DH is a woodworker and has taken over the equivalent of a two-car garage for his work; if he had more time, he'd probably want even more space (at least, that is my guess, based on the comments I hear about the need for a separate dust-free finishing room).  Hard to fit all of that into a downtown condo.  :-)

...

One route that we may think about is whether we could just rent a shop space for him.  But even assuming we can find something like that, it does increase our FIRE expenses -- it's probably still cheaper overall than keeping the big house, given the house upkeep costs, but it does mean we're not going to have as big of a delta as we had originally thought.

My husband is also into woodworking.  Look around for makerspaces, tool libraries, etc.  My husband has just joined a tool library that has open shop hours on weekends, for the grand price of $100/year.   He's not retired, so weekends are enough for him, but there are also options for makerspaces in our city that are more like $80/month but come with 24/7 access to a significant woodshop. 

Laura33

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 01:33:30 PM »
  Most specifically for us, DH is a woodworker and has taken over the equivalent of a two-car garage for his work; if he had more time, he'd probably want even more space (at least, that is my guess, based on the comments I hear about the need for a separate dust-free finishing room).  Hard to fit all of that into a downtown condo.  :-)

...

One route that we may think about is whether we could just rent a shop space for him.  But even assuming we can find something like that, it does increase our FIRE expenses -- it's probably still cheaper overall than keeping the big house, given the house upkeep costs, but it does mean we're not going to have as big of a delta as we had originally thought.

My husband is also into woodworking.  Look around for makerspaces, tool libraries, etc.  My husband has just joined a tool library that has open shop hours on weekends, for the grand price of $100/year.   He's not retired, so weekends are enough for him, but there are also options for makerspaces in our city that are more like $80/month but come with 24/7 access to a significant woodshop.

You know, he actually looked at that when he started up.  At the time, he quickly determined that the shared space tools were insufficient.  :-)  But, yes, that was @20 years ago, and the whole idea of a "maker" space is much more prevalent now than it was then, so we need to look into options like that when we are closer.

frugaliknowit

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 01:57:47 PM »
"...- Many pairs of skies for different circumstances "

Assuming you are talking downhill skis:  You really only need one pair of "rocker skis" which you can buy on sale off-season.  Ditch on ebay/craigslist/donate, and in some cases literally throw out (if they're really old/obsolete and no one wants them...yes, I have given away or trashed old skis because they are obsolete and not marketable) the rest.

I forgot to mention:  There are charities that collect unwanted skis to make "ski bikes" for physically challenged folks who can't ski...
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 02:00:05 PM by frugaliknowit »

Dicey

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2017, 01:29:41 AM »
Gotta say, downsizing is not the be-all, end-all. If you actually use all that stuff, then theoretically you are going to have even more time to use it post-FIRE.

Also, have looked to see exactly what you will get for your money? In many cases in my HCOLA, "downsizing" to a smaller place isn't a whole lot cheaper, and property taxes are higher.

We have a large retirement community (6700 units) near us and own rental properties in another one (5000 mostly SFHs) farther away. Many people do the downsize "bounce". They buy a house that's too small, then want/buy something just a little larger, so they don't kill each other. What a waste of time, money and energy.

My advice is to talk to people who have downsized. Think it through very carefully. Maybe even rent the bigger house out while you test drive a smaller rental house to see how it works. Storing some stuff during this period could still be a shrewd move.

Here's a wild-ass idea: Do you have room to build a granny unit on your existing property? You could design the perfect place, build it, and move into it. Then rent out the main house for a bunch of dough to add to your post-FIRE cash flow.

Hargrove

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2017, 02:13:57 AM »
I wouldn't downsize with a list like that unless you decide to pare down first. It would be a bit like quitting the job to encourage more careful spending.

Videotapes probably aren't in good working shape anymore. A piano "in case" you want to play? 5 sleeping bags and 2 sewing machines? And the beer equipment, etc. That's a pretty big move in the first place.

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2017, 07:49:22 AM »
"...- Many pairs of skies for different circumstances "

Assuming you are talking downhill skis:  You really only need one pair of "rocker skis" which you can buy on sale off-season.  Ditch on ebay/craigslist/donate, and in some cases literally throw out (if they're really old/obsolete and no one wants them...yes, I have given away or trashed old skis because they are obsolete and not marketable) the rest.

