Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Downsizing: The Last Few Weeks, Packing and Moving

Oh Goodness!
I just want to forget about those last awful weeks.
Yep, they were awful.

This is part 2 of our selling and moving adventure. If you haven't read the first part of the story, go HERE and read it first. 

After we were under contract on the new house, I started planning what was going where and what furniture would fit and what we had to dispose of. 
We had already started taking things to the Goodwill, selling things, giving things away to friends and neighbors and taking things to the dump. 

We had a LOT of stuff. I was really mad at having all that stuff and vowed to NEVER do that again.
Seriously, we had to get rid of all the things in the basement, except for a wicker rocker that was my mother's, my sauna and a whole bunch of storage. We pared down the storage and got rid of 10 totes.
We still don't have a place for these to go yet, so they will stay in the storage facility until we do something with the crawlspace. The house has a high crawl and I can stand up in it for the 10 feet or so at the back of the house. 

Encapsulating the crawl space will keep it dry and the humidity low just like the basement at our old house. The problem is, having a company encapsulate it is probably going to cost $10,000 to $15,000 (my estimate from reading online) to do this, and I really only wanted to spend $8,000 because we need to add some storage in the house, so we may end up doing all of it or some of it ourselves. 
Back to the time we had a contract on the new house, we only had a little more than 2 weeks until we had to be out of ours and I wasn't sure how that was going to happen. We HAD to get rid of more things. The house was smaller, the garage was smaller, there wasn't a basement and the yard was, well, very small. 

For the outside stuff, we sold the firepit, the birdbath, the picnic table from the deck, gave away the planter to a neighbor, took down my childhood playhouse and  brought it, the rain barrel and the adirondack chairs to the Mountain Cottage and curb alerted on Craigslist, our old grill, the burn barrel and a few other things. Inside, we had one less bedroom and our office would be about half the size, so we sold the recliner and big desk from the office, the armoire (sniff, sniff) from our oldest daughter's room and the chairs from the family room(I just didn't like them) .
As we were going through rooms, I packed up everything in our oldest daughter's old bedroom, everything in the dining room, about a third of the office, about half of the piano room, the vintage cabinet in our family room and my Boopie glasses in the kitchen. Our youngest daughter packed up everything in her room and Mr. DIY packed everything in his "shop" or 3rd bay of the garage.
Let me confess right now that I have too many glasses, china, dishes and tchotchkes. I think I have 5 or 6 large cloches and those are so difficult to pack.
It took about 10 of the big dish barrels to pack all my china, glasses and breakable  tchotchkes. 

In addition to packing all of that, Mr. DIY and I had to sort and go through everything in the basement. Some things we were taking to the mountain cottage (at least 3 or 4 trips with the minivan and trailer full. Some things had to go to our storage locker (we got a small one) and some things had to be staged in the basement family room because that would go to the storage container that wouldn't come to the house until we had a space for it.
Add on top of all that, Mr. DIY had to take apart the playhouse, the worktable cabinets in the office, my sauna(he wrapped it too),  three shelves in the garage and all the free standing storage shelves in the basement, which we later ended up giving away because he decided he would build closed shelving in the garage. 
I'm so glad Mr. DIY took the week before closing off. He was definitely busy.

As for moving companies, I interviewed a full service mover and also a pod type mover.
Because we weren't moving straight to the new house and our things had to be in storage for 2 weeks, we chose to go with a company called Zippy shell, which delivers 15 foot trailers to your home. Our things would stay locked in those trailers until they were delivered to our new home. The full service mover wasn't sure what they would do with our things and they would possibly have to move our things into another place. That didn't sit well with me. Things get lost when they're moved.
Zippy Shell also has companies they schedule for packing and loading. We settled on 4, possibly 5 trailers to be delivered on Tuesday and the packers were arriving on Monday. We left Wednesday open to do any remaining things and to have cleaners come to do the main level and upstairs and we would clean the basement and garage. 
Three packers arrived on Monday and started packing. We helped pack, as well, because each packer (and later loader) cost $42 an hour. This was the fee for both companies we called. It was evident by around 2 pm, that we should have gotten 6 packers, even with all the packing we did. The ladies stayed until 10 pm at night, and the family room and 3 cabinets in the garage still had to be packed. 
We stayed up until about midnight packing the family room, but left the garage for the next day. 
It would take some time before the loaders would get to the garage anyway.
The next day, the loaders arrived bright and early. 2 trailers had been delivered the night before, so they could start loading right away. 

