The 6 Big Lessons I Learned from Moving

9 years ago we decided it was time to make a move.  We had a cute little old house in a quiet neighborhood, but we were ready for a change, so we started the process to put our house on the market

I think about that little house with the dormers often.  All the hard-work, sweat, paint & memories of our first home.  It was a great place to start our family.  A great beginning.  And the decision to move was a good one, but the steps that it took to get the house ready to sell almost made me change my mind & decide to stay put.

We had two kids under 5 and an old fixer-upper.  It was a recipe for lots of late night sessions with a paint brush & a radio, as well as the decision to rent a storage unit to contain all the extra clutter that we couldn’t deal with at the time. 

The funny thing is that once we had cleared the house of clutter & wrapped up the projects, I had fallen in love with the house all over again. 

Everything had a place & cleaning up was so much easier.  There was room to breath & space to relax.  We had just enough to keep everyone happy and had taken away the extras that had continued to get in our way. 

Moving had offered me a chance to feel what it would be like to live with less, and I liked it. 

We sold the house & eventually had to deal with all of the extra stuff that we had squirreled away in the storage unit.  It was the perfect opportunity to decide how we wanted to live in our next house.  Moving gave us fresh perspective on what we wanted to surround ourselves with & how we wanted our space to feel. 

Here are the lessons I learned from moving –

living without things for a while makes the decision to let go much easier 

All of that stuff that we had sent to the storage unit ended up being things we really didn’t miss & we were able to let go of much easier when we went to unload the unit.  In this case, time apart made the heart grow less fonder.  And the idea of bringing those “extras” to our new space made us cringe, so we knew it was ok to let them go.

You don’t have to take it all with you

As we prepped our house to be put on the market, we had a yard sale to offload some of the things that we knew wouldn’t be going on the moving truck.  Moving takes work, so I kept this sale simple by pricing categories of things, not individual items.  Getting rid of stuff before we packed saved time & energy all around.

It’s ok to need a little time with decisions

Moving involves lots of decisions, so I needed to give myself permission to have some items that I was “on the fence about.”  Those items needed their own box so they wouldn’t get unpacked with everything else. If I had to do it all over again, I would label that box with the DATE & some words like RETHINK THESE or ITEMS TO DECIDE ON.  If I was still “on the fence” when I unpacked, then they probably weren’t favorites & could be given away.

Be choosy as you unpack

Unpacking offered another chance to check if the items getting put away were going to be used, needed, or loved.  It offered another chance to pare down and start fresh in the new space.  It was a great opportunity to get clear about the things we enjoy spending time on & the items that help us do that.

Don’t hold on to things for “just in case”

Often “just in case” items are the ones that get forgotten in the back of the closet & only surface after years in hiding.  We found those items in our extra bedroom closet or stored up in the rafters of our garage.  I began to realize that setting aside space in the new house for items that we never used would limit space for the things that we really used, needed & wanted.  Moving offered a great chance to look at all that extra stuff with fresh eyes & get honest about the likelihood that those “just in case” items would be needed.   

Set up your house to work for you Now!

The biggest lesson from the whole experience was not to wait to find places for our things.  We remembered how good it felt when our old house was pared down & everything had a place that made sense, so we made it a priority to make this happen in our new home.  We thought about how we wanted each space to function & best serve our family before we added the stuff that would be used in those spaces.   We wanted to create a new home that felt good, functioned well, and was easy to tidy up.  It didn’t happen overnight, but we went into our new house with this goal in mind.  

Your Turn…

Are you contemplating a move but feel overwhelmed by the thought of it?

Moving is a big job!  It’s not something that most people can do on the spur of the moment.  It usually takes planning, clearing, lots of packing and loads of decisions.  So how can you face this job without the overwhelm crippling you in the process?  Decide to take it step-by-step.   One thing at a time.

To get the process rolling, sign up for my FREE Tip Sheet on the 5 Spaces to Declutter to Sell. 

To find out more about the services I offer to ease the overwhelm of the moving process click HERE & together we will get your new home ready to support this new chapter in your life!


Take a Break! It’s Important!

I’m all for productivity, efficiency and just plain getting things done, but we all need time to recharge, reboot… restore.  And that’s all there is to it. 

We need breaks. 

Breaks offer us time for clarity & creativity.  They help us put things in perspective. 

When I’m pushing and striving, it can feel like the things I am doing are too important to step away from.  But too much of that pushing can result in overwhelm, disconnection, or fatigue. 

If I can catch myself before I hit that point and take time to relax & let go of the “what ifs,” then I am better able to come back and work with greater focus.  My brain has had some time to recharge & reassess.

