The closing date on the sale of our house in Massachusetts was September 1st which gave us three months to plan, pack, leave our jobs, visit our favorite haunts, attend going away parties and say goodbye to loved ones. It was one of the most beautiful, sad, difficult and exciting periods of our lives. It seemed to last forever and fly by at the same time!
Since we didn’t have a home to move to, I reserved an apartment in the Chattanooga area via AirBnb for one month, with the option to stay longer if necessary. I also rented a U-Pack trailer (you only pay for the footage you use) and began packing items we knew we wanted to keep, but wouldn’t need access to for a couple of months.
Part of our plan is to live a simpler, less cluttered life so we sold, trashed or gave away approximately two-thirds of everything we owned. Some items were obvious (we wouldn’t need the snow-blower), but some household items required more consideration. Was it worthwhile to take up (and pay for) space in the U-Pack trailer for a bookcase or simply buy one at Goodwill when we get there? And if it was worthwhile, do we really need seven of them? And if it wasn’t, then we should we find new homes for some of the books too. This brought us into dangerous sentimental territory. We literally handled every book, letter, knick-knack, souvenir, etc. and asked ourselves when we had last looked at it, how often we thought we might look at it again in the future and most importantly, did it give us deep meaning or joy? In other words, would we really, actually miss it if it were gone? The patrons of our town dump’s “swap shop” benefitted greatly from our decisions! In the end we used only 16 linear feet of space in the trailer. On the day of the closing, it was picked up and shipped to Chattanooga to be stored while we searched for a home.
***Sidenote – While unpacking in our new home we discovered that we could have simplified even further (“What is this? Oh, right, I forgot I kept that.” If we had forgotten that we packed it, then we probably didn’t need to keep it). The only item we missed is the extension ladder that we accidentally left behind.
The items we knew we wanted to keep with us (guitars, paintings, clothing for a couple of weeks, etc.) we packed in a U-Haul trailer and along with our houseplants and Elf in the back of our SUV, we headed South.
It took us five days to get to our apartment, stopping to visit family & friends along the way. It also took a lot of ibuprofen since Elf screamed almost non-stop for 1500 miles. (she’s so adorable!) We finally got to what we thought would be the easy part – finding the perfect home. We were so naive! More on that in Part 3.