I forgot to mention:  There are charities that collect unwanted skis to make "ski bikes" for physically challenged folks who can't ski...

Cross country racing ski's used during best snow conditions. An old pair used during gravel conditions. Mountain cross country skis with metal sides, usedd for mountain hikes, one pair of alpin ski's.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 01:42:06 PM by Linda_Norway »

FIFoFum

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2017, 11:51:14 AM »
When you are downsizing to save $, getting rid of stuff that you can't afford to store automatically = saving.

It's difficult to switch the mindset of holding onto things that theoretically should earn $ in resale. Anything that you are not actively using is costing you money to keep. Period. Piano, extra shoes, kitchen stuff, a second sewing machine, unused skis, gear - if it is not something you are regularly using, get rid of it. Either sell it for whatever $ you can or give it away if you can't get $ for it. Banish the thought that it "should" earn money or is a "waste" to get rid of. It is only worth what someone is willing to pay, and, in the meantime, you are "paying" with your limited space to keep it.

There is nothing wrong with having space to store or use & enjoy hobby gear. 


Laserjet3051

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2017, 10:36:00 AM »
Linda, I can totally empathize with you. I have a lot of hobby/sport equipment that also takes up a lot of space (longboards, camping, backpacking, scuba, DH/XC skiing, MTB/road cycling, etc..).

My thinking is that if it is used regularly, even if that means once per year (e.g. solo tent for solo mountaineering in the rockies/cascades), then keep it. The idea that renting something for once/twice a year use is preferable breaks down when said gear can mean the difference between life and death. Rental gear integrity cannot be guaranteed and often such gear is not cared for properly, in the way that we care for our own gear. This has happened to me many times renting (MTBs, snowshoes, kayaks, etc).

I'd love to downsize, and can to some extent, but not at the sacrifice of my passions, which put me on the edge of a 10 ft ocean curl, a gnarly downhill singletrack, a fresh powder-covered cornice, etc.

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2017, 01:51:21 PM »
Linda, I can totally empathize with you. I have a lot of hobby/sport equipment that also takes up a lot of space (longboards, camping, backpacking, scuba, DH/XC skiing, MTB/road cycling, etc..).

My thinking is that if it is used regularly, even if that means once per year (e.g. solo tent for solo mountaineering in the rockies/cascades), then keep it. The idea that renting something for once/twice a year use is preferable breaks down when said gear can mean the difference between life and death. Rental gear integrity cannot be guaranteed and often such gear is not cared for properly, in the way that we care for our own gear. This has happened to me many times renting (MTBs, snowshoes, kayaks, etc).

I'd love to downsize, and can to some extent, but not at the sacrifice of my passions, which put me on the edge of a 10 ft ocean curl, a gnarly downhill singletrack, a fresh powder-covered cornice, etc.

Yes, renting gear is another threshold for going on a trip. And when it is on sale, gear usually costs twice the price of renting once. So using when it more than twice, it pays of to own it. We always buy everything on sale, like cross country skis at the end of the season for a fifth of the normal price. And sometimes used, especially furniture.

I forgot to mention that we also have a canoe, type Ally (foldable). We use it several times a year. The last few years in May, we have gone to a nice canoe area in Sweden, just before the renting season opens. The rental places have 600 rental canoes. Just imagine how crowded the wild campsites will be during this period. We always meet just a few people, usually Norwegians, otherwise it is nice and quiet. We just bought a replacement canoe, because the old one was falling apart after extensive use for approx 16 years. The new one will also be used a lot.
Our camping gear and ski's are also used a lot.

Retire-Canada

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2017, 02:41:56 PM »
All that gear can go in a garage. So a small house and a garage should work. Be efficient with how you store and pack everything. Be ruthless about not letting gear in the house - my GF play bad cop on this!

Also be honest with yourselves about how much you do each activity. Most sports and hobbies I participate in really only hit their stride after a certain minimum commitment level. So rather than dabble like kooks in 10 activities pick the top 5 that make you happy and dedicate yourself to those.

You don't casually surf or windsurf so if he's not going to be going several times a month it's time to let that go. You can set limits on the other activities to help you determine what really matters.