And August can be the perfect time to go a little slower before Fall arrives.  It’s a great month to step away for those few moments of rest, peace, or creativity that can reset your drive & determination before you turn the page on summer.

Your Turn…

Are you frustrated & spinning your wheels as you juggle all of your expectations? 

Are you at the point of exhaustion?  Your productivity & drive are probably going downhill as you work to keep pushing yourself to get things done.  It sounds like it’s time for a break.

Next Steps…

A break can be little or big.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Take a walk outdoors
  • Schedule a massage
  • Turn off your phone for an extended period
  • Read a book that is “just for fun”
  • Take the day off and do something that feels “out of the ordinary”
  • Watch a video or show that makes you laugh
  • Treat yourself to coffee at a place you don’t usually frequent
  • Listen to an inspiring podcast
  • Take yourself on a little trip & leave your computer/iPad at home
  • Sit by a campfire
  • Stare into space – let yourself really zone out
  • Take 5 deep breaths

This month it is my intention to find simple ways to disconnect from the to-do list & plug into wonder & curiosity.  And I can’t wait to return to my projects with a new energy & perspective. 

Tell me how you reset, recharge or reboot when you feel your productivity going downhill.  I’d love to hear about it.

A New Bedroom Brings this Teen a Chance to Live with Less.

Each stage of life brings with it opportunities for evaluating & determining what still works and what have we outgrown.  My daughter Lydia put herself through a huge experiment in letting go as she moved her bedroom to the lower level and had to downsize all of her things to fit in a 6.6 x 14′ space.

It has been a true experiment with living with less.  So after 4 months in her new space, I decided to sit down with my 13 year-old to ask her what the experience has been like.

K- What was the motivation for clearing out?

L- I was moving to a smaller room and I wanted it to work for me and I knew that what I had couldn’t physically fit in that room.  It would also be mentally tough for me to have clutter everywhere I looked.  It’s hard to have too many different things to attract your eye.  The things are distracting & I can’t focus on one thing at a time.

Even though my old room was a bigger space, there were a lot of random things in random places and stuff I didn’t need but just kept.

K- Did you use any criteria to sort the things you were keeping vs. the things you were donating or discarding?

L- When I was sorting the school projects or things that people had given as gifts (things I didn’t really love, but things I thought I needed to keep because someone had given it to me as a gift), I did a lot of thinking about when I get older.  What things will I want to show my kids or grandkids?  What things are going to represent an important experience in my memory?  Those are the things I wanted to keep compared to the things I might not remember or weren’t a big deal.

K- How did it feel to let go of so much stuff?

L- It felt like a lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders because I didn’t have to worry when people came over if they would judge me about what I had in my room or those things that I had always looked at everyday and meant to get rid of because I knew I wasn’t using them.  It felt great to have a time to look at everything & get it all out & then not have it on my mind anymore.

K- How does your space feel or function differently now?

L- Because I have a smaller space I thought I would be out of my room (spending time) in our other bigger spaces, but I find I use my room more.  And not just for reading.  I have the things that I need in the spots where I can get to them easily so I can feel creative and work on things and get inspired by the stuff that would have been cluttered up or not recognized in my old room.

K- Do you miss the things you let go of?

L- At first it was different not seeing what I usually see and not being around as much stuff.  But after a bit I just forgot about those things.  I have everything I need or want because the other things that seemed nice at the time, just ended up piling up.

K- Did anything surprise you along the way?

L- I was surprised how easy it was to get rid of things.  I expected that a lot of stuff would be sentimental and I would have too much stuff  so it would take a while, but once I decided to get started then I just got it done.  I guess I was surprised that it went that quick.

K- What advice do you have for others who want to make a change?

L- They should go for it!  Don’t put off getting clear because it will make you happy when all of your stuff is gone. 

Just begin with something small and once you start, the rest will come quick and easy!

*responses were edited by Lydia

Have a story of letting go that you’d like to share?  Tell us about it!

What happens when your mantra is “let go to make room for more?”

Most of my work is around letting go of physical clutter.  The stuff in closets that hasn’t been touched in years, the piles of papers lining surfaces & the dusty boxes stacked in the basement. 

It’s a physical job & I can literally feel the weight of all of that letting go as we haul out the bags & boxes.  The clearing that we do is motivation for me to keep moving forward with the mantra that letting go opens room for more

And when I say “more,” I don’t mean more stuff, even though that can happen, what I mean is more of life, more opportunities, more of what you need & want. 

