What you paid for something, in the end, comes down to what you can shove into the moving van or the U-Haul. What you paid for stuff has no relationship to what you can sell it for at a yard sale. How did you accumulate all this stuff?

Everyone I know has a story about when they moved into their current home. I recognize the dazed look in the eyes of military or corporate families who moved every few years.

It’s the story of people who gave up barbeques, backyard swing sets, antique furniture, and expensive sports equipment. They are the people who gazed around at the pre-moving mess and said, “Where did all this stuff come from?”

You think about what you paid for that outdoor patio furniture that you only used a few times last year. What about your mother’s silver that you’ve never taken out of the box?


Your aunt’s dishes? That ugly bedroom set? And it comes as a surprise that no one wants your worn out couch. Even if it’s free.

Nostalgia is not your friend. Sentiment is your enemy. You must be ruthless.


The moving van for me arrives on Wednesday.  I’m leaving a lush, mountain forest environment for the downtown landscape of Ottawa, Ontario, the nation’s capital. My helpers and I will load all those carefully-packed cardboard boxes into a 28-foot empty space. The more of those 28 linear feet you use in the van, the more you pay.

Lately, I’ve just opened my wallet and let it bleed because I’m selling my house at the same time. Moving is expensive.

The upside? With all the useless crap gone, I can see the good bones of the house. This weekend I lay on my couch and looked through the floor-to-ceiling windows as the clouds gathered, first the hail, and then the rain fell.

I’d never had that view before since the couch had to be on the opposite wall to accommodate all the clutter. I’m sad about that.

But I want a new life. I leave behind supportive friendships of twenty years. I know I’ll be lonely.  It’s taken me twenty years to form these friendships, and it’s unlikely I’ll have twenty years to form new ones. People aren’t Legos you can just plug in.

I want a new life and this is the cost.

Please tell me the story of your move and how it turned out.