If you do something once a year or less you don't need the gear/tools for it.  The more you use something the more priority it should have in your space.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 02:48:45 PM by Retire-Canada »

Cassie

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2017, 03:01:52 PM »
When I was single I happily lived in an 869 sq ft condo. Then met my DH and he had to rent a storage unit for his hobby and tools, etc. We now live in a 1400 sq ft home with 3 bedrooms so we each have our own office space.  WE have a 1 car garage and a huge shed for storage.  We each have our own TV for when we don't want to watch the same show.  This has been perfect for us.

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2017, 07:31:46 AM »
Were a family of 6 and downsize from a 7200 square foot 6 car garage ranch to a 2700 square foot 2 car garage home. I gotta tell ya, We had so much shit, still do that we didn't need and are still getting rid of stuff a year and 3 months into the move already. But sooooo worth it. Maybe you will find a combination of things will happen as did we. There were a lot of things we though we needed or wanted we got rid of, a lot of things we cam upon we didn't think about we got rid of and I built a lot of creative storage solutions. One example is I built 8 lockers in the garage for all the kids shit and 8 more down stairs by the walk out so we can move the winter stuff up and down and vice versa as needed. That's just one of many. Taxes are a third of what they are, utilities are a third of what they were and maintenance is nothing. I do plan on building a shed and then I will be fine. In 7 years we will downsize to at least half the size of this unless something I don't for see changes.

Iplawyer

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2017, 08:28:15 AM »
We are almost finished downsizing by 2/3rds.  And it feels wonderful.  I think  we just did not know how much stuff we accumulated in the same house for over 20 years.  We have taken about 8 truckloads to Goodwill - we are not the sell on eBay or Craigslist type.  At our new place we have maximized every crook and cranny for storage - and doing it has been fun.  Our new place is so much more us than the old place.  Good Luck.  And - there are very inexpensive storage units where you can store stuff you don't use that much.   It is much more efficient than having house square footage for  storage.

Sibley

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2017, 11:04:40 AM »
Keep in mind that as you age (the indignity!), you may completely stop doing something because it's just too hard. Or whatever. When that happens, you don't need the stuff for that activity anymore.

sparkytheop

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2017, 12:32:20 PM »
For me right now, "downsizing" means moving to a smaller house, but having better outbuildings and land.  Maintenance on a house is different than maintenance on an outbuilding.  They do not have the same heating/air conditioning requirements.  I don't want my living space to be cluttered with non-everyday items.

I hope to build a small house that will have a sewing room (either in the spare bedroom or in the basement).  I wouldn't feel comfortable with fabric, sewing machines (especially electronic ones), etc, "living" in a non-controlled environment, so I'd want that stuff in the house.  Camping gear, woodworking, other hobby stuff would go in an outbuilding.

As a quilter, I'm not going to be shocked at two sewing machines, if they generally serve different purposes.  If you have two of the same, readily available in a store (if one breaks beyond repair), then maybe (but still probably not, lol).  However, if one is for heavy stuff (jeans), one is for quilting, or they one is a good, solid cabinet machine, and one is more portable, etc, they serve different purposes.  Most people wouldn't wear hiking boots for running, and a sewing machine can fall into that type of comparison, right tool for the job and all.

I wouldn't move to an apartment, but a small house with useful layout.  And a good shed/garage/other outbuilding with thought out storage organization.

I also wouldn't hold onto things because you can't get what you want on resale.  Know a kid who is taking piano lessons but parents can't afford/don't have room for a piano?  You could make that child's day! (well, if they like playing...)  Sometimes the value of something isn't just monetary, and if you can afford to donate/give over sell something, well, sometimes it's worth freeing up the physical and mental space.


bognish

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2017, 12:39:16 PM »
I have stored skis under the bed before. Garages or basements can be too damp. There is no point to FIRE if you are only going to have 1 pair...

Linea_Norway

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Re: The down side of down sizing
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2017, 12:53:27 PM »
Conclusion is that we have enough space at the moment, both inside the house and in the outhouse. When FIRing in 7 years, we'll buy a smaller house in a cheaper area with a good outhouse. And then we'll sell or give away all the things we haven't used for years, before we'll do the actual move. And we'll keep all the hobby stuff we'll continue to use.