One of the bigger challenges of moving from Texas to California 7 years ago was figuring out what do to with all of our stuff.
Each of our 3 bedrooms in our Texas home was fully furnished. There was baby furniture, an office, two dining sets (one in the kitchen, one formal) and a complete living room set with tables and lamps.
Granted, our furniture wasn’t luxurious. Most items were either bought off of Craigslist or given to us by friends and family… but it was still our stuff.
Here are some of the thoughts we had running through our minds at the time.
(1) We already owed a lot of money.
There wasn’t funds to move our stuff anywhere. Have you LOOKED into how much it costs to relocate? We’re talking thousands of dollars folks, and when you’re lucky to come out with $10 at the end of the month, your stuff ain’t going nowhere.
No funds also meant we couldn’t willy nilly re-buy furniture when we got to California either. Which made us want to keep what we already had… despite not being able to afford to move it.
(2) We were moving REALLY far away.
Our move wasn’t just across town (which isn’t necessarily easy). We were moving THREE states away, literally to where the land stops and the ocean starts 1600 miles away.
We couldn’t put our stuff in temporary storage and think about it for a little while. Or call up friends to borrow a truck and make a few trips in a weekend.
We had to be VERY selective about what we kept, and what we didn’t keep, and no matter how we looked at it, it seemed to become an all or nothing situation.
(3) We weren’t moving right away.
There would be a few months where we would be in a temporary living situation and no furniture was needed. And there wasn’t room for any anyway.
So whatever we did choose to keep had to sit… somewhere…until we were actually leaving. Which at the time, was still up in the air.
And now here we are in a similar situation 7 years later, with the only difference being that we’re moving twice as far!
In that first move, we ended up shipping roughly 20 boxes to California (snail mail for the cheapest rate), packed our two compact cars with as much as we could and sold everything else on Craigslist.
That seemed to work well for us, so we chose to do something similar this time too… except instead of selling everything, we gave it away.
Last weekend we put on a pot of coffee (three actually!), opened our doors to friends and neighbors and had an “open house” of sorts and except for a few items, gave it away on a first-come, first-serve basis.
(You can see the progression of a full table at the beginning of the day, and an empty room at the end, in these pictures.)
The week prior, we had gone through every closet, room and box consolidating the items that held sentimental value and those that brought joy (the Konmari de-cluttering method I followed this past summer). Everything else got moved to the living room.
We gave away Christmas decorations (with a tree), kids toys, lots of books, china, mason jars, pots and pans… all sorts of items that we had in the house. We even gave away big stuff like the sofa set, futon and dining room table (though we’re “borrowing” the table and futon until our last day, so the kids and I don’t have to eat and sleep on the floor).
We came to California with very little and knew only my dad and step-mom, yet within a week, friends and family had supplied us with an apartment full of furniture. They gave without asking for anything in return and blessed us in ways we didn’t even think was possible.
We wanted to do the same.
As of this writing, we’re down to just the items we intend on packing into a storage box. No doubt there will be more to give to the neighbors as we actually pack up boxes this weekend, but for the most part, everything we own can fit in a 10’ x 7’ x 7’ shipping container.
It’s a pretty strange feeling, to give away so many of the things you own. But it feels really good to be able to bless our friends this way.
In a world that seems to be measured by the house you live in, the cars you drive and the stuff you own, it feels REALLY good to be entirely thankful for what you have, yet not be bound or controlled by it.
The Crumbs family began a new chapter in November 2015, and I’m sharing the story as it unfolds every Friday here on the blog.
Here are the rest of the posts in this chapter:
- A New Chapter in Crumbs
- The Art of Selling Everything You Own
- Viewing Your Life in Terms of Boxes
- How to Live Minimally for Two Weeks
- Cross Country Road Trip – Part One
- Cross Country Road Trip – Part Two
PS – Many of you knew we were making big decisions and you’ve emailed to express your thoughts and prayers – can I just say thank you?! I am seriously BLOWN AWAY by your outpouring of love and kindness. You have absolutely NO idea how much it means to us – thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! Despite not being able to reply to them all, I read every single one of them, cherish the kind words and encouragement you are sharing, and I am sincerely thankful for every single one of you!
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