Letting Go of Your Stuff

yard sale finds

Photo by Kim Piper Werker.

We gave up so much to move to Alaska. I’m not just talking about things. We sacrificed being near our family and our amazing church. I also lost some family members in the process. This move was about us, our family. This move helped define us as a married couple and as a family. We also gave up almost all of our stuff.

We sold all of our furniture, except for our sofa. I think I will send that off to college with my baby sister. We came to Alaska with 5 suitcases and I had 3 boxes shipped up. Essentially, we came with our clothing, Ava’s toys, my sewing machine, and my Pampered Chef stoneware (priorities, ya know!). We do have a few things in storage in Florida: Ava’s baby clothes, the bench I built as our guest book at our wedding, our Christmas decorations, my Kitchenaid stand mixer, and our cat. Okay, the cat isn’t exactly in storage. He’s at my brother’s house.

Take a moment and imagine selling everything you own. Some may see it as selling their memories. I’m not going to lie, it was extremely difficult.

I think the hardest thing to part with was Ava’s bedroom furniture. I spent so much time and energy setting up her nursery before she was born, I wanted it to be perfect. She was 10 months old when we sold it and she had never slept one night in that crib.

Now that we have moving to Texas, I know I’m going to have everyone saying “I told you so.” Everyone tried to tell me to put everything in storage “in case” we came back to Florida. Do I regret selling it all?  Not even for a second!

Selling all of our things was incredibly freeing. It made moving incredibly easy. It also allowed me to part with things that I didn’t love. You know, those things you feel obligated to keep for one reason or another. Everything except that stupid sofa. The one thing I couldn’t wait to get rid of is the only thing we haven’t sold.

Are you thinking about that room full of stuff yet? I’m giving you permission. Let it go! Don’t feel guilty. It will set you free. Lets break it down into a few simple steps.

  1. Survey you home. Take a look around, what do you see? Anything that you own that you do not love, or could repurpose and love, needs to go.
  2. Set up piles. When I was cleaning out our house, I set up my piles in different rooms. The guest room was the “storage” pile for anything that would be going into storage. Ava’s room was the “pack” and “has another home” pile. You would not believe how much stuff we had borrowed or was on long-term loan from someone. The rest of the house was the sell pile. If you’re not moving, you could do something on a slightly smaller scale.
  3. Touch everything!  Take the time to look at every item you own.  This may be very time-consuming, but oh so worth it.   You will probably find things you hadn’t seen in years.
  4. Make a decision!  As you are going through everything, make a decision whether to keep it, sell it, trash it, or return to its owner.  This will help move the process along while also keeping you from having an “undecided pile.”
  5. Sell, Sell, Sell!  Begin by listing any large or valuable items in your sell pile on Craigslist or EBay.  If you aren’t sure where to price your items, look up what others are selling similar items at.  You can also check completed listings on EBay.  Everything else will need to be sold at a yard sale.  You may be tempted to just donate everything, and you can, but you are missing out on possibly thousands of dollars.
  6. Set up your yard sale.  There is actually an art to having a successful yard sale and I could go on all day, but I will save that for another post.
  7. Set your limits.  For your larger and more valuable items, set your prices comparable to what others are selling for.  If you price your items too high, no one will call.  I had originally priced our bedroom set at $950 with my threshold at $600.  I didn’t get what I wanted immediately.  We put it in storage and I listed it on EBay with a Buy it Now or Best Offer.  I received a lot of lowball offers.  I eventually received a $650 offer that I was happy with.  It took me 4 months to sell it, but it was worth it.
  8. Don’t store the extras.  My mom is notorious for this one.  After your yard sale, don’t stack everything in your garage with the plans to have another sale in a few months.  Unless you’re going to have another sale the following weekend, it all needs to go.  You have two options: you can donate everything, or you can post for pick up on Craigslist.  After our sale, I piled everything that didn’t sell into the center of our garage floor, about a truck full.  I posted on Craigslist that I had yard sale leftovers.  Within 2 minutes I was bombarded with phone calls.  I had about 20 people willing to pick up everything right then.  One warning: only post this when you are ready for them to pick the stuff up.  A couple came and picked up everything and my garage was clean.  Success!
  9. Be a non-consumer.  You now have a clean and organized house, don’t ruin it!  Don’t buy things just to buy.  Try buying at thrift stores.  Not only will you save a ton of money, you will be more deliberate with your purchases.  I have a running list on my phone of things I am looking for (It’s an essential list for setting up a house).  I will share my list with you soon.

I hope this helps you clear your clutter and live a little simpler.  If you need more specific advice, I am more than happy to share.

Have you ever done a mass clean out?


