I completely underestimated what a huge undertaking moving would be.  We have lived in our current 4-bedroom, 3-bath home for 21 years.  We’ve raised three children from school-aged through college.  We’ve remodeled, repainted, redesigned and repurposed rooms many times.  We have acquired new tastes and hobbies and all their accouterments over two decades.  We have accumulated stuff.

The first step in moving was to get rid of some stuff.  I started with my closet.  Having gained and lost weight and finally settled at a maintainable size, it was time to let go of the extreme sized clothes on both ends of the spectrum.  Knowing I am retiring soon also allowed me to let go of a lot of career clothing.  Many bags of clothing headed to Goodwill.  My husband, Shawn, did the same on his side of the closet.

We cleared out our mini-storage and put the stored stuff in our garage so we could have everything in one place and get a better idea of how much stuff we really have.  The answer?  Too much stuff.

Next, we started going through other closets and cupboards in the house and decided we had enough excess stuff to warrant a garage sale.  Furniture, books, videos, lots of kitchen stuff, camping gear, holiday decorations, more clothing…we hoped this would bring in a few dollars.  Mid-December is not a popular time for garage sales, but we gave it a try anyway.  Luckily, we had a sunny morning and people were happy to be outside searching for bargains.  Most people were friendly and happy with their finds, but a couple of ladies took bargaining a little too far for my liking.  I priced a crystal salad bowl at $5, but these ladies wanted it for $1.  I ended up giving it to a nice lady for nothing.  It’s not always about the money.  We got rid of lots of stuff that day and made a few dollars.  The rest went to Goodwill, and a few larger items were listed for sale on Nextdoor.

It was fortuitous that we had our annual “bulky waste pickup” in December.  This allowed us to pile a lot of garage and yard detritus in the street for garbage hauling.  We also took bags and boxes of household toxins and e-waste to our city recycling center.   Yet we still needed to make a trip to the dump.

Now it was time to start really looking through the stuff and begin packing.  We’ve had a sturdy brown box marked “Camping” in our garage for years, yet we never open it each summer when it’s time for camping, so what could be in it?  Shoeboxes, each neatly labeled with the year.  And inside the shoeboxes?  Envelops filled with that year’s bills.  I know you’re supposed to keep important tax papers for seven years, but these were from the early 90s.  Let the shredding begin.

We are using PODS to move our stuff to Idaho.  Since we plan to put our California house up for sale in January, we ordered a POD for the first of the year so we could de-clutter and make our home look spacious, per our realtor Joey.  We planned to have a second POD delivered in March for the final move.  After the first POD arrived and we filled it, we knew we could not fit all our stuff into only two PODS.  Now we’re filling two PODS in January and another one in March.

I had grand plans to be very organized while packing boxes.  I wanted to strategically place things in boxes that belonged in the same room, closet, or cupboard in the new house.  That lasted for about two boxes.  Not wanting to make boxes too heavy, there was a lot of mixing and matching going on.  A box of books topped with a quilt.  A box with a bathroom light fixture, three quilting rulers, a gym bag and a stuffed bear.

Remember those shoeboxes in the camping box?  Well, it turns out that wasn’t the only place I had stashed old bills.  There were filled shoeboxes in the back of my closet, under my desk, in the linen cupboard, and the oldest box dating back to 1988 in my cedar chest.  Thank God I started scanning papers in 2012, and this will not be an issue moving forward.   Although it was kind of fun finding a paystub from my first job out of college.