April 2, 2017

Stuff, And What To Do With It

By Steve W

We saw these playful foxes on a trip to San Juan Island, Washington in 2008.
We plan to see much more of America on our upcoming trip.

Once we decided to sell everything, including our house, in order to travel, we had to decide how to do it. We knew that there were certain things we wanted to keep, but after over 30 years of marriage and 17 years in this house, we had accumulated a lot of stuff. Aside from furnishing a 2,500 square foot house, we had a large yard where we entertained, with patio furniture, a gas barbeque, bars for serving, and lots of decorative items, like metal, ceramic and cement animal figures.

If were just moving from Point A to Point B, and had bought a house already, we would know what items would fit into the new house and yard and what kind of d├ęcor we would have. Anything we were unsure about, we could just take with us and deal with later.

But since our plan is to travel for a while before relocating and buying a new house, we needed to examine every item we owned to see if it passed the "stay or go" test. Some things were easy: for furniture, we knew that we would be keeping our Sleep Number bed and a couple of bronze coffee tables. There were guitars, some clothes, many books, and lots of artwork that we also knew we were keeping. After that, our rule was that anything either of us really wanted, we would keep. Everything else was optional.

As we were storing our items in a POD, everything we wanted to keep had to fit into it, so space was limited. So we set about parsing our other possessions, clothes, kitchen items and furniture. We were amazed at how much stuff we had, as it was all neatly stored away and out of sight in cabinets and cupboards or mostly out of the way in the backyard.

Packing took several weeks and finally everything we wanted went into the POD. Realizing that we still had some room, some additional "optional" items also were stored, and a few days later, the POD was picked up for storage.

Then came the planning for the "estate sale". For lawyers, an estate is what is left behind when someone dies, but the term is now used for large garage sales that include higher quality items. We contacted a company that organizes and handles these events, who came in and sorted all our possessions and priced them. Although we knew that these items would be sold relatively cheaply, psychologically it was a bit disconcerting to see the prices on things when we knew what we paid for them.

But since the goal was to get rid of as much as possible, we had to let go of those feelings and let the professionals do their thing. After all, anything not sold, we had to get rid of either by donating or putting into a dumpster. As of this writing, the estate sale is still going on, so we don’t know how successful it was, either financially or in terms of what is left for us to deal with.

But this is just one more step in the process of getting the house ready to sell so that we can start traveling right after escrow closes. Stay tuned!



  1. I'm so excited for the both of you that you are finally doing this! Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures - wishing you all the best.

  2. Steve & happy for you! Yes, it's a big 'shift' you've been through, but I'll bet you're already feeling much lighter. (John I traveled the USA for 3 years! Have safe & sweet travels...and thanks for posting now & then so we know how it's going. Enjoy!! xoxo, JoAnn Braheny


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