It’s an interesting thing, making the decision that you will move your whole life to a completely new town. You look at everything around you and wonder, will I miss it? From the landscape to the community to the things in your own home, making the decision to relocate brings about an auditing process of sorts where you have decided, where I’m going is more than where I am now. And with that comes the preparation involved, not only mentally but logistically.
To make the transition less shocking, I told my husband I’d slowly but surely be packing things away. So, rather than in one week just boxing everything up and leaving, I’ve been gathering boxes here and there from neighbors giving them away, and packing things up.
Some are probably asking, “How can you start this now when you’re not looking to leave until late Spring? What can you possibly pack this far in advance?” It’s not that tough, actually. Here are some of the things recently boxed up:
- Summer clothes – we want to be gone by spring, and it’s in the 40’s now. Don’t think I’ll need those shorts or sundresses or flip-flops any time soon.
- Pictures & art – we have walls of framed photographs and other art. They are gorgeous, but packing them doesn’t prevent us from living our everyday lives. And the sooner we “depersonalize” (which real estate experts recommend anyhow so that prospective buyers can imagine what they would do with the walls), the easier it gets to acclimate to the fact that this time next year, someone else will live here.
- Canning & (most) gardening supplies – because of the move, it means that 2018 will not allow us to have our veggie garden, and preservation efforts don’t occur until summer/early fall, so those seeds, tools, supplies, jars that get emptied, etc. get packed.
- Books – emptying bookshelves (pictured) was a hard one but again, like artwork, they are not necessary for day-to-day, and again, it’s a “depersonalization” task that will help us mentally prepare. Empty shelves (pictured) make me sad…but ready to unpack elsewhere!
- Memorabilia – Since, well, forever, I’ve always had an old trunk where I store keepsakes, odd items of clothing that remind me of a certain time in my life (old concert shirts, that crazy neon yellow “1985” sweatshirt I wore in 6th grade), negatives, etc. Dan had a few thingamajibs he’s added too. Clearly non-essential.
- Tools & Garage Stuff – Since making the decision to relocate, the garage has been given a massive cleanup, and all but a few frequently-used ones have been boxed.
I’ve never been the hoarding type. There’s always a bag by the front door for giveaways, and with the combination Nextdoor, Craigslist and Goodwill, it’s pretty easy to sell, barter or donate items we don’t need. We audited our possessions and asked ourselves, “do we really want to haul this with us?” There is a definite appeal about starting fresh with certain possessions (i.e., after seeing Dan’s great work building us a kitchen and coffee table, this dining room table I’ve had since the end of my first marriage has GOT to go…), upgrading others (in the country we’ll be hard pressed to find the usefulness of a corded chainsaw, for example), and sometimes just making extra bucks off of something we’ve never truly needed. And with our adoption bill still not paid off on our credit card, every small thing we sell has helped us slowly chip away at that balance. Just in the past couple of months we have sold:
- Guest room side table (never used)
- Floor lamp (I always hated it)
- Seagrass baskets (we never filled them)
- Corded chainsaw (cords in the country? nope)
- Microwave shelving unit (became temporary garden shelving, got dirty fast)
- Raised bed drip irrigation kit (customized, won’t work where we’re going)
- Smoothie maker (one-type-of-food appliances are hard for me to justify)
- Mad mats basement rugs (no more basements where we’re going!)
- Massive overage of wooden hangers (why not? we had way too many!)
- Palm sander (we have three killer sanders now!)
- Composting tumbler (filled up way too fast for our needs!)
- Heavy-Ass ladder (I’m too old for a 50 lb ladder, next one will be LIGHTER!)
And now I’ve got our chaise lounges (which I adore yet never lie on anymore because of my shitty back that, one year later, is still not close to normal) and our glorious window A/C (a true blessing in PDX heat waves, but definitely not necessary in the milder coastal climate), which should bring in a couple hundred bucks more, wheeeee!
We’ve been working on inexpensive improvements to prep the house as well, because while our house is pretty kickass there are always a few things that could help even more, with the recent projects including:
- Before the November rains went nuts, Dan added a parge coat to the exterior foundation walls, something I learned in digging up our old home inspection from ’06, saw the inspector’s “you’ll need to eventually do this” tip to prevent leaks. For $5 to buy the mix and elbow grease? Voila! Done!
- Filling in nail holes and touch up painting – little things that make everything a tad bit prettier. Ultimately we’ll give a fresh coat to the walls that need it but that’ll be after the first of the year, with Dan’s expert hand (I’m too much of a slob with a roller, trust me!).
- Spreading more grass seed and spreading mulch. The ducks have trampled and/or eaten so much in our bitty patch of grass that there are some muddy patches that look like crap, so getting that prettied up is a big priority. By early spring we’re going to put up a cheap barrier to totally keep them out of the area so the grass can seriously grow. Front and side yards are now fully mulched 3″ thick and we’ll do the back in February as that’ll be the icing on the cake for our spring flower garden 🙂
- Putting in a sink “skirt”(pictured). I’m not a sink apron kind of gal as I like everything out in the open, but a LOT of other folks do not want to see that area and as it fits the decor, I took the old kitchen curtains and shortened them to fit (amen for that iron on hemming tape stuff as y’all know I can’t sew worth a damn), and had Dan cut the curtain rod to size, and et voila! Zero cost sink apron. Kudos to ideas on Pinterest for this.
And of course, because you don’t want to surprise the future owner, it’s best that you have anything you plan on taking with you from the garden already potted up. So along with the propagation station we set up from Dan’s cuttings of favorite herbs and flowers, we’ve also divided up the yarrow, bee balm, and a few other favorites, and completely potted up the blueberry, pomegranate and manzanita bushes (those gals took too long to get to where they are today). When the first frost comes we’ll do the same with my roses. But we’re not leaving the yard with gaping holes – we have other plants that we don’t want to take with us that went into those spaces – the mulberry tree, mountain pepper, and others. We also made the decision to leave the bulbs & corms in the ground this year and bequeath all of those gorgeous tulips, daffodils, anemones, lilies, gladiolas etc. to the new owners.
In spring those who come check out our house will see everything in “full happy” mode in our garden, and I hope someone equally excited about urban homesteading will fall in love with it. We have done SO much to this house, not just practical things like the tear off roof and all of the energy efficiency features I had done, but also the pretty things like painting the house, getting rid of the ailanthus trees, building the raised beds and the coop (both which will remain with the house), adding the deck and giving some serious love via bathroom and kitchen remodels that we’re still a bit high on after all the work we did to make those happen. So this is what tells us to make sure that wherever we land, we get to build our home on a plot of land that is ours, ours, ours where we get to enjoy the quiet, quiet, quiet.
Top: Sugarberry Cottage, the plans we’re going to use to build our home in Astoria. It’s exactly what we want from head to toe and our builder said no problemo. Below, left to right: my home in 2006, 2010, 2014. Talk about an evolution!