Will It Stay or Will It Go?

The jubako will be stored; the chest they sit on will be sold

A big topic of current conversation between Brett and I these days is over which of our things we are going to store while we travel next year, and which ones we will sell or otherwise get rid of. We mostly agree, but there are few items we’re still haggling over (with Brett usually saying “let it go”). We plan to start the downsizing process fairly soon after Christmas, with our tree the first thing we’ll put up for sale. We’ll start gradually, but end with a big moving sale right before we leave.

Will it go? is the easy part because the answer is: almost everything. We have to no plans to store any furniture other than our big hibachi table, so our dining table and chairs, all bedroom furniture, our remaining antique Japanese tansu, living room furniture, etc. will all go up for sale. Everything except the tansu is replaceable, but after some discussion we decided to let them go as well – they will fetch a good price, and our goal is to eventually live even more streamlined than we do now.

We’ll be storing the KitchenAid mixer, the slow cooker, our set of All-Clad pots and pans, most of the pottery collection, one cake stand (a gift from the girls), less than five Japanese cooking utensils, and a few of our coffee cups; otherwise, everything in the kitchen will be sold as well. We’re going to let Meiling go through the things we’re not keeping (i.e. bakeware) while she’s home and will send what she wants back with her.

We’re keeping all or most of our blue and white Japanese porcelain although there are a couple of pieces I don’t have any strong feelings about and can let go. All of our artwork will be stored as well. Our collection was curated before we moved over here and we don’t want to part with the pieces we kept. A couple of the pictures will go back with the girls this year, but that’s all. We’re keeping both of our wool rugs.

Things like our collection of Christmas ornaments, lovingly collected over the past 40 years, and the few other sentimental items we brought with us will also go into storage. We debated dividing up the Christmas ornaments among the kids this year, but then realized the girls don’t want to have to worry about storing Christmas ornaments while they’re in school, and the cost of shipping our son’s bunch over to Japan would be prohibitive. We still plan to get together for Christmas every year no matter where we are, so Brett and I will remain the ornament keepers for the time being.

We’ll also store our new TV, mainly because it will be less than a year old, and we see no sense in replacing it so soon. However, our washer and dryer set and our freezer will be sold.

The car will be sold too, hopefully around a month before we depart on our Big Adventure. I’m amazed at what people get for used cars here on the island, even ones with high mileage, so we’re hoping our little Honda Civic will bring a decent price with its fairly low mileage. It’s a terrific island car, in pretty good shape, and gets good mileage (34-36 MPG) so we’ve got our fingers crossed that it sells quickly. Both Brett and I are looking forward to not owning a car for a while.

The items we are keeping will be stored here on the island – whether we’ll do that independently or work with a local moving company is something we’re still investigating. Doing it independently will most likely cost less, but the moving company would offer packaging and protection for the items being stored (especially the art work).

Can I admit to being a little bit excited again about downsizing even more? Brett and I grow less and less  sentimental over our things as more time goes on, and feel like we have a lot of stuff we just don’t need anymore, especially because of our upcoming travels and because we won’t have any children living with us full time. But, we also recognize we’re not ready to part with everything just yet. I’ll think we’ll be keeping enough to make wherever we eventually settle, whether that’s back here on Kaua’i or somewhere else, feel familiar and like home, but not enough to tie us down. That’s just where we want to end up.



14 thoughts on “Will It Stay or Will It Go?

