How to sell everything you own in 8 weeks


It looks like we’re moving.


In less than two months.

At the beginning of last month, Chris was contacted about a job. Two days after the first phone call, and a bunch of tests and phone interviews later, he was asked to fly over for an interview. There was a crazy milk run four-flight segment travel day, a day of interviewing and then he came home. A week later he had a job offer.

So I was a bit distracted for most of March. There was lots of what-if talk around my home and discussion of what moving would entail and how we would handle it. Would we sell our home or rent it out? Do we want to move thousands of miles away from our family?

It’s been overwhelming.

Overwhelming but not unwanted. I’ve always wanted to live abroad (I love that term! So 1950’s) and the timing of this very unexpected offer is ideal. Henry is young and our parents are (knock on wood) in good health. Minimalism has helped me let go of my attachment to stuff so our move won’t be nearly as painful as it would have been over a year ago. We love Vancouver but our new city will allow us to travel more, try out smaller town living and still have the walkable lifestyle we love. Probably the biggest opportunity is a new career for Chris. He’s spent two decades self-employed, and loved it, but is ready for this change.

What will I be doing once we’re settled in? Mostly the same as here. We’re hoping to find Henry some part-time daycare so I can continue to pursue a writing career. I’ve already looked into it and our new city has a few running clubs but, sadly, no Crossfit. Maybe I’ll start a Crossfit gym! At the very least I’ll try and make some new friends to coerce into doing the workouts with me.

What does this mean for my blog?

  • More minimalism: I’ll be detailing how we sell almost everything and what we decide to ship and take with us.
  • More guest posts: I’ll be in transit and pretty busy in the next few months. If you’d like to share your life simplifying and/or minimalist story (in-progress stories welcome!) please send me an email at rachel jonat at gmail dot com.
  • More travel: one of the benefits to this move is more travel. Chris will have more set vacation and we’ll have easier access to a lot of life list cities that we want to visit. I’ll be detailing our minimalist/frugal travel with toddler adventures here.

Ever wondered what it would be like to get rid of everything and start fresh? Me too. I guess I am about to find out what getting to almost scratch, and then starting again, really entails.

Many thanks to all of you for reading and commenting here. The support and suggestions have gone a long way in helping me de-clutter my home and reduce our consumer debt. More importantly, having a community of like minded folk has given me more confidence in our choice to live with less. Thank you.

Photo Credit

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  • WOW, how exciting, i often dream about starting from scratch what a perfect oppurtunity for a minimilist!!!! Look forward to you up and coming posts!

    • Thanks, Sharon. I’m really excited between a few moments of sheer panic: we’re leaving all our babysitters!

    • Remote island in Western Europe. I’ll write more about it soon. Very different from where we live now – except the rainy weather!

  • Wow, that is so cool Rachel! I was wondering how things were going with all this. There is something so appealing about the starting completely over…like a clean slate full of possibilities.

    I’m so excited to follow your adventures!

    • Thanks, Faith. I’m excited about the clean slate too and rebuilding our home items from scratch. It will be challenging: I’ve already checked and the second hand/Craigslist websites for the area are nothing like Vancouver. I’ll have to be very patient if I want second hand furniture.

  • Wow, how exciting!!! You only live once, so congrats on this new & exciting life experience=)

    • That’s what I keep saying: even 3-5 years of living abroad is a short window in a, hopefully, long life. It will be a neat experience for us as a family.

  • Wow! Really excited for you to hear your moving overseas! Amazing opportunity! Where are you going to?

    • The interesting thing about where we are moving is that most people have heard of it but have no idea where it is. So I am getting a lot of, where is that again? I’ll write more about it soon. Going to do a little comparison of it and Vancouver.

  • Fantastic! What a great adventure for you and your family! We would love to do the same at some point, so I look forward to reading about your experiences! Congratulations!!!

    • Thanks, Natalie. I’ve lived in a few different cities – Seattle, Victoria, BC, London, ON – but this will be the first time living outside of North America.

    • Western Europe! I’ve actually looked around to see if there are any blogger conferences I could attend. There’s one in London but it might be a bit too soon after we arrive.

      • Don’t know about blogger conferences, but I also live on a (fairly) remore island in Western Europe…moreover, this is “abroad for me too”!

    • Western Europe. Fairly remote but a quick flight to some big cities. Going to be a big change: the city we are living in has 20,000 people.

    • Thanks, Carrie. And I’m excited to have your guest post locked away for this crazy time. I think the readers here will love it.

  • What an exciting adventure Rachel! I too have always wanted to live abroad. Hope to see you guys before you head off.

    • Thanks, Jenny. Your post the other week about generating income from selling stuff was inspiring. Particularly the jewelery.

  • Welcome to Europe :) It’ll be fun to read about your fresh start! My husband was just offered a job overseas too (U.S) but we didn’t want to move there…

    • Thanks! I just read a lovely post on your blog about celebrating/accepting your shy child. Wonderful writing and made me think about how I discuss/label my shy child. It’s not a bad thing so I need to talk about it in a positive light – not a negative one. Thank you =)

    • Looking forward to meeting up in person! Now we can be virtual running partners in the same time zone =)

    • Thanks, Jorje. I think I will be using a “move into RV” test for what we keep to store and send with us. Might need your help.

  • Yahoo! We’re heading abroad summer 2012, so I am looking forward to seeing what you’ll be doing! Congrats again!

