Journey …

Under Contract sign in front of a house

Since mid-January, I have pretty much been absent from WordPress, apart from a number of pre-scheduled posts in February and the One Photo Focus posts. I’ve seen all of your wonderful comments (albeit not in a timely manner), but haven’t had a second to sit down and respond. That has weighed so heavily on my mind. But I also know that each of you has points in your blogging cycles where real life kicks in and all the things you love to do go by the wayside.  That’s what has happened to me these past three months. Why? Because my husband and I are now empty-nesters; our youngest of three began her first year in college on the opposite coast, and we decided it was time to sell our home of 20 years, downsize, and move into the city.

And so began our journey of decluttering (which really is a euphemism for getting rid of all the truly needless crap accumulated over the years) and preparing our house for sale. Here are a few (pretty crappy) photos I shot with my iPhone in the midst of the madness:

IN PROCESS

I have never done anything so physically and emotionally demanding in my life. Every single day from the time we began has been devoted to this house, as well as finding a place to move to. I worked with a phenomenal stager (a necessity in our area to sell quickly) and I have become intimately familiar with our local dump, a number of new local charities, a mobile shredding company, and a wonderful crew of workmen who spent four weeks in our home helping us transform it into something that would photograph beautifully for the internet.

In the end, all the angst, hard work, sore muscles, and emotional fatigue were worth it. The house showed beautifully and we had an offer on the second day and a ratified contract two days later! Here are just a few after shots (all photos credited to BTW images). Gotta love the wide-angle lens!

AFTER

Is the work done? I wish. Now I’m dealing with what to do with all that’s left in the house that won’t fit into our much smaller apartment with 1/4 of the number of closets we currently have. And then there are the logistics of the move itself. So the weeks continue to be jam packed, though I can now say I’m finally beginning to see a smidgen of light at the end of the tunnel.

Lessons learned these past months? Many. But the biggest one is this: stop accumulating “stuff.” We truly do become a slave to our possessions and I have to say that the idea of moving ahead with a much lighter and smaller load will be wonderfully freeing. And if any of you are thinking of moving in the near future, start decluttering NOW when you don’t have to. You’ll thank me in the end 😀

67 thoughts on “Journey …

  1. My husband and I just did the same thing. After 15 years in our house, we downsized and moved into our new home in December. We’re still figuring out where to put things even after getting rid of truckful’s of junk we had accumulated. It was stressful and exhausting but we’re glad we made the move.

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    • Good for you, Maralee! I know I, too, am going to have a puzzle to solve in where to put things since storage was plentiful here and far from plentiful there. Oh, well, creativity to the rescue, right? So glad you’ve made it to the other “side”!

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  2. Your previous home was beautiful & I’m sure your new home will be, too. We’ve been empty nesters for many years now & it certainly has it perks. As all changes do — it required an adjustment. I agree with you about not having so much stuff. I’m still working on what to keep & what to get rid of since we moved. I’m a sentimental fool; so it’s hard for me to let go of some things. I’m working on it. Good luck with finishing up. 😉

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    • Thanks, Linda 🙂 I had to laugh at myself the other day – I found an old three-ring binder with papers that I had written in high school and college (and a few from before that)! I actually spent some time looking through it all, but then tossed it all out. I did feel as if I was saying goodbye to a part of me that is now gone forever, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Making way for new memories 🙂

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  3. Congratulations Stacy, your house looks beautiful, up you must be exhausted! Wise words on the decluttering, maybe I’ll start now, or perhaps tomorrow! 😉 good luck with the move into the city, sounds like good photo fodder! 🙂

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  4. Hi, Stacy: Congratulations again on the sale! As others have already commented, the “After” pictures show why it went so quickly. It really looked exceptional. Hope the next phases go smoothly and we look forward to your return to the blogoshere.

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    • Thanks, Robin! The house has never looked so good 🙂 The old “why-didn’t-we-do-this-years-ago” lament has passed our lips many times, but at least our timeline allows us to enjoy some time in its newfound state!

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  5. Oh my, I wish I’d read this post a few months ago. We just moved house, Stacy. I could not believe what was in cupboards, drawers, wardrobes, boxes, etc. However, decluttering certainly did help as we felt such a huge sense of relief after the last of it went. Needless to say that with a fresh start in our new home we won’t be cluttering it up again. ( I wonder if those are famous last words?)

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  6. Stacy, what a lot of hard work! Your house is gorgeous with all that wood, large windows, pretty vistas and space. I’m sorry to hear that it has been such a grueling process.

    It must be exciting to be starting a new chapter. I hope that when the dust settles, you’re happy with your new, albeit smaller, abode. It’s amazing how little we really need and how freeing it is to be rid of excess baggage.

    Congratulations on the quick turnaround. That in itself must feel like a huge weight lifted.

    I’m so glad you checked in. Thanks for sharing the photos as well. I hope you’re back on the street with your camera soon. Big hugs.

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    • Thanks so much, Alys! I have totally been amazed by how everything that was required to get this house ready and all that we needed to do with finding and settling on a new place has fallen into place. It’s almost eerie. I truly believe God’s hand is all over this and that the speed with which everything is happening and our ultimate move is part of a bigger plan. So despite all the trials and tribulations of these past months, I also know we are doing the right thing. Does that make sense? Anyway, thank you for stopping in and saying “hi.” You always make my heart smile 🙂

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  7. Congratulations, Stacy! I just went through a similar process. Exhausting and emotionally depleting, yet totally exhilarating and freeing! Now you can look on the bright side and enjoy a new chapter. 👏🏻

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  8. Wow, such a tremendous job, and good advice (but will any of us take it? lol) we used to move every 12 months or so, so it was easy to keep the clutter down. Then we had kids and settled, 10 years in the first house and 15 in this one……….I think they can carry me out in a cardboard box, as the thought of de cluttering this place gives me a panic attack lol. I hope your next transition is a little easier into the new place!