  1. Reading this post made me reflect on what our bills would be like if we did the same thing. Storage- that would be it! Amazing. It would make the moving around entirely possible.You two are such good planners. Does your son have enough room that you could ship your cold weather gear to him so you don’t have to carry it around for the first six months?
    I’d dump the slow cooker- cheap and getting better yearly. Not so sure about the pots and pans–are they worth their repurchase price to store them (weight, size, potential to harm other pieces in storage)? I would keep my Kitchen-aide only if it is older since they are now made with plastic gears. The TV may be completely out of date once you get back into the storage- might take a loss on that—but is it really worth the space it will take in storage?
    It might be hard to wait but, Selling these things closer to summer and further away from Christmas (sales) might help the prices. We sold our Aloha car (along time ago) a week before we left at a higher price then what we bought it for!
    Make sure your moving company has been in business a long time. Our good friends had their moving storage go out of business while they traveled and their stuff was two days from auction when they found out…a very expensive flight to Alaska to save their stuff. Still, the self store places are notorious for their theft.
    How will you store your wool rugs?


    1. We actually need to carry our cold-weather gear with us – when we head down to South America the weather will be segueing from winter there into spring, so it will still be cold. And then we’ll be heading into fall when we fly over to Europe. Actually, the only warm weather we’ll experience will be in Australia and New Zealand, and it will be cold again when we head up to Japan. Even India is going to be cold! Were talking lots of lightweight pieces that we can layer.

      There is one newer self-storage place on the island that is heavily guarded AND climate controlled, so if we go that route we will use them. We’re going to go down and check them out in the next couple of months. We’re leaning toward using Royal Hawaiian again though. They moved us over here and their service was superb, as is their reputation. We’ll get a quote in the next few months from them as well and make a decision then. Otherwise self storage here is old shipping containers set out in the elements – NOPE.

      We’re keeping the slow cooker because it’s a good one (Cuisinart) and I got it for free a few years ago using Swagbucks. I’ve had my All Clad for over 25 years – my first job after Brett retired was for a kitchen store and I got all the pieces for a song. Plus, although All Clad is still top quality, it was better quality back when I bought mine, so there’s no way I would replace it for the same cost and quality that I have. It will be boxed, so hopefully won’t damage anything else.

      We are so surprised by what cars go for here. We won’t get as much as we paid for it, but close.


      1. All well thought out things- I should have known better. And my bad–I never think of So Am as cold. A continent I have never traveled- so no reference points for me! The layering sounds great. Looking forward to the reports.
        Royal Hawaiian, they moved us! Our Hawaii move was one of our best out of the nine we made. They really took pride in their work and none of our storage stuff (3 1/2 years while in overseas) came out with a smell. I am SO leery of self storage—just many friends with bad experiences. The new ones look- oh- so better. Both sound like good choices.
        Sounds like it is all coming together!


  2. I’ve been waiting for this post, just to see how you will be taking care of all those items you collected in Japan. Beautiful pieces, but I can sense your detachment as you are moving on.
    As for storing a t.v.: Don Aslett (early minimalist) had left a tv in his house on Kauai. He said that non-use will ruin it, because of the humidity there. Apparently, using the tv will dry out the working parts. Just another thought. Your penultimate sentence was beautifully expressed.


    1. Thanks, Marji! Good information about storing the TV (or not storing it, as it may be) – we may have to re-think keeping it (we could get a good price for it as it will still be almost new).

      We’re hoping that it will be easy here to sell the Japanese pieces we don’t intend to keep, like the tansus and a couple of pieces of porcelain. We’ll see. Otherwise, I still take a great deal of joy from our Japanese porcelain so most of it is staying with us.

      The older I get the less I want to keep and maintain things. My mom and grandmother were the same way, so maybe it’s genetic.


  3. Interesting, and I can understand wanting to keep the kitchen things you mentioned, especially the KitchenAid and the AllClad. (How lucky to have gotten a kitchen store employee discount on that!!!) I’d have a hard time parting with mine! And the art and wool rugs would make me nervous. Climate control has got to be imperative where you are. I know the humidity in Florida really took its toll on both my daughters’ belongings while they lived there.