The packers had told me the day before not to pack any candles because even though the trailers are stored in a climate controlled building, sitting in the hot end of June sun while loading and unloading, they could melt and ruin whatever is packed near them. My heart sank when I heard this because I had already packed a bunch of them when I packed the dining room and the vintage cabinet in the family room. Our daughter also packed candles in her room too. 
I came up with a plan that would limit the time the boxes with the candles would spend in the sun.
I had the guys load the first trailer with the boxes in the  Family Room, then the boxes from the Dining Room and the boxes from our daughter's room and have that trailer taken away first, in order to spend less time in the sun. It was overcast that morning and the trailer was taken away by 10:30, so the trailer with candles in it avoided the hot sun. It will also be the first trailer delivered and unloaded in the morning. We'll be crossing our fingers for an overcast or cool morning this Saturday when things are delivered.

It took 4 strong men to load our trailers. They worked fast and efficiently and really did a great job packing it all in. Mr. DIY said they packed like Tetris. We ended up using that 5th trailer and had a few things that wouldn't fit, so we had to add a few things to the trailer going to the Mountain Cottage.  We even ended up giving a few extra things away that we didn't really care about at that point. We just wanted to get things moved out of the house.
The garage still had a bunch of things in it and we had to give things away, take things to the Goodwill and the dump. 

We slept at the house Tuesday and Wednesday nights on air mattresses on the floor. I was surprised how comfortable it was. We also had foam pads to go on top. All that was left in the house at this point were our things we needed for the 2 weeks between closings, food left in the freezer and fridge, a lamp and a trailer full of things that were going to the mountain cottage. It was best that we camped out at the house because we had our 3 cats. They were a little disoriented with nothing left in the house.

We had arranged for our neighbor across the street to take care of our live plants and to store our freezer full of venison. 
After the cleaners had come on Wednesday, the buyer came for their final walk thru. Everything was going fine until they asked for us to turn on the fireplace. We hardly ever used the fireplace in the main floor Family Room, but it has always been easy to light - turn on the pilot, flip the switch.
So Mr. DIY lights the pilot light, but the gas logs wouldn't light. We should have just left it alone since the inspector was able to light it easily, but it's frustrating when a bunch of people are watching you trying to do something and it's not working. The buyer gets the inspector on the phone and said it worked fine for him. I told Mr. DIY to go downstairs and light the logs in the basement Family Room  so he could do it while everyone was on the main floor and without them all watching. Our realtors husband asked if he could give it a try and got on the phone with the inspector and followed his instructions. I had walked into my bedroom, when all of a sudden, I hear a loud BOOM and my realtor screamed. I came running back into the Family Room and everyone was ok  and nothing had shattered...thank goodness!
Gas must have built up with trying to light the logs. So we just had an explosion and tomorrow we're supposed to close. I asked my realtor who to call and we started calling to see if someone could come and take a look at it before we left tomorrow for the closing. After calling several people, nobody was able to come. We assured the buyers that we would take care of it even if we couldn't get someone out there by closing.
It's a good thing our closing wasn't until noon on Thursday. We still had a few things left to do Thursday morning and it was difficult packing our last things up and making it all fit.   We also were able to get someone out to look at the gas logs, but he wasn't able to do anything because the gas company had come an hour earlier, turned the gas off and locked the meter. OY! He locked the meter because the buyer hadn't put the gas in her name. Coming from California, Pacific Gas and Electric do both electric and gas, but in our neck of the woods, they are two different companies and the buyer only changed the electric service over.  We made arrangements for the service guy to come back after the gas was turned on the following week. 