We Made It

We made it to Houston! We’ve actually been here for over a week now, but things have been crazy. Tony has been transitioning to his new work location, we’ve been looking for a car (ugh), I’ve had a few orders come in, and Ava has been spending lots of time playing outside.

Our flight here was a very, very, verrrryyyy long 18 hours. I am going to take a second to brag on our daughter. Ava is a champ when it comes to flying. We had 3 flights with 2 layovers and this girl was AWESOME! For both of the first two flights, she didn’t say a word. She did flirt with the US Air Marshall that sat next to us on the second flight (Tony notices EVERYTHING). Ava loves to fly! Our last flight was a quick commuter flight from Dallas to Houston. The entire flight was only about 45 minutes long. Every time the plane dropped altitude, Ava would say, “Weeeeeeeee.” I love that girl!

Toddler at Airport

Ava in Airport

We normally fly Delta, but we took United this time because their tickets were less than half the price of Delta’s. The United flights were fine, but they almost saw the bad side of me when Ava’s car seat didn’t show up with the rest of our luggage. We had to send someone to look for it. They never took it off our last flight. It almost went to Pensacola.

We are thoroughly enjoying the weather in Houston! It has been very mild thanks to a few cold fronts. Ava loves running in the yard. It’s so nice to send her outside in sandals and shorts and not a snow suit and boots.

We are still getting settled. I have a lot of updating to do on the blog. I may have to take the computer outside. Who wants to be cooped up inside with beautiful weather like this!




Baked Maple Pears

I’m still posting from my phone, which I absolutely hate. Although, I am thankful that I have the ability to post from my phone. Here’s an interesting fact: If you purchased your computer after 2008 (which I’m sure you did), it did not come with that handy little factory reset disk. You now have to call the manufacturer (Dell in our case) and PAY for it. Anyway…

We are trying to eat up all of our food before we fly out next week. Last week I bought my usual 4 pears that I buy every week. They are normally soft, juicy, and oh so sweet. Not so much for these 4. They are too firm and not very sweet. Not my idea of our usual afternoon snack.

So for breakfast, I thought I would bake one of my pears in some maple syrup. OH. MY. GOODNESS. So sweet and creamy. I can’t even begin to explain how good they were. And! They are super easy to make.

Baked Maple Pears


    1 or 2 Pears, quartered and the core removed.

    1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla

    1 Tablespoon Butter (don’t even think about using margarine)

    1/4 Cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff, it should only have one ingredient)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (F).
In a baking dish, pour the vanilla and coat the pear quarters.
Pour the maple syrup over the pears and top each quarter with a small piece of butter.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
15 minutes into the cooking time, baste the pears with the maple syrup and return to the oven.
After the 30 minutes, remove the foil and baste again. Return the pears to the oven uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
The sauce will thicken. Remove from the oven and serve.

These pears are great on their own but would be amazing with some vanilla ice cream.

If Ava doesn’t wake up soon, I’m going to eat her piece. =)

Change of Plans

Sorry for the lack of posts since our announcement. Our computer got a virus and we haven’t taken it in to get it fixed yet. In the meantime, I’ll be posting from my phone (boo).

Photo by: Kuster & Wildhaber Photography

So we’ve had a slight change in plans. We are still going to Houston, but we will not be driving. After thinking about it, Tony and I decided that it was a suicide mission trying to drive the 4300 miles from Alaska to Texas with a toddler. It’s also much less expensive to fly.

Although it’s much less expensive, it’s a little more complicated. Flying means that we have to sell our truck. This makes me sad. I love our truck. It’s a used (but well taken care of) Land Rover Freelander. I love this truck more than any other vehicle I’ve ever owned. I’m slightly heartbroken.

When we decided to sell it, we had just over two weeks before our take off date. I wasn’t sure we would find a buyer. Well, we had lots of interest and we have a buyer. It’s someone we know and they have been nice enough to wait until right before we leave to do the paperwork. Perfect timing! Now we have to go car shopping in Houston. I hate car shopping.

We are all set to fly out on the 15th. We are just a week out. I’m not going to lie, I’m totally dreaming of 80 degrees and lots of humidity. Poor Ava’s skin is so dry.

I was hoping to eliminate one of our suitcases, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. My uncle is coming to Anchorage the day before we leave and has volunteered to take one of our suitcases back to Florida for us. TSA may or may not wonder why my uncle has a child’s size grocery cart in his suitcase.

That leaves us with 4 suitcases. That’s not bad considering we came up here with 5, plus we shipped a few things, and the stuff we bought in the past 6 months. We’re actually going to Texas with less stuff than we came to Alaska with. That’s always nice.

Now I just have to keep the four suitcases under 50 pounds each. Do you have any tips for that?