Moving Update: This Isn’t for Sissies

I’m laying with a heating pad on my back and wondering if 3:30 is too early for a glass of wine 😉  Every muscle in my body hurts and I haven’t lifted anything heavier than an empty box for days. We’ve been packing nonstop for weeks and I’ve been getting more stressed by the day.

There have been moments of levity which always keep things fun. I howled when my husband covered our couch cushions to keep them clean during the move. For a week we sat on black plastic bags which kept sliding off the couch and making the rudest noises when we sat down.creative packing on A Well Styled Life

Our storage container arrived last Friday and was shoehorned onto our driveway. We thought it looked huge but managed to fill it and still have a lot of stuff left in our garage. One of us has a hard time tossing things out. Pack-Rat storage container on A Well Styled Life The name on the side of the container might give you a small indication of who. I’ve been calling my husband a packrat for the last few weeks. He packed everything and decided he’d declutter when we unpack. I’d rather toss out now and move less junk but each to his own.Moving boxes on A Well Styled Life

I number each box and keep a detailed list of what’s inside. That way we can reuse the boxes without crossing out tons of words…been there, done that before.emptying our house

Sunday we hired 2 young professional packers to load the container. The more things that left the house the lighter and freer I felt. At this point, I don’t care if I ever see 3/4 of that stuff again. I’ve collected many things throughout my life but what’s most important for me to collect now are memories. People and memories are priceless, things are just stuff.Moving Isn't for Sissies

We’ve still got lots to do before our house hits the market and things are getting pretty crazy around here. We’ll decide later if we unpack that container or live sparsely while we rent and explore where we want to buy.

Is your husband a pack rat? Are you?

Thanks for reading ladies and have a great day!



  1. Went from 5 thousand sq ft to 2200. Just the two of us. I thought I might die packing.
    I gave 3 bedroom sets to family. Sold some couches and patio furniture/antiques/artwork to friends and sent some stuff to consignment and tons to Goodwill. It has been several years now and honestly I don’t miss anything however the stuff is starting to crowd in again. A good yearly purge helps.
    Good luck with the move. Renting is a good idea for a bit
    We moved to our vacation home. We already loved the area. But now it is getting crowded here and the search is on for the next move. 🙂

    1. We have been kicking “me” in the butt for selling our vacation home 9 years ago but it didn’t make sense then and doesn’t now so we continue to look. I feel so free every time I donate things.

  2. retro-roost says:

    Gosh, hoping your back feels better soon. Good job on hiring two strong men to move the boxes for you. We moved twice in one year — first our rental, then our purchased home. It will all be worth it when you sell, and get resettled. Remember to check out the central coast and valley. It’s beautiful out here, and not as expensive as the Bay Area.

    1. Where do you recommend in the central coast? We are totally open. Having this container leave makes me feel we could easily move anywhere.

  3. Vis a vis wine at 3:30 p.m., it is 5:00 somewhere so go for it!

  4. Good morning, Jennifer. We’re doing the same thing up here in Olympia. So exhausting and physically painful ????! I’m being ruthless as I go through stuff. Our move to this house 7 years ago just about did me in (and I was still in my 50’s~so young ????) so I definitely don’t wanna take as much “stuff” with us. You’re so right, it’s all about the memories and spending time with the ones we love and care about. And I’m past the point of needing or wanting tangible items to commemorate every event. Hang in there. Apparently many of us are going through this together and remember it’s never too early to put on yer jammies when you’re exhausted and hurting! ????

    1. I totally agree it’s all about the memories and not the stuff!! Good luck Val xo

  5. W e. Have a bigger house near Seattle wa, lived there 30 years, and a small house in palm desert for the winter months which we bought a year ago. Just came back to Seattle and couldn’t believe the clutter in the garage, the bedroom, the storage room, oh my goodness. Where did all this stuff come from. It’s overwhelming. I need help lol.
    Love your method of packing w/ list/no. Feel better soon.

    1. It sounds like you have planned your locations beautifully!! We loved Palm Dessert. Clutter chokes the life out of any location because it’s oppressive. Thanks for sharing:) We will be looking back in Palm Springs.

  6. Yes, my husband is a packrat, and sadly, I am becoming one as well. Not good for a couple who want to downsize when I retire in just a few years!

    However, for all his “packrattiness,” he manages to come up with exactly what we need when we need it, after a short trip to the basement to rummage around! Also in his defense, he has for months been clearing out boxes of old magazines and other treasures we now wonder why we kept in the first place.

