Thank you friends who travelled near and far, sent messages of support and checked in on us during our big yard sale yesterday. It was a fun day seeing friends come by to say hello, do a little shopping and helping us out! Amelie was a great help too and we are grateful that her friends came by for moral support. Thank you thank you thank you!! One thing we had not anticipated was the many wonderful neighbours we would meet for the first time. Andrew and I felt that we should have had a yard sale when we first moved in instead of as we are leaving!! Something to keep in mind when you're moving into a new neighbourhood.
Some of my fellow Kilimanjaro trekking friends
There is so much excitement and curiosity about our travel plans that I thought I’d share the most frequently asked questions.
Q: What did you do with all your stuff?
A: We created a spreadsheet to keep track of all the moving parts of "stuff management" (520 items to be exact going to 35 different locations). Yesterday's yard sale helped with many of the smaller items--tools, electronics and housewares. What we didn't sell we took straight to Value Village (or Villagio as we like to call it) to mitigate the temptation to further sort and allocate remaining items.
Google sheets keep us organized
About 90% of our furniture was purchased by family and friends who had a chance to walk through the house & “put their name” on what they wanted.
A friend is upsizing from a small condo in downtown Toronto to a big house she bought to be closer to nature and family.
A family member is building a beautiful cottage
A family member renovated their rec room
A few reached out asking about specific items they needed including a friend who is sponsoring a family from Myanmar.
This has been a lot to coordinate but has worked out well for many and makes me very happy to see our items go to people we know first and foremost. The remaining items were sold on Facebook Marketplace (not always fun-I could write a whole blog on just that-but we did meet some nice people).
Clothing & Jewelry:
Sold my designer clothes on consignment at Oliver Rose Designs
Curated items for my mom and friends
Amelie sold a lot of her clothes on Depop
Andrew gave some to family and most to Value Village
Gave some precious baby clothes to my Syrian friend (who is expecting a girl...yay!!)--and yes, I was holding on to some of Amelie's baby clothes...17 years later!!
One bin is being stored at my friend's place...with permission to use whatever she wants while she has it
Skis and winter clothing will be staying at Andrew's parents
We sold our dinnerware to a friend, gave some away, sold a lot at the yard sale and took the rest to Value Village. We still have a lot here that we continue to use until we move--some will be stored for Amelie's first apartment, some will go to the Myanmar family.
Q: Letting go of your things must be hard. Are you feeling emotional?
A: I’ll be honest it is a lot of work and at times it has been emotional.
The hardest part for me was deciding what to so with the beautiful mission-style furniture lovingly made for me by my dad. I really struggled with this one and had many conversations with Papa. In the end, I've decided to keep a few pieces (my brother has the China cabinet, my sister in law has a small table, dresser and footstool). The other pieces are going to a cousin which I am grateful for.
I had my one and only emotional meltdown while going through my drawer of wrapping paper, cards and decorations as I realized there would no longer be the annual ritual of decorating my daughter’s room on her birthday (and since she’s off to university this is the end of an era either way) but still…that was hard. The celebrations and special occasions in this house hold the dearest memories and this drawer was a reminder of these good times.
Going through photos also was something I gave a whole day to as I walked down memory lane. I took my time doing this, honouring past relationships, friends and family lost, texting photos to family and friends throughout the day and reconnecting via shared memories. It felt good to go through these special moments and organize a bit (more to do). I went from three bins to one which is being stored at my parents.
And lastly…the thousands of books that Andrew and I owned. We love our books!! I’m down to a bin of 30…my spiritual books and Forest therapy books. That’s it! Andrew has what you see on the bare shelves. We are both getting used to reading on our Kindles and using the Toronto Public Library Libby app.
Before & after book situation
Most importantly, seeing items I love go to friends I love has helped and something that I've really enjoyed. Many have commented on how much they appreciate having a little something from me in their homes.
My friend Laurie picked up some furniture & left with a little something extra--an angel for an angel!
Q: Why not just put your stuff in storage?
A: We estimated that storing our belongings would be $400/month and that we’ll be travelling for 3 years (you can do the math). We also believe that when we settle somewhere, it will be a major downsize, maybe even a tiny house and we’ll need smaller/different furniture. In the meanwhile, the handful of items we are keeping are "on loan" with family and friends with an invitation to use our stuff for example our artwork is being displayed in my parents home and my favourite "womb chair" will be housed at my sister in law's architecture firm.
The infamous Eero Saarinen womb chair designed in 1946 for Florence Knoll
Q: Why didn’t you rent out the house and keep it as an investment?
A: Some have advised us that it is important to “stay in the market”. The bottom line for us was a decision we made early on to keep things simple. This continues to be our North Star for many decisions. With any house, there are the costs of owning a home, repairs and ongoing maintenance issues plus dealing with rental tenants was more than we wanted to manage.
We feel very lucky to have sold our house literally the week the market started to nosedive and we got exactly what we were hoping to and with exact perfect closing date. The universe totally had our backs on this one and we are extremely grateful.
We're not done yet but we are in the home stretch. We have two weeks to go and still have more stuff than we can fit into our two suitcases so more work to do. And we are also organizing Amelie sorting through what she needs for residence and what to store for the long term. Although this is not an easy process, we remain positive and excited as we embrace this as part of the process to living a lifestyle of more flexibility and freedom. With every item that leaves our home, we fill lighter and closer to our goal.