Two weeks to go!

It’s two weeks until we move into our new home!

We’re starting to clear out at the temporary rental we’ve been in, and today my partner and I visited the house, together with our real estate agent and a guy from the heating company, looking at the different options for heating the home. It’s an old house and there is no heating, except for three old fireplaces.

The main living room. You can see one of the fireplaces in the far wall.

It felt odd visiting what will be our new home, and good to have a look around. It’s a beautiful old home, but it needs a lot of work. It’ll keep us busy for quite a while, I suspect!

The house and garden from the rear. It’s in a lovely sunny spot, central to everything. The house needs work, and one of the first tasks will be a full external repaint in summer (around Christmas for New Zealand)!

We were there for well over an hour – I could tell the poor real estate agent was getting restless – but in the end we made some decisions, and we should have heating organised by the time we move in.

Currently the library, this room will probably be our master bedroom. I’m looking forward to painting and decorating it, and will be sharing the “before and after” pics here at the blog!

We’re all really looking forward to moving in now, especially my two kids, who are sharing a room, and my partner’s son, who is living downstairs in the storage room under the house in the rental. Not exactly ideal! We’ll be redecorating the kids rooms one by one, and I’m looking forward to sharing what we do as we get it all done.

As for the garden, I’m keen to create a meditation garden in the front, and to have my chooks again out the back, and my partner wants to build a fire pit. I’m not sure how I feel about the fire pit, but sometimes living with someone you love means compromise.

Not long now!

5 great decluttering tips for moving house

We’re moving into our new house in May. And moving is such a great time to declutter!

Here are 5 great, simple tips for decluttering while moving house.

1. Give each of your kids a cardboard box for their stuff.

As long as you’re not moving long distances, you can usually move small personal items yourself, and save a lot of money doing so. So get your kids to put all their personal items they intend to keep in a big box, and everything else out by the front door for charity or sale.

I let my kids keep any money from sold personal items. It really encourages them to clear their items they no longer use! Kids love making money!

I’ve found that inspiring the kids with what their new rooms will look like, and even letting them choose the decor, is really getting them keep to clear out and move. My partner’s daughter is almost as keen on Pinterest now as I am! 🙂

2. Keep a charity box and a “sell” box by the front door.

Sort into one of two boxes as you go. So easy! We like to donate to our local Hospice shop 🙂

Now, create two challenges between the kids of a) who can donate the most items from their room and b) who can throw away the most items from their room. My kids are mercenaries and food or cash prizes are a sure-fire winner! Creating a little friendly competition between the kids can work wonders with motivation.

3. Garage sales and flea markets are great places to declutter.

Some people have enough items to run their own garage sale. I find I can’t be bothered and don’t have enough stuff for a garage sale anyway, so selling through a local flea market works better for me. Check your local council website for markets that might suit you.

One rule: Anything you take to the flea market that doesn’t sell goes to charity at the end of the day. Don’t bring it home with you!

And don’t buy anything!

Photo of New York flea market by IsaFire.

4. Clothing can be checked over while clearing out.

We’re getting our kids to check all their clothing for size and wear while we’re clearing out. It makes sense. Don’t bring items that don’t fit or are in poor shape with you when you move!

If you haven’t tried it yet, you might want to consider giving The Project 333 a go, and try living with a minimalist wardrobe in your new home. Check it out: The Project 333.

I’ve been living with a minimalist wardrobe for three years now, and could never go back to a wardrobe bursting at the seams!

5. Play the “Packing Party” when you move!

Only take out what you need, as you need it, when you arrive. You might be surprised how little of your personal items you actually use! So why not have a “packing party” now you actually have to pack? Here’s a link: The packing party.

What we did this summer…

The farm is sold, and we are gone.

It felt weird. I spent a few minutes at the last, walking through the now-empty house, thanking each room in turn for everything it has given my family over the years.

We’ve been happy there. Even though our decision to move was due to a divorce, the break is amicable and my ex and I remain friends.

Now the bank is working out how much money we have once the remaining mortgage is paid out, and my new partner and I start house hunting in earnest. In the meanwhile, I’ve moved in with him in his very tiny rental in town, and my kids return from Australia this afternoon, to join us.

It’ll feel like a very full house!

This summer has not given me much room to breathe. Clearing out one home, putting most of our belongings into storage, and moving into another, has been hard work. My partner’s daughter (11) has been a great help in the shift, and we’re all settled in now. The kids all go back to school on Wednesday, and that’s when I’ll heave a huge sigh and collapse from exhaustion for a few days!

The bridge at MIller's Flat, on the way to Queenstown, New Zealand.

The bridge at MIller’s Flat, on the way to Queenstown, New Zealand.