    1. Good for him! I don’t think our clutter has produced anything but dust for the last 30 years.

  7. Judy Bollman says:

    My husband is a huge pack rat so I feel for you. I pity our children if I pass away first. I have to sneak things into the trash. (which I do all of the time haha)

  8. We decided to move back to CA from WA a couple years ago…..and knew we would be downsizing a LOT. We ended up going from a 3600 sf house with tons of storage to a 1600 sf townhome with little storage. All our furniture was included in the sell of our house. Old furniture never seems to fit a new place….and at that time we didn’t know where we would “land”. We had so much “stuff” accumulated because we apparently were trying to fill up all the storage space we had. We have become pretty much minimalists by necessity, and guess what? I don’t miss anything that we didn’t take with us! That was a hard move for us….from beginning to end. And when it comes to moving, it is NEVER too early for a glass of wine! Good luck….can’t wait to hear how you like your new place.

    1. Thanks Cindy…I will have that glass of wine and toss a few more things into the donate pile!

  9. Not moving, but trying to pretend I am 🙂 Three huge trash sacks from stuff in my closet are waiting to go to Goodwill – and I can’t even remember what I put into them! Suspect I could make another sweep of the closet. Good luck!

    1. I love how you think. I will be doing that on a regular basis from now on!!

  10. I feel for you. All this is before me. Our new build is at the tile laying and painting stage and I have started to pack up books to donate that I don’t want to read again. We have been in our temporary house for two years and have TWO storage sheds full of STUFF. Some things I have missed, some are seasonal or sporting, but there is a huge amount that I really haven’t thought about or needed to access during this time. Will they be delightful old friends or will they have lost their magical hold on me and be sent off to charity?

  11. L H Carter says:

    I moved in January. It was a brain and heart twister—17 years of stuff had to be downsized. Aaaauuugh! So I feel you, Sister!

  12. I have the same type of problem here with my husband keeping everything he can. I think hisbpavkratcsyndrome was inherited.

    You are so smart to get out of your house then sell it. This gave you time to gather things and go.please rest and allow your muscles to recover if possible then take it one room at a time to unpack.

    You got this!????

  13. It sounds like your husband needs the Marie Kondo book.
    My mother was a packrat. It took two years to empty her house.

  14. Holly Rigby says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    As always, love your blog posts. My husband and I are both pack rats. (!)Hurricane Harvey did a lot of our tossing out for us. We still have 40 boxes left to unpack in our brand new house…your wardrobe tips have helped me streamline my wardrobe. Good luck with the a former career Army wife and now flood survivor, moving is never easy, even by choice..keep the wine comin’ it will all be worth it!
    Holly in Houston

    1. Sorry you lost things in the Hurricane. That was beastly. Moving sounded more fun when we started and I hope we’re happy after!!

  15. Oh gosh, moving is probably the WORST. It was hard enough to pack up 20+ years’ worth of stuff just from our kitchen and bathroom prior to the renovation. I dread the thought of ever having to move out of this house. Yes, my Monsieur is a bit of a packrat too. I’ve been very judicious about what I’m bringing back into the kitchen from storage in the garage, and it’s so wonderful to live with less and only have around what we actually USE.

    1. I aspire to that Susan. Gone are the days when I want to keep something just in case!!

  16. Good luck:) hope to see you settled in this area soon. A lot of the garages around me are still storing moving boxes, so you won’t be alone, they never got around to emptying all of them, because they downsized to a smaller house. I sold a lot of my things before I moved, bought some new things that fit better when I got here. Rest up, it all works out.

    1. Thanks Eileen. I’m sure our garage will be packed for a long time!!

  17. Myself Heather says:

    I moved last May and I’m still wondering what happened to some things I can’t find. I loved your numbering boxes method. I’m afraid I was the packrat, but have been liberating myself by periodical cleaning out of specific things. It’s very freeing . Love your post, i’m beyond 50 more like 70, but there are no post out there for us, but yours suits me to a T.

  18. I feel your pain! I helped my Daughter pack her house last week. Yesterday we unpacked her kitchen in the new house
    on a tile floor for 6 hours. My feet hurt and back hurt so bad. I was ready for bed by 7:30.

    1. Ouch!! We have a hard floor too and it’s brutal…never again

  19. I love the numbering and contents system that you’re using, present tense! I’m sure you’ll be relieved to have this finished. Always enjoy your blog. ☕️ Sheila

    1. I can’t wait!! I’ve used this system several times and it great to know which exact box to unpack when hunting for something.

      1. I can’t help but assume that your lists that correspond to the numbered boxes is on a computerized, searchable program like Word or Excel. That would be the only way I could possibly find anything in a numbered box! I numbered boxes that I put in an attic at another house but didn’t record the contents on a computerized document. It was a challenge, to say the least, to find things in my handwritten lists (my handwriting is legible enough)! I entitled the listing “Where is it?” LOL

      2. No it’s just a handwritten list that I photograph with my phone in case I lose the list;)

  20. I didn’t realize you were moving. Are you shifting to a new home and somewhere different? Either way, moving house is a pain as my husband is a hoarder and hates chucking anything away.

