Here we are, I’d say, right in the thick of it. The time in this process where all the things are happening at once. I had my first meltdown about a week ago about a day or so after Justin and I finished our last big project on the house. As we wrapped up installing new flooring and a tongue and groove wood ceiling in our sunroom, Justin finally joined me in his readiness to sell the house. It hit him hard and out of frustration with the project we were doing which isn’t the best way to reach that state but nonetheless, he was there with me. Literally the next day we called our realtor friend over to give us a general once over of the house so we could plan ahead for any lingering projects. The house needs to show like a dream in order for us to break even on this investment. It’s been ten years and we’ve dumped tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket into our 1928 home but we always knew we’d never get it all back.
So there I was, wide awake and talking in circles before I realized that I was freaking out. I had about five different plans begging for my attention at once and lists in my head of all the tasks it would take to get each plan underway. I started talking through it with Justin and before I realized it I was saying things like “are you sure this is what we even want”, “what if we go to drive the motor home and it falls apart”, I don’t know if we’re doing any of this right”. Luckily for me I have a very level-headed husband and he calmed me in a few words. We hadn’t lost any money yet. We’ve only invested our time into this plan so far, besides the motor home which was paid for in cash and could easily be made back if we decided to scrap the whole idea. He told me not to jump the gun on anything. He told me that looking ahead at our furniture for the motor home before we get rid of the furniture in the house was just asking for more stress. That whole concept had to be dealt with.
“Project One Step at a Time” was born. In the morning when I woke up to make coffee, I wrote on our little chalkboard “One step at a time, everything will be fine”. And that has been the best reminder everyday since.
We’re in the thick of it. There’s a whole lot going on around us most of which has been at home and not in the motor home. We are making some significant headway towards emptying the house of unwanted belongings. I’m now a regular at the Salvation Army drop off. Everything is either already at the storage unit or ready to be taken or waiting to be organized into proper totes. We removed some furniture, sold some stuff and even got rooms staged for showings once the house is ready to be put on the market. I’ve been doing little things here and there to not overwhelm myself but I still lay awake at night thinking of the next step and the best route to get us there.
This whole thing has not only been a practice in minimalism but a challenge of patience which I typically do not have an abundance of. We just absolutely can’t wait for the time, space and freedom of being in a different place!!
We got the carpet out. We made a material list and a budget for the rebuild. Next on the list is rewiring and updating the lights to LED.
We’re doing our best to document this whole process as we go. As a diary for ourselves to look back on fondly…hopefully. And as a guide book for anyone reading to learn from the likely many mistakes we make along the way. We’re so excited about the future and this adventure and each step closer to it’s completion is just so important to our mission of cultivating an intentional, simple life. Each minute of work, each nail hammered is one step closer to being complete in our journey to freedom, to adventure, to simplicity. We just can’t wait to be done with her but we’re also trying to breathe in each of the stages we’re going through as we may this dream happen!
Here are our before photos and the where she stands as of late, with work still underway!
Within the last three months we got quite far in our progress on the motorhome. In the middle of August we had a few weekends free to devote to her, thankfully. In between double-wedding weekends and keeping up with our workflow I started to worry that the progress wasn’t going to happen until winter or spring. I started getting anxious about seeing below the surface of everything, literally. I wanted to know what we were getting ourselves into so that I could organize my expectations accordingly. I wanted to know what repairs we would encounter and I wanted to figure out how long it might take to put things back in order once we tore everything apart. I feel much better now knowing her bones.
Here’s our update:
On a gorgeous day in October we started some serious demo with a six pack, a bag of chips and two bottles of blue gatorade in hand. Justin said that demo would be his thing and he didn’t mind doing it all as long as each day started with those three things. I obliged, obviously. The demo was tricky at first. We had no idea where to start.
After deliberating, we agreed to start in two areas, Justin in the bunk and I would start removing the interior walls using the multi-tool I had never used before. We quickly found that there was in fact a “right way” to disassemble an interior of a motorhome. We found that the over-head storage cabinets were hiding all the hardware holding them to the wall, within their walls was electrical wiring, when we thought all the screws were removed parts remained attached. We had to create a method and repeat the same steps for each area. That made the process so much easier. We also quickly learned that working together was necessary. I would start with the multi-tool by cutting an access to the interior of the wall or cupboard to gain access to screws and get the area to a certain point and then Justin would take over and finish the details. Once we nailed down our system it was only a matter of hours before we had everything gutted. As of now the only thing left in the motorhome is the carpet. We’re pretty excited for our next work day to start ripping that out.
We were able to trash the non-burnable stuff directly into my Dad’s work dumpster and the rest served as firewood! My Dad having the tools and equipment for everything is making this job so much easier! Don’t know what I would do without his help and guidance!
We had a giant wind storm last week and I didn’t even consider Big Girl sitting down amongst the wavering trees until noon the day of the forty mile an hour winds. I drove down to move her out of the trees and in the haste of backing up for the first time without an extra set of eyes, I clipped a tree in the upper driver’s side back corner. For whatever reason, I didn’t get too upset by it, I was just glad that it wasn’t worse. Smashing that giant girl into something was bound to happen so I guess for now we’ll just add it to the repair list.
I had a lovely little evening on Pinterest the other night (here’s my board), designing and planning the finishing touches that we would add when the time comes! I think we have the general layout and material list planned and I am SUPER STOKED about it! We ordered a cover for her and it just came today so the next step is to get her winterized and plan our next workday!
A week has gone by since big girl came to be ours. We had a busy work week and a wedding this weekend but we have been so excited to get moving on things. After an expectedly worthless trip to Wal-Mart (which we boycotted several years ago) to try to get a trade for the battery which was supposed to be under warranty we ended up finding a new at Auto Zone. I attempted to make an appointment to have the engine and mechanics inspected by a professional but haven’t had any luck with that yet. We did get the title and the plates and Justin was like a kid on Christmas! We celebrated by wandering the shelves at the Ben Franklin store next to the DMV.
Today we had a plan to just sit around in the big girl. We’ve been calling her that…it fits, but we aren’t set on it for a permanent name. We’re taking suggestions! We glanced through the stack of manuals, checked all the house appliances for the first time, opened the awning which we found needs some minor repairs. We spent the first two or three hours just tinkering around with switches and getting aquatinted with things. We want to at least make sure the appliances all work before we take them out and try to sell them and we’re happy to report that everything is in great condition!
Once we had all those things squared away we had time to just sit. As a self-proclaimed savvy interior designer, I have to just sit in a space and feel it to imagine it in different ways. We had a breakthrough after about an hour of talking through different options for where to put our iMac for the desk setup and I’m excited to share it later, if it works out!
We have big plans for this big girl of ours and we can’t wait to get started!