We are in the midst of this process right now. Our primary home is in Arizona, but we’d been looking to get out of the summer heat and back to the east coast for years, just waiting for DS to be fully launched and not need our house as his base. We purchased a four-season cabin in Maine in May and started moving in a month ago. Because we had already right-sized in AZ from the home we raised our son in, the new AZ house did not have a lot of spare anything, and what it did have, we gave to our son to start setting up his house in Georgia when he moved out after college graduation. So, we’re pretty much starting from scratch.
In the time between closing on the Maine property and actually heading out here, I kept a pad of paper and a pen on the kitchen counter and wrote down everything I used every day that I would need at the new place. Anything I found that I still had a duplicate of (or serviceable substitute), I immediately put in some boxes I had set up in the guest room (to be properly packed before we took off). I also went through every single item of clothing and shoes to decide if the item stayed in AZ, went to Maine, or in the Goodwill bag.
I did decide to take the KitchenAid (which I re-painted and posted about on the KA thread) and Cuisinart to leave in Maine. I will get newer replacements when we return to AZ in late October/November. Everything else we’ve purchased locally or from Amazon. It’s like Christmas with things arriving on our porch almost daily, but we’ve only recently moved from “glamping” to functional, and the effects of Covid on the supply chain will determine when we can return to AZ as we need to remain here until our sofa and bed platforms arrive late October-ish. We’ve already received our stove, but the fridge and convection microwave are still a few weeks out. The cabin has usable appliances, but the kitchen needs to support our cooking hobby, so new appliances it is.
We’ve also had to purchase items we never thought we’d see again — lawnmower, weed whacker, rake, shovel, etc. Though we’re in the forest and don’t plan any major landscaping, we still need basic tools that we don’t have at home. And, DH needs a basic shop, so he’s having fun outfitting that space with new tools. This place is fairly pristine and doesn’t need any major repairs (except a new roof which was accounted for during the purchase negotiation), but DH and I do all spruce up, painting, decorating, and minor repairs ourselves, so we need to have duplicates here of all those tools we have at the AZ house. We budgeted $20K above the cabin purchase price for all of the additional purchases we’d need to make this place as comfortable as our primary home. It looks like we’ll come in just under.
As others have posted upthread, our goal is to move easily between the two homes without taking anything but what we need to sustain us during travel between the two places.
As for overseeing each place when we’re not there, our primary home is in a gated, lock-and-leave community where we have a high percentage of seasonal occupants. The community provides guidance on how to shut your house down, how to monitor it when you are gone (the house is equipped with cameras, locks, thermostats, etc. that we can control remotely), and our community also provides security check-in and monitoring as part of our association fees. We have left our home unoccupied for a few months in the past, so we’re familiar and comfortable with our lock-and-leave procedures. We have equipped the cabin with the same remote automation, and we are part of an association here, too. We also have Maine friends and family who live here year-round who are willing to help if any of the remote systems detect any issues we can’t address from afar.
As this is our first full season away from our primary home, I’m sure we’ll have a few bugs to work out, but we’re having a blast setting up this new place, and we’re absolutely loving the weather and getting reacquainted with our favorite part of the country.
So I, too, will be watching this thread with interest. Thanks for starting it, @kiddie.