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    • I know that panicked feeling all to well, Julz 😀 I definitely think (or at least hope) the worst is over. My big sister is arriving Tuesday for 2-1/2 weeks to help me in getting rid of what’s still left – that’s such a blessing to have her help and really has reduced my stress level to something manageable!

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  9. What a gorgeous place! I hope you come to enjoy your new one as much–and you have no idea what a favor you’re doing your children!!!! As someone who never upsized, I still find I do a clear-out each year, just to keep the spaces open. Good luck as you continue!!!

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  10. HI Stacy, wow you have been busy, like you life has been all consuming and very little photography has been happening. A couple of years ago we decluttered everything we didn’t need, then packed everything else into storage and spent a year travelling, I so understand what it is like to “declutter” and pack! You will eventually get through all of this, and then have even more time for photography because you won’t have the upkeep in a smaller place that you have in your current home.
    It must be a great relief to have the house sold so quickly, good luck with the move, and I look forward to reading more about your adventures as you post them. take care

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    • Thanks so much, Janice! Yup, you definitely do know what I’m talking about 🙂 I’m so looking forward to getting back in touch with my camera. It’s been rather sad and forlorn lately. I sure hope I remember how to use it once I pick it back up 😉

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  11. What an upheaval !! It will be wonderful to feel much lighter. I’m constantly trying to de-clutter, but the results are very progressive! My latest thing is a paper shredder … which is incredibly satisfying!!

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  12. Stacy!!Congrats on the quick sale. The place you sold looks beautiful. I can see why it got snapped up and can also understand how hard it is to move on to another phase in your life.
    We are facing our own downsizing when we put the contents of our 2 homes in storage, ready for rental and move to our boat for full time cruising! I am dreading the clean up and sorting through what we get rid of as once retired we probably will never live again in 2 places. Like it is for you, I think it will be emotional but also quite liberating. And yes, we are de-cluttering already… 18 months ahead of time!
    Enjoy the next adventure😊

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  13. Congrats on the quick sale of your house – what great validation of all your hard work! The gentleman in charge of moving us back in December shared with me a household will accumulate 1,000lb of “stuff” a year. Sadly I believe it as we arrived in Canada 5 years ago with 1,500lb of air-freight and 8 suitcases yet when we moved we had the biggest truck. And this was AFTER culling and selling for the previous six months also. I’m not even going to mention the fact that at that stage we still had an ENTIRE house in storage in Australia which was consequently culled by 4/5’s when we back there in March. Over time I’m finding for me that less is really becoming the new more!😄

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    • Oh, wow, Joanne, those statistics and all your numbers are simply staggering! So you know exactly what I speak of. I do so love what you said: “less is really becoming the new more.” I think we all need to hang a sign up with that in each of our homes as a good reminder 😀

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  14. I need a lie-down just reading through this! Well done Stacy on getting through so much, your hard work has paid off handsomely and now on to new ventures. Sometimes the hardest part of it all is making the decision to move, the thought of what to do with the years accumulation of stuff is overwhelming but you take all the good memories with you wherever you go. You have fun making new ones!

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    • Thanks, Patti 🙂 I’m so looking forward to making fun new memories. I can’t wait to be sitting on our little terrace, drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, or walking out the building and into the grounds of the National Zoo, or simply prowling the neighborhood with my very neglected camera!

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  15. It sounds like you have been through a lot with this move. Your house that you sold looks gorgeous and open. I can see why it sold almost instantly. Congrats by the way. 😀 😀

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    • Thanks, Cee! In a way, I’m glad the decluttering/staging/selling was on such a fast track – a wise friend told me that had I had more time, I would have simply continued to clean and fret and find things that I thought needed more work. This way, I had to work fast and furiously but it was (luckily) over quickly! Our new “clean and uncluttered” look is definitely coming with us to the new place 🙂

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  16. Your hard work payed off m’dear! It looks fabulous and congratulations on the quick sale. You did the right thing having it spruced up and staged correctly. I do feel your pain as we sold two places, downsized and remodeled our new house all within two years. And yes, real life happens! I know what you mean though as I worry about not responding enough but we really shouldn’t worry about that. We know people do the best they can and I’m sure I’m in the majority when I say we all know that you will respond when you can. I did have a chuckle at the shredder truck LOL.

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  17. Moving into the RV really showed me how much stuff we had. And it’s all so needless, really. I’m so glad you sold quickly and can move forward.

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  18. WOW STACY~I so easily can see why the lack of photography and posts now. This had to be absolutely maddening and overwhelming for the past 6 months or nearly, as I am sure planning did not just happen Jan. 1st. and Poof! I am sure it has been and will continue to be a nerve strain until the very last thing is done and you can breath a deep sigh of relief and start your new life in earnest, all good things take time. Wishing you well and looking forward to a new stable and settled life for you all …………..
    Mitch

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  19. Wow, your former home is beautiful. I can see why it sold so fast.

    I’ve been an apartment dweller for most of my life and I can say that the de-cluttering never stops. When I made my last move, I got rid of so much junk that I didn’t have when I moved into the prior apartment. I try to make annual trips to Goodwill or one of the thrift stores in the area to keep the “stuff” down to a minimum.

    Have you considered renting a storage unit for the items that you absolutely cannot do without?

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    • I’m truly hoping this experience will make me think twice before adding anything new to the mix (and deciding not to)! As for a storage unit, yes, we will have one, mostly for Christmas decorations and out-of-season clothes, though there will be a few pieces of that not-yet-quite-ready-to-let-go furniture 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment and suggestions!

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