Our daughter met us at the closing and stayed with the cats in the car while we were in signing. 
After signing, we were off to the mountain cottage. Our daughter and a friend drove up in case I got to a point where I couldn't drive anymore. Along the way, there was some drama with the closing and we almost didn't close on the buyers part. Oh, the stress! We had signed the closing docs and it still wasn't over! I kept thinking MAKE IT STOP!

Getting out of that house is THE most stressful thing I've ever done - right through the day of closing and even after we signed  papers.
As for the 2+ hour drive to the Mountain Cottage, I was able to make it about 2/3rds of the drive in my car. When I couldn't make it anymore, I called Mr. DIY and our daughter and we all pulled over at a rest stop and my daughter drove the rest of the way. 

I have never been so happy to get to the Mountain Cottage! We had made it!
It had been a long 6 months, especially the last 3 weeks. My goodness! I haven't ever done anything so hard in my life. Even moving across the country was easier. 
I hope we NEVER have to do that again.
A little while after we were at the Mountain Cottage, we recieved a text stating we had closed!
After spending 5 months (some last year too) of working on the house every day getting the house ready to put on the market, after selling and giving away and getting rid of a BUNCH of things, after packing and purging- being short packers to the point that we didn't think we'd ever be done, after not having enough trailers for all of our stuff, after the fireplace making a big BOOM the day before closing, after some things going wrong with closing... I needed about 5 days of doing absolutely nothing.

Of course, our Mountain Cottage was so full of stuff we brought with us and 3 cats and all their stuff and it was difficult to not organize things - somewhat. But, in between doing little things, I sat on the porch drinking a cold beverage and watching the shadows change on the mountain.
Mr. DIY has had to drive into Charlotte for work every day.

 I think we'll both be ready to close on our new house on Friday. 

Hope you're having a good week!
I'll post photos of our house below if you'd like to see them.
I didn't take any of the outside, and I didn't take one of the dining room. 
It's going to be strange not going back to this house after we leave the Mountain Cottage in a few days.


 Sad about this blurry photo of our Master Bedroom.

 Our new closet is bigger, but it has wire racks.

Going to miss this big garage!

Sorry for the blurriness of the guest bedroom photo.

Oldest daughter's room

Youngest daughter's room

I'm going to miss this large room! Our office will be half this size at the new house:


  1. That sounds terrible and exhausting! Too much excitement and not the good kind! I'm glad you are out and in the mountain cottage. I can't wait to see your new place. You need a good long rest after this!

  2. Oh my...what a saga! Too too much to do in such a short time! Good luck on Friday....hope everything goes smoothly for you! ;)

    1. Things should go a lot smoother for this closing and move. There's no deadline for unpacking boxes! Plus, it's a lot more fun!

  3. Good luck on the closing and the new house.....cannot wait to see pics of the new one!!!

  4. Wow it truly was exhausting wasn't it! Glad nothing came of the gas fireplace situation. Perhaps having this time at the mountain lodge was good to allow your mind to separate from the other home. Somehow I believe you'll be enjoying this new home quickly!

  5. Moving, no matter how you do it, is SO stressful. We had professional movers who even packed all our dishes and glass and they were terrific. We actually did not have one thing missing or broken! But I found leaving the house, that last evening, so very very difficult. Twenty five years of memories.... And the woman who bought it was a pill, so that didn't help! So glad it is over for you, and yes, now the fun part begins! Looking forward to seeing it!

    1. Our last move across country was a lot easier. We had about 1/4th the amount of stuff and we were moving to a larger place. I think that makes a difference. If I can add space to our kitchen via double rollouts in each cabinet and customizine/organizing the closets, we'll be ok. I also need furniture in the living room and of course, I need storage because there are a bunch of boxes with no homes.

  6. It's actually a really good idea to go through your home every once in a while and meticulously cull the junk. There are lots of storage facilities around the area these days too, so if you're not quite ready to dump things, then you could consider putting things away for a while until you can decide what to do with it all.


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