    1. We’re planning to rent in a new location and try it out before we buy.

  21. Yes, my husband is a pack rat, and no, I am not. Over the years, he has parted with more ‘stuff’, but he still has a ton of stuff that I would part with in a heartbeat. Whenever I suggest working on the junk in our storage room, he agrees, but there is never a “good time”. He saw what happened when his mom moved to assisted living and vowed not to have that volume of stuff, but so far nada. I occasionally donate things I know he won’t notice (and he doesn’t), and I’ve learned to contain his stuff in a couple areas of the house so I don’t live with clutter. But he knows our kids don’t want most of it. Oy.

    Good luck with the move. And keep the wine cold. 🙂

    1. Laurel, I think I’m married to your husband’s twin! Mine doesn’t want to part with anything either. He has filled up our garage, a storage building in our woods, and his mancave. He never met a box he wanted to part with. I have been known to load my car with boxes and drive to recycling while he was still asleep! I am a neat and orderly person who can’t stand mess! Jennifer, 3:30 your time is cocktail hour here on the East Coast so go ahead and have that wine!

      1. I did! It helped the Advil work better. I need to do what you do. I want a clutter free zone.

      2. Roxane, it sounds like it ! I feel your pain. My husband moved cross country when we got married and the moving company lost several of his boxes. He was never able to identify what was in them. For years he would randomly suggest something he couldn’t find must have been in one of those boxes. Of course, sometimes it turned up in his ‘stuff’ later. But he really has no idea what he lost. That would be a lesson to me, but apparently not. lol

    2. My kids have told us they don’t want it. I’ll keep chipping away at it because I hate clutter too.

  22. We are going to be doing what you’re doing starting in June. We are making the big move and right now I’m looking forward to it and we’re going slowly.

  23. I have moved my parents twice in the last 4 years and wish I had your number system its a good idea. We are starting now to unload our stuff so my kids don’t have to go thru what I did with my parents!!

    1. I’m going to continue to unload and declutter. It feels so freeing! Good to start early.

  24. Oh my YES….my husband WILL NOT throw anything away! Me? I’m OCD so you’re beginning to get a good picture of what our life is like! Ha! We’ve been married coming up on 56 years so guess we’ve managed pretty well. Good luck on your move. We have moved so many times I’ve lost count and with each move I’ve said ‘NEVER AGAIN’. They say….never say never. I guess that’s true!

    1. You’re probably more patient than I am. It’s so frustration to have all this junk. Life fees easier with less stuff.

      1. We moved a year ago and I got rid of so much junk – my husband did not! And on top of our stuff, we acquired his mother’s storage unit possessions when she passed away . So I feel like we are back where we started with stuff! Oh well, the good news is I’m closer to some of my kids and grandkids!! Good luck with your move!

      2. Oh, Betty, I feel your pain. I have a new appreciation for clearing clutter and purging. Good luck and I can only recommend being brutal about it.

  25. Oh bless your heart! I have moved many times but here I’ve lived the longest, 12 years! Its tough but keep thinking of the outcome. I wanted to thank you for the ways you teach us to be stylish, I went in TJMaxx Saturday and found a great white blouse. At first look it was ok and then you look at the back and it has a cute “tail”? It separates and the whole blouse is long enough and the best part? It fits! I’m getting ready to retire, do some traveling, spend time with my family and friends but I don’t want to be in t-shirts and jeans all the time. Thank you for sharing your life with us and showing us how to be stylish!

    1. Your comment made my morning! Thanks for sharing. I’m so happy I’ve inspired you.

  26. I moved about a year ago- my advice – burn the house down! It was miserable. I had a well-worn path to the Goodwill drop off. I decided after I was in my new place that if I didn’t use, wear, etc. something in the following year, it was going. A year is up and I better get busy! BTW I have a friend that moves everything (over 50 times) and is still carting boxes around she hasn’t opened in years because she was going to go through them after the latest move…..just sayin’! Good luck and you’ll feel so much better after you are settled!

    1. Oddly that sounds appealing. I don’t want to be like your friend so need to be more diligent. If I can clean out my junk,maybe I’ll start in his.

  27. Beverly Glotzbach says:

    (((Hugs))) from a kindred spirit. I feel your pain. We have four U-Haul Packing Boxes in our driveway that are due to be picked up today. Four have already been picked up. Half of these boxes are filled with my husband’s woodworking tools. I would have liked to sell all of that in a garage sale. But just think–a year from now, we should both be contentedly be launched in the next phase of our lives. And be closer to grandkids. Makes all the pain so worth it!!!!

      1. Barbara B says:

        I am just beginning this adventure, girls!! My is 3200 sq. ft. and planning to move to an over-50 aged double-wide (probably)….It is bitter-sweet. Must sell this house first!!!! But starting to pitch stuff, with the cheering-on of friends. LOVED READING ALL COMMENTS! . . .BARBARA

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