Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

What we did with all our STUFF while house-hunting

We are finally, maybe, about to start feeling settled in our new house - and the last time we really felt that way was September 2016 before we moved from our townhouse! The fixer upper life means stuff in boxes and moving 4 times in a year... and I've had some questions about how we did it, and what we did with our stuff. Well... several different things! Let me explain!

Moving out of our last house

In December of 2017, we sold our fixer upper home to buy a for-sale-by-owner house that was not yet available. We moved in with my parents, into my old bedroom, for 4 months. We brought most of our clothes and toiletries with us but everything else was packed!

We rented a storage unit (I don't remember the size... 10'x15' maybe?) and knew we'd put most of our stuff there. But it's shocking how many little things there are to deal with when you move. Some of it we couldn't put in the storage unit (plants, garden chemicals), or couldn't easily transport all at once, so we had our stuff here and there. Here's a list of the categories I can think of now, and where it all went.

  • Boxes, rugs, floor lamp, furniture, etc.: storage unit
  • Weights/gym stuff: storage unit
  • Bikes: parents' garage
  • Freezer: parents' garage
  • Other appliances: stayed with the house we sold
  • Indoor plants: with us to my parents' house, then our apartment
  • Lemon tree: parents' garage, then backyard when it got warmer
  • Grill: parents' backyard
  • Lawn chemicals (can't put in storage unit): parents' garage
  • Lawn chairs: left them at the house we sold
  • Paint: most of it we left at the house we sold - colors for that house
  • Huge funky work table in garage: left at the house! 
  • Baby stuff: didn't buy any until we were living where we'd be when baby came. It was a bummer not to get to shop and decorate while pregnant and nesting!

We also sold a TON of stuff before we moved. So that stuff turned into cash in our savings account and is now turning back into furniture, rugs, lamps, good stuff like that. Nesting with Grace recently published a post about downsizing and her #1 tip for moving and downsizing was sell things rather than move them! It can be hard if you paid a lot for something, but unless you really love it... you'll be paying more money to store it (if you think about cost per square foot of the space in the storage unit)--and you might not have a place for it in the new space.

(We were also storing a lot of my brother-in-law's stuff before we moved, and moved it with us to the storage unit and now this garage, BUT we only had one dresser, one mattress set plus his mattress, no bed frames, only a few chairs... it would be much harder to fit into a 10'x15' space if you had the normal amount of furniture for a house plus all the boxes.)

Here's our storage unit. It had a door on either side which was super handy.

Temporary downsizing

Because I was by that point 7.5 months pregnant and it looked like we would definitely not be able to buy a house before the baby came, we moved into an apartment. We ended up being there 3 months, but were prepared for it to be much longer, so wanted to be comfortable.

I know a lot of people have to move to a rental short-term while buying/selling. It suuuuuucks to have to have that temporary spot, but on the bright side... it's much easier to keep a small place clean, and it gives you an opportunity to test out which pieces are actually your favorite.

We rented a garage at our apartment complex for $75/month, which was cheaper than the storage unit. Plus, then all of our stuff was on-site and we didn't have to plan trips to the storage place when we needed something! We also had some storage in the basement of the apartment, and tons and tons of space in the built-in hall closet. All of that is how we were able to keep our 525 SF apartment this tidy (rather than super cramped).

Slowly moving into a house

We did this except more extremely when we moved into the 90's fixer upper. (We put ALL our stuff in the garage at that house while we camped at my parents' place for a month and made the house livable.) Now that we're entirely out of the storage unit, apartment, and storage at my parents' (we just moved the freezer over last weekend!) we are using our garage as a holding ground while we slowly get ready to bring most of it inside.

We are only living in the first floor of our house right now. We need to do some work upstairs before we move into our office/sewing room up there, so the garage is extra full with those boxes. Also we're not done painting everywhere so some of our rugs are still rolled up.

And we're still storing my brother-in-law's massive leather chair! 

Our goal is to have the garage functioning as a gym as soon as we can, and I'd love to be able to park in there, too, when it gets cold. So, we still have some boxes to go through and organization to do!!

We also still need to go through and get rid of MORE stuff. It's so frustrating to move junk around in boxes (4 times now!) and maybe not even really want or need it. I have a lot of framed art that I don't love anymore, for example. Need to use it or get rid of it!

I'm also motivated not to accumulate too much stuff now. We don't plan to move again any time soon!!, but I feel burdened enough by the stuff we have and use, so really want to watch it with not acquiring extra kitchen gadgets, books, pillows, vases, random stuff that I don't love!

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