Grey Nomads: The essential items you shouldn’t throw out when you downsize! 71



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The first thing you need to know is that downsizing and the grey nomad lifestyle can be completely mutually exclusive! But there are some benefits to scaling back your life before you hit the road.

For starters there’s less home maintenance needed while you’re away and less rates to pay. Plus if you sell the family home and move to somewhere smaller the capital gains can be used to reinvest or to fund more fantastic nomad experiences. Basically, it can be a big money saver. It can also be a cathartic start to the next stage of life and many grey nomads say they feel better about heading off knowing they aren’t putting off the big clean out.

So where should you keep for your adventure and what should you throw? We spoke to a series of grey nomads about the most important things they have with them now that they’re on the road. A lot of these items are often on the “Not-essential” list so it’s good to know they can come in handy!

“We invested in an iPad and were able to throw out our books, photo albums, CD collection and old maps as a result! We simply downloaded the books onto the device, download the maps onto the device (there’s even specific 4WD apps in the app store), downloaded our music onto the device and scanned and downloaded our old photo albums! Now it is one of the most valuable things we have.” – Judy

“At first I wanted to get rid of the folding beach chairs and umbrella but after Tess insisted we keep them I’m glad I listened! They’ve come in handy so many times.” – Bruce

“We thought we wouldn’t need them but our fishing rods are one of our favourite things! I was never into fishing but I’ve since found it is a beautiful and relaxing way to spend the time!” – Mary

“It sounds silly and very non-essential but I took along my pod coffee machine and I am so glad I did! There is nothing like having a freshly brewed coffee from my favourite pods in the morning. It’s a lovely way to start the day – a little bit of home wherever you are!” – Sue

“I am proud to say that even though my wife said no, I insisted on bringing my full tool box (instead of the basics) and they’ve all come in handy! Gents, don’t throw out your manhood when you downsize. Keep our trusty friends.” – Mick

“The hot water bottle! It might appear as a non-essential item but it is perfect. When the gas heater stopped working I was able to stay warm! When we’ve done bush-walks that have left us with sore muscles it’s the perfect remedy.” – Penny

There’s nothing as valuable as handy hints from someone who’s actually done it all! So when you go to downsize, make sure you consider these tips…


Tell us, what else would you add to the list of essential, non-essential items?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. Currently downsizing. It is very therapeutic. My only regret is that I did not do it years ago. I feel so free.

  2. Totally agree I’m doing the same. Things I was given by my mother and grandma I’m giving to my family (why wait till family fight over things)and making a pile to go to Red Cross. Takes a while to do but such a great feeling

  3. I have started getting rid of a lot of stuff, have boxes ready for the Salvation Army, stuff ready for a council pickup, still going not rushing but slowly getting organised

  4. Dennis Bigg
    I down sized 8 years ago to live abord a yacht and want for nothing. All the stuff I unloaded was only stuff after all.

    2 REPLY
    • My dad did this & they were the happiest 15yrs of his life, yachting,the perfect life style in my opinion.

    • Dennis I hope you don’t mind but I had a look through your Facebook page, Oh it made me feel happy looking at your beautiful photos, looking at them it brought back great memories of places Dad visited & trips I did with him, he spent the last part of his life sailing the QLD Coast line & oh what a perfect life he had, I love the look of your yacht she looks like a beauty, Dads yacht was Merdos..out of Dunwich..he built her himself & I heard she is still around in Qld waters, I’m going to go & get all the old photos out to look at, your page has made my should do articles on here with photos of your travels, I for one would love to see where you have been..Safe sailing

  5. This is very interesting , I will be doing a bit of this as I look forward to moving on with our life’s

  6. My only suggestion is to remove all DVD covers and keep DVDs and CDs in albums for each. There are times when you can’t get TV and it is nice to watch a movie. It is surprising how little room these albums take up.

  7. That’s an awful lot of eggs in one basket would not want that to crash especially the photos

    4 REPLY
    • With the photos we have them saved on various devices. Al so while we were working we transferred all our 35 ml slides on to digital so they are burned onto a DVDs. Yea boxes & boxes of slides not needed. Actually 5500 in all

    • I would take photo albums with me just in case I think or make backups. Photos are something you can’t replace if you lose them

    • You are better to store your photos on a PC or external hard drive – I have been told by a professional photographer that within 10 years there was nothing on discs when he went back to find photos he thought he had stored in them

    • I have also scanned all the photos onto the computer and backed up onto a separate hard drive. Same with all the slides.

  8. Moving again for the second time in 20 months. Rule of thumb on last move. Anything I had not used in 10 years was gone. This time anything not used in 20 months. Sure makes for easy moving

  9. I know there are some free campsites but where do you park when there are none?

    4 REPLY
    • Lots of people stop at the driver reviver places. I slept in my car at one of those places when travelling down to Byron for Christmas to stay with my son. Great fun, nice people there!

    • It’s rare for us to not find a free camp, but when we can’t, we find a caravan park, or we head for an industrial estate, and park round the back overnight.

  10. One thing that niggles at me about downsizing is that we won’t have room for a caravan or motor home. I’ve heard you can hire them, has anyone here done that? Im in Perth. Perhaps SA60 could do a ‘thing’ on hiring?

    5 REPLY
    • We’ve never been able to accommodate our van at home so we bought a lock up in a complex and it’s been invaluable. It houses our van, a sports car, a motor bike and assorted tools and best of all my husband uses it for some alone time to okay with the ‘toys’.

    • Oh wow Rhonda that’s sounds amazing, I will google this and see what I can find around the area we will be moving to. Many thanks

    • My husband will be so excited if we could do something similar, we are downsizing to a lovely little villa with no garden or land other than a patio, from a big old 5 bed family homestead on acreage. This could be our salvation lol.

    • I googled Caravan hires and they were way too expensive. I plan to buy a good second hand one and once fone my trip around Australia i will sell it as no need to sell the home then. This is an option for you to think about.

    • Yes and I’m told they hold their price well when cared for, worth thinking about if one big trip is on the cards. Thanks.

  11. I am too Vivienne, in fact on round two. Did a general chuck out for each room, now I’m going through again and it’s not pretty lol, being a bit ruthless. Have to do it while hubby is away, he is a hoarder and gets anxiety attacks if he sees a 20 yr old camera the doesn’t work being chucked out.

    4 REPLY

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