    When my daughter moved to the UK, she purged, then purged again, and then purged again. We got left with the things in our basement that she absolutely couldn’t bear to part with – well those that didn’t fit in her two huge suitcases and the three boxes I shipped her. I have a file drawer stacked full with her books, some collectibles from her summers in Africa (PhD research) and other random things. Also a blue LeCreuset pot that is gathering dust on a shelf. (I have my own and don’t need it, or I would be using it. ha!) There is also a dresser that I bought long ago and gave her. It’s rock solid and I also can’t bear to part with it. But we sure don’t need it. Its drawers are also stuffed. I’m betting when she visits this summer (her first time back), she’ll purge again. There is just a lot there that she won’t ever use. Last Christmas she finally agreed we should sell her snowboard. She had dreams of shipping it to the UK and using it in the Alps. But, as most things, the technology has moved along and the shipping costs were insane. So she got the money and someone got a lovely Christmas gift last year. 🙂


    1. All Clad is still a quality product, but no where near as nice as it was when I bought mine 25 years ago. And, since I was working at a kitchen store and got a discount, it would cost me more than twice now to replace the pieces I have. So, I’m keeping it. Same for most of our Japanese antiques – I could never replace them for what I paid for them (or the memories either). But, I have very little attachment these days for most everything else so it will go. And, we will store a couple of things for the girls (WenYu’s electric guitar and amp, for example) that would cost a fortune to ship to them at this time.

      I have a LeCreuset oblong baking dish that I’m torn about. I haven’t used it once since we moved here, but I won it as an incentive when I worked at the kitchen store and would like to keep it. Maybe I’ll give it one of the girls . . . (It weighs a ton though).


  4. Hmm, wondering if San Clemente is still in the running for a possible landing site after your travels. It’s still pretty darn laid back and quirky there from what I can tell! 🙂

    Ah, yes, purging . . . does it ever stop? I’m so impressed with your bravery in culling the items you feel will weigh you down as you decide what to store and what not to. In going through this process ourselves during our move five months ago, I’ve yet to miss anything we elected to leave behind. It is definitely freeing to look around and see empty shelves and drawers.

    You are brave to make this major transition, but I know you’ll reap so many rewards as a result.


    1. I would still love to live in San Clemente, and our tax situation vis a vis California will be completely different by then, but I imagine that housing there will still be out of our price range. But who knows? We have a lot of thoughts about where to go and what
      to do after we finish the Big Adventure, but no decisions yet.

      It does feel good to let things go. Like you, we have had absolutely NO regrets about the things we let go of before our move over here to Hawai’i. We’ve never missed anything we let go of, and it will probably be the same with the stuff we’re letting go now.


  5. I have a terrible time with sentimental items. I can’t part with them so the clutter builds up. I promised my mother before she died that I’d keep her furniture and I have, even though it’s not really my taste. I also have all her dishes and other stuff. How do you become detached from these things?


    1. Sentimental items are the trickiest and most difficult to part with. Brett and I would first ask ourselves if there was someone else in the family that could use or would enjoy the item as much or more than we did, and we approached them first about taking the item. If they weren’t interested, then we moved outside the family – we donated several items that would be useful to someone else (i.e to a women’s shelter, or to a source that helped people moving out of homelessness, but we also sold several other items, and those people were thrilled to have them. I always took a picture of a sentimental item first though. Anyway, knowing that someone else would appreciate and treasure a sentimental item, or get more use from it than we did, helped us to part with those items. And frankly, I’ve never missed them or regretted letting them go, so it was the right thing to do.


  6. Great post! I have been moving around and traveling with my husband for years now. Each time we move we look at all of our things and decided if they are coming or going. We find it easier to get rid of as much as possible and only hold onto things that have sentimental value or are useful to us.


    1. That’s the way we feel now – is it something that is truly un-replaceable (like our Japanese blue & white and our pottery collection) or useful (like my stand mixer)? If yes, then we keep it. The funny thing this time is I am the one more likely to want to keep stuff. My husband, the former King of the Pack Rats, wants to let everything go! We are not going to be putting much into storage, that’s for sure! The older I get though, the less stuff I want.

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