    • Thanks, Idania. I’ll be writing about our plans and sharing them here. Expect to get some great comments and advice – there are a few readers who have already done this so I hope they share their wisdom here in the comments section.

    • Thanks, Korryn. He will be running a new client services program for a large company. Kerri has details – I’m not sure how much I can publicly talk about the job and his employer.
      Going to be exciting! Keep my posted on your Euro travel plans for the summer. Maybe we will see you over there!

    • I know! This is right up your alley. The funny thing is that we are moving near you. Not sure what part of the UK you are in but we are moving to the Isle of Man. Not Portugal weather but we are excited about the move.

  • How exciting! We are also moving abroad (well, we are military stationed in the UK, moving back to the states–Alaska!!) So, I know just how you feel about selling anything that isn’t necessary! Thankfully, we have a fabulous thrift store on base to re-home my items!! Congrats on your future endeavors, love your blog!!!

    • That is so neat that military bases have thrift stores. And smart – totally makes sense that with people moving all the time a resell network is needed. Good luck on your move! Been near Alaska and it is beautiful.

  • Rachel, I’ve really been enjoying reading about your adventures (and Katy’s)… And this one is huge! I can see how your minimalism was definitely a step towards this new adventure.
    So exciting! I can’t wait to hear about the new place (I have guesses about where it is, but I’ll try to wait patiently until you share ;)). I admire your bravery- I hope everything goes smoothly.

    • Thanks, Kirsten. I guess this means I won’t be here for the next high school reunion. Were we going to have a 15 year one? Maybe I will be here for 20.
      And yes, minimalism has helped. I would be running around like a chicken with my head cut off if we still had lots of stuff. Instead I have a pretty good plan of how to liquidate it all.

  • I have sold almost everything and moved away with nothing more than my small sports car filled with two kids, two cats, a husband and some sleeping bags (to get us going when we reached our new home). It was fun, but I found many pitfalls too. I wish I had done it different now. Not the starting fresh bit, that was fun, but I ended up acquiring too much stuff, despite my best intentions. Good luck with your move. You are quite a bit further down your minimalist journey than I was (okay, Am), and I’m interested to hear how it all goes.

    • Acquiring more will be a easy habit to slip into. I’m making a list of home items we have hear that I think I want over there. Beyond the cost, shipping electronics, like my vaccuum, doesn’t make sense when we are moving some where with different voltage. We will bring our laptops and converters for them but anything else will have to be purchased over there (hair dryer, coffee machine).

    • Thanks – you’ve already done this!!! I know you guys had a few more months to sell it all but I think we should be okay. I’ve already sold or donated so much that I have a good idea of how long it will take to get rid of everything. Now the work begins!

    • Thanks, Katie. Trying to enjoy this time, the last few weeks in our hometown, and not get too worked up about the details of the move.

  • Wow, this sounds amazing! Very exciting, can’t wait to hear more about your journey to radical downsizing before your travels. Best of luck to you and your family during this exciting time!

    • Thanks, Erin. You will see me all over Craigslist! I’m going to put up our nursery furniture this month and do another swap meet beginning of May. Anything left after that will be donated.

  • Congratulations going ‘abroad’ is always exciting.
    Looking forward to hearing about your downsizing as I am attempting to temporarily downsize as well. I am sure your stories will be inspiring as always!

    • Thanks, KT. “Abroad” is such a funny term. With globalization it doesn’t quite have the cache of yesteryear. But I still love it!

  • How wonderful! So glad you’ll be doing this before me, so that i can learn from your journey. We’ll be moving from Australia to the UK in 2012 with a 3 year old. Starting from scratch, apart from keepsakes. So, as you can imagine, i can’t wait to see how you deal with this adventure.

    • Fun! We are moving to the Isle of Man. It’s kinda of part of the UK. I need to read up on its exact relationship with the UK. Confusing.
      Should be some good comments when I write about our plan here. I know a few readers have already done this and can give me (and you!) suggestion.

  • Wow, big news! I’ll be sad to see you go, but I trust that this will be a fabulous adventure for you. And we’ll all get to live vicariously, so there’s that, too. :)

  • I am planning to sell my home and use the money from the sell to purchase right out a condo. I want to live somewhere we can bike to school and work too.
    I have 3 children and I am nervous they will happy.
    We have lived in the same home their whole life. I am self employed and earn a good living. But I work a lot to maintain the home and lifestyle. I want to downsize. I want more time with my family.
    I figured if we don’t have a house payment or car payment that will free up a lot of time.

    • Hi Tonya – What an amazing gift to give yourself and your family. I would love to hear more about it and possibly interview you for my blog here. Your plan would appeal to a lot of my readers. – Rachel

  • Isle of Man. This is a small island approximately 33 miles x 13 miles in size. It is a crown dependency, so this basically means the queen is its head of state a bit like commonwealth countries, but they have their own government, taxes, laws etc. The only thing the british governement will do is protect the island in the case of a war etc. They are, otherwise, pretty independent.

    It is popular for motorcyclists, as this is where the Manx TT races are held for two weeks every summer. There are no speed limits on the roads, although you are expected to use your common sense, as the roads are small and twisty. Douglas is the capital. There are loads of beaches, shops, places to eat etc. It is a quiet place.

  • We are doing it too – selling everythng and moving over seas. How can i find how you sold it all ? and decided what to take ?

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