The Move 2021 🏡

March 30, 2021

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

I once heard an anecdote about travel that said you’ll always fill whatever size bag you choose to take with you. A good first step to traveling light is selecting a smaller bag.

Having just moved to the new house, our forever house, I’m reminded that we’ve made a very permanent decision about the size of our bag. We set out to build an efficient home and now that we’ve moved, it’s obvious that some things are not going to fit and I take it as a good sign.

On Saturday morning, when the move began, I was optimistic. The first couple of trips were quick and I was feeling strong. We used our two SUVs and our landlord’s pickup truck to ferry it all from the guesthouse to the new place. We’ve always moved ourselves and this was no different. We moved it all and I’m more thankful than ever that our moving days are over. Saturday saw us take 26k steps and 100 flights of stairs, with box in tow.

The guesthouse is deceptive: It’s a small place, but there is amazing storage tucked into closets and overhead spaces. As the day wore on, our stuff seemed to multiply like wet gremlins. We’d clear the floor of boxes and then dive into another cavern of a closet to find office supplies, sweaters, and shoes we hadn’t seen since we moved from Seattle.

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Over two days it was complete and we said goodbye to the guesthouse, our home since June of 2019. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity. Phew.

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A few sticky notes remained, mainly representing projects that are 99% done and only missing parts.

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Moving without the dogs getting outside was a challenge, so we built a wall to keep them away. It worked for about 30 minutes.

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Once we got everything into the house, the sorting project began. Big piles became small piles and small piles were organized by category. Today we’re close, but the pod from Seattle won’t arrive until Monday and it has furniture for holding categories of piles.

Last night we dumped everything bedroom-related into a big pile on the floor. Every piece of clothing we own along with wooden coat hangers. I took on the job of organizing the hangers and it was stressful for a couple of reasons.

In 2019, we made the ill-fated choice to move them in kitchen trash bags. That might work, if coat hangers were not triangular and covered in hooks. Over time the bags ripped apart and any attempt to remove a coat hanger required dislodging a triangle with a hook from the bag full of triangles and hooks. The only path that worked reliably was to open the bag like the sharks belly in JAWS and let them leak out onto the floor. Still, some remained.

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The coat hangers were a reminder of how much stuff we once owned. Presumably, we had enough clothes for all the hangers, yet only about one-third of them fit in our new closet. This bothered me for a while, but then I remembered that we used to live in a bigger house with more closets and in a city where a wider variety of clothes were helpful. Today, on Orcas Island, I don’t have a need for more than a few dress shirts. Truthfully, I’d could get by with a few shirts of any kind.

If nothing else, the process of moving three times in two years has helped us winnow down our possessions. Each time a box crosses a threshold, like the front door, it is examined and unwanted items are culled. This is what we’re doing today. There are now multiple piles of items that are going to other homes because we’ve made a choice about the size of ours.

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