IsDons articles and blog

Moving from a house into a home-on-wheels

Category: My first slide-on campervan. Published: 23 Jun 2009

What to do with the house?

Having decided to move into a campervan, I had to decide what I was going to do with my house -- I could sell it or rent it out.

  • I'd already decided that I wasn't going back to Canberra.
  • I'd heard horror stories from people with investment properties.
  • I worked out that rent would barely cover the cost of the mortgage.
  • I could earn interest from the proceeds of selling the house.
  • I needed money to buy my campervan.

So summing all of this up I sold the house. This was easier than I thought -- I sold it to a friend of a friend without needing to actually put it on the market, which avoided a few hassles.

Furniture and contents

Then I had to decide what to do with my furniture and other contents. I had to decide what I wanted or needed on my travels and to get rid of the rest. I'm a hoarder, so trying to pack up a 3-bedroom house into a small van was not much fun. It's difficult to decide whether or not to throw out 20-years worth of bills, pay slips, ATM receipts, etc. You just never know when you might need something like that...

This was actually a two-step process. When I bought my first van the plan was to travel for 12-months and then move to Tasmania. I arranged with the new owner of the house to store my furniture in the garage for 12-months. When I decided my travel was going to continue I had to decide what to do with everything.

I sold everything that anyone was willing to buy. As most of my furniture was over fifteen years old this didn't get rid of much -- even though it was all in good condition, no-one wanted furniture of that age. I got rid of a lot of stuff through second-hand dealers, advertising in the local paper or on the Internet and I also had a garage-sale, which wasn't very successful but the new owner wanted to keep the garage anyway. In the end most of it went to charity.

Moving stuff

Having decided to keep some stuff I had to store it somewhere -- my brother's place in Mount Gambier. My niece in Warrnambool also took some stuff. Now I had to get it there -- Mount Gambier is over 1000km from Canberra, and Warrnambool is almost as far in roughly the same direction.

Quotes for removalists or to hire a van were both over $1000. I measured everything and decided it should all fit on my truck. Some very nice neighbours helped me to load a large wall unit onto the truck. My intention had been to stand it up and load everything else on behind it. My neighbours convinced me that it wouldn't work that way and the unit needed to be lying down. Problem with that is that I couldn't then fit everything else on.

So this was going to require two trips -- one to Warrnambool and another to Mount Gambier. Removalists may have been cheaper!

Once we got the wall unit secured it was easy for me to load everything else that was going to Warrnambool and I drove to Warrnambool and back without incident.

Then I had to pack up all the stuff for Mount Gambier. I packed everything onto the truck. Then I took it all off and re-packed it back onto the truck. I had put a few sheets of chip-board on the bottom of the load. I thought that maybe I should tie the wood down, but decided that the weight of the boxes would hold it in place -- wrong! With a little bit of driving around the wood had moved -- only a couple of centimetres, but enough to be a worry. I bought some more rope, took half the boxes off, moved the wood back into place, tied the wood in place, put the boxes back on, tied them in place, put the tarp over the top and tied it in place. Nothing is going to move this time!

Drove to Mount Gambier and unloaded everything at my brother's. It took us longer to get the rope off than to unload, but nothing had moved!

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