And I have been testing this theory out in my own life.  Letting go of physical clutter has opened room for creativity, efficiency, & calm- all good things, but I know that physical clutter is only one area where my life can get stagnant & stuck.  I have realized that it’s time to push forward and do some purging in other areas.  So these past months I have been taking steps to let go of the voice that says “I NEED TO DO IT ALL MYSELF.” 

Gasp!  Did I really say that???

Yes, it’s true.  I like to count on ME to make things happen.  And running my own business has caused, or I could say offered me the perfect opportunity to find out how well this idea serves me.

Being my own boss gives me a chance to try doing everything there is to do.  But I am finding that many things aren’t so easy.  Lots of things require additional learning- hours looking things up, trial & error, headaches & time spent griping or backtracking. 

The need to do it all myself has become a heavy weight.  I’m stuck in another type of clutter.  The clutter of stuck thinking patterns.

And the result of being stuck is less time & energy for the stuff that I really enjoy and are the best use of my talents & skills in this work.   I have funneled lots of energy, attention & brain-power into things that could easily be done by someone with more expertise & in much less time.

It has been a slow recognition, but now I am pushing myself to really look at taking some steps forward in a different way. 

I started with “the sort” – just as we do when we have physical clutter to let go of.  I began sifting through my daily work to find the things that bog me down & keep me stuck in place vs. the things that feel easy & don’t require massive time & learning in order to implement.  I had to look back at how many times I continued to hit a brick wall & recognize that those are the places that aren’t working on my own.

And then I began to look for people to take some of the work of doing it all off of my shoulders.  It has felt a little scary to be turn over control, to ask for help & show some vulnerability with my work, but the relief feels even better. 

And just days after I let go & released the grip of doing it all on my own, more fell in my lap!  New clients were in touch, new ideas came and new doors opened in areas that make sense with the trajectory of my business.  Letting go can offer so much more.  And slowly I am interjecting that mantra into more areas of life. 

Your Turn…

Do you suffer from a case of needing to do it all yourself?  Are you ready to lighten that heavy burden? 

Next Steps…

Asking for help & support can feel hard, but if you tiptoe in with people you trust & respect, it can feel a lot less scary.  Ask for referrals or look to a friend or family member so that you can practice with people who make you feel comfortable and understood.

I like to imagine that after we let go of physical clutter, the space gets to take a big exhale –  A deep breath of gratitude for the attention & release of that stagnant energy.  The same is true with deeply held patterns of thinking.  Release a little and lighter energy will be your reward.

If you have been stuck in an old pattern & are ready to let go, but want support then push submit  below & we can create a plan to make it happen.

A Profile in Letting GO- Kate shares her story

I like to think of the decluttering process as a journey.  A journey that can be started at any age or stage of life, but it seems to start with a nagging desire.

A desire to live with less, a desire to let go, a desire to get more clarity in order to turn attention toward a new priority.

I really only started on my journey after our family grew to 2 kids, 2 parents, a dog, and a house full of stuff! 

Stuff that it felt like we “had” to have

…because that’s what everyone said was needed to raise healthy kids

…because I didn’t set boundaries around gifts

…because I like a good sale

…because I was stuck in “just in case” thinking

I knew it was too much.  I knew that it felt out-of-alignment with my true nature- which believes that we don’t need to take more than we need from this earth or each other.  I knew I had to make some changes.  And the changes have taken courage, lots of it.

It takes courage to say you want to try a new route.  It takes courage to admit that you don’t have all the answers about living with less.  It takes courage to set up boundaries, to say no, to be choosy.  And it takes lots of courage to keep working at it when you fall back into old patterns.

I also had to realize that my journey is unique.  I can look to others for guidance, support, & inspiration, but the only person that can tell me what to keep & what to let go of, is me. 

The things that are important to me & what I want to surround myself with are going to be different from my neighbors or other friends & family,  & that’s ok.  I can let go of an idea that there is a magic number of items to pare down to or a right way.  Instead, I work to offer myself compassion, knowing that I will keep moving toward creating the spaces that feel good & support my family & I.

My journey is still in progress and I’m sure it will continue to be that way, so I’m learning to be ok with it.  I know it will get easier as habits get formed & some of my new ways of thinking/doing become second-nature.  I will trust the process.

I can still go to Target and get sucked in by a “good deal.”  I can still find myself packing our car full of snacks & supplies when we travel to appease that “just in case” part of my thinking.  I still have areas of clutter that haven’t been looked at yet, but I am offering myself compassion, because I’m taking baby steps forward on my journey.

Each shift, each act of letting go gets easier & brings me closer to my desire for simplicity & my beliefs about my place in this world.