What We’re Not Getting Rid Of

Last week I went through the house, opened cupboards and drawers, took inventory and made a list of the things we plan to keep and store with one of our daughters when we depart Kaua’i. Compared to our last departure, the number of things we keeping is quite small, and everything can and will be sent through the mail.

I’ve collected pottery since before Brett and I got married, and each piece gets used regularly. Some of the pottery items are big (and heavy) and will be mailed in their own boxes, others are smaller and can be grouped and mailed together. The Japanese items, other than the sake jug lamp, are all small items this time around. Most of the art will come out of their frames for shipment and be reframed whenever we settle. None of it is valuable to anyone but us (the valuable art pieces have either already been sold or are going home with the girls in December).

The miscellaneous items are just that: miscellaneous. They’re mostly kitchen items we love and will be happy to see again, and they run the gamut from the stainless cutlery we’ve had for nearly thirty years to an inexpensive melamine coffee tray from IKEA. My 30-year-old, 14-piece All Clad cookware set did not make the cut – too expensive to ship and easy to replace – it will be sold after the first of the year.

The list below is not set in stone . . . yet. Although there is a good possibility of items being deleted in the next few months, it’s very unlikely anything will be added – we’re pretty good at talking ourselves out of making the lists any longer. For the time being we’re feeling committed to the lists as they are now.

All the pottery


  • Vase
  • Gray & blue platter
  • Large green & gray bowl
  • Coffee mug
  • Blue-green bowl
  • Pie dish
  • Three small to medium serving bowls
  • Five rice bowls
  • Three pasta plates/salad bowls
  • Three rectangular plates
  • Cream pitcher & sugar bowl
  • Blue & white tea bowl
  • Haniwa horse
  • Pitcher
Not fine art, but most treasured: silhouette of our son, age five, made by his kindergarten teacher, and B&W photo of the girls done one month after YaYu joined our family.


  • Japanese train & subway map
  • Antique Japanese fabric banner
  • Three antique Japanese book prints
  • Antique 19th century Japanese woodblock print
  • Small watercolor of Hong Kong harbor
  • Gyotaku (fish print) I made
  • Black & white photograph of the girls
  • Silhouette of our son, age five
The sake jug lamp and some of the Japanese things we’re keeping. Other than the lamp, all the other items will fit into one large flat-rate box for shipment.

Japanese things

  • Porcelain sake jug lamp (without the lampshade)
  • Cranes & waves jubako
  • 5 Japanese bells
  • 3 hashioki
  • Japan provinces tea cup/Brett’s O-tou san (“dad”) cup
  • Blue & white small plates
  • Blue & white soba choko cups
  • Blue & white “Arabesque” rectangular plates
  • Stoneware tea cups
  • Four wood trivets
The IKEA coffee tray & trivia, and the blue ceramic coffee canister, bought in 1981 at Motomachi in Yokohama. The electric tea kettle, coffee grinder, and our Chemex coffee pot that also sit on the tray will be sold before we go.

Miscellaneous items

  • 6 Christmas ornaments & 6 wooden Santas
  • Two throw pillow covers
  • Inflatable queen mattress
  • Assorted cooking utensils
  • Stainless cutlery set
  • Shun Ken chef’s knife
  • Henkel’s bread knife
  • Henkel’s serrated utility knife
  • Blue ceramic-handled pie & cake servers
  • IKEA melamine coffee tray & silicone trivet
  • Blue porcelain coffee cannister
  • Pittock Mansion coffee mugs
  • Dash mini waffle maker

Our total estimate when we started was no more than 60 items, and the total number of items listed above is right there (with some sets counting as one item). Looking it over I think we can get it all into around 10 – 12 boxes, which will be sent back to Massachusetts for storage. Many items will be packed together and sent in flat rate boxes, but others will have to be packaged and sent individually. Outside of the sake jug lamp, the pottery will be the heaviest and most expensive to mail. Most of the art will be removed from frames and placed in padded envelopes between foam board (to prevent bending) for shipment. We think that by starting in January and sending at least one box per week everything should be on its way before we depart Kaua’i.

Every item we are keeping carries a piece of our story. It’s definitely not the whole story, but enough memories and utility for us these days. When I look at the lists above they still seems like an awful lot of stuff, and I ask myself if maybe we could trim it down some more, but for now everything has been thought about carefully and are things want to see and use again in the future. We don’t want to start our story completely from scratch whenever we settle down, and we also know having some of these things will also save us a bundle. Everything will help make wherever we live feel like “home” once again.


5 thoughts on “What We’re Not Getting Rid Of

  1. Since my daughter is moving in at the end of the month, I have downsized my Master by half. The rest will be stored – thankfully my office has room for that! And because I plan to settle somewhere in the US at some point, I’m comfortable keeping some larger items, like the solid wood bed frame, nightstands and hope chest my husband made for me. After the first of the year, I will start cleaning out the downstairs a little at a time (I had a month between when I got home from my 3-1/2 week vacation and the kids moving in!). In some ways it’s hard, and in other ways, so easy and freeing!


  2. You’ve been very intentional with what you’ve decided to keep and I think you’ve made some great decisions. You can’t put a value on some of those things because the sentimental value is too high. Most items are very small and will be easy to ship and store.

    As always, I’m impressed at your planning and preparation for your adventure! One step closer to your goal!


    1. My rule now is if we find something else we want to keep, then something else has to go! We want to keep the number of kept items at 60 and are going to try our best to stick to that number.

      We still have a lot of planning to do, especially what order to sell things and when. Our sofa and bed will be the last to go – that we know for sure. But the other things? We’re not sure yet about those.


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