I don’t know where we’ll move to. That’s something we need to do next – find a home to buy. I also need to find a job. Even though I have a reasonable income, I still need work, for personal satisfaction if nothing else. So another hunt begins.

I’m beginning to think I’ll call 2017 The Year Of The Hunt… 😉

Inside the Great Maze at Puzzling World, Wanaka, New Zealand.

Inside the Great Maze at Puzzling World, Wanaka, New Zealand.

Regardless of the moving stuff, we’ve managed some fun over the summer. We’ve been to Oamaru, to the Moeraki Boulders, to various lovely beaches, Up to Queenstown and Wanaka for a weekend away… We’ve gone to “Leap” which is a trampoline playground, and worked our way through the Great Maze of Puzzling World. We’ve been to the movies a few times, and we’ve been to an Underwater Observatory and a Gala Day.

It’s been a pretty good holiday 🙂

At Brighton Gala Day, Brighton, Dunedin, New Zealand

At Brighton Gala Day, Brighton, Dunedin, New Zealand

So much stuff! Moving out…

I’m selling my farm and moving on. We’re hoping to put the farm on the market when the season opens in August, and I think it will sell quickly as it is an excellent property and the market is hot.

Mow it’s getting close, I’ve realized just how much stuff I have! Yes, I’ve been reducing my belongings for the past few years and, by modern standards, I own very little. But there’s still an awful lot, including a large house full of furniture, and somehow I’m going to have to deal with it.

I have no idea how!

Over time, I’ve questioned a lot of my belongings. We’ve reduced down from four big bookcases stuffed full to two that have barely anything in them. We’ve culled almost all our CDs and DVDs.

My wardrobe has been following The Project 333 for nearly two years now and I’m very happy with owning a capsule wardrobe, with no plans to change. We’ve significantly reduced the amount of clothes the kids have, realising they needed a lot less that we used to think.

And toys! Well, we’ve reduced so many and miss none of them!

The kitchen has been sorted through and is a lot more sparse than it used to be. My drawers and cupboards are organised – you can see what’s in them at a glance these days. It’s refreshing. Even my undersink cabinet is clean and tidy – the plumber can call without fearing what he’ll find! 🙂

Yet still there is so much to go. When we moved in, we had 42 boxes that came with us. These days, I think we might have 25, if we counted. But still so much.

I’ve learned the art of decluttering and selling and reducing, but it is a slow process, and now we have little time to do the rest before we sell.

When we have our open homes, I want the house to look as minimalist as possible. I’ll get there, but it will be a busy time until then.

Wish me luck!


42 boxes

When we moved to New Zealand from Australia eight years ago, we moved 42 boxes of belongings right along with us.

We packed everything. All sorts of rubbish. So much of it arrived, and when it did, I couldn’t help wondering why I’d packed it in the first place!

    “Unless you’re in control of your stuff, your stuff will control you…”

We were typical. I didn’t think at the time that we had a lot of stuff. Yet sitting there, looking at it all, unpacking it all, finding homes for it – all of that overwhelmed me and made me stop and think.

For a while, anyway.

Then, despite my best efforts, the amount of stuff we owned grew even more.

I didn’t understand that unless you’re firm and in control of your stuff, your stuff will control you. It seemed so easy to let another item just sit and stay. It wasn’t not hurting anyone, after all.

We tell ourselves these stories all the time:

You might have owned it a long time.
Maybe someone you care about gave it to you?
You might need another pair of scissors, or a third spatula one day – who knows?
You might even read those books again that have been sitting gathering dust on the shelf for years.
Your children might want to revisit their old artwork, their old schoolwork, their old baby clothes. You never can tell…

You won’t, you really won’t.
They won’t either.

Life is too short to live in the past, surrounded by clutter and stuff we don’t need.
Life is too short to spend looking after things instead of people.

I’m selling my farm. It’ll be on the market soon. We’ve lived here seven years. The amount of clutter I’ve removed has been formidable.

When I leave, I won’t be bringing 42 boxes with me.
This time, I’d be surprised if I have five.

And you know what? There’s not a single thing I’ve passed on, thrown out, sold, given away, or otherwise gotten rid of that I miss.

Not one.

I just feel free. And its wonderful 🙂

Another lots of books to go. I won't say it's the final pile, but it's close now.

Another lots of books to go. I won’t say it’s the final pile, but it’s close now.

First of the spring lambs :)

The first of our Spring lambs has arrived.

It’s a wee blackface girlie and we’ve named her Sonia, after world record powerlifter Sonia Manaena, who lives just down south of us in Invercargill.


I mean, if you’re going to name a lamb, why not name her after an incredible New Zealand athlete!

Anyway, Sonia seems to be doing well, and feeding well, and now we’re wondering when the next lambs will arrive. Usually we get a rush all at once, and certainly one of the other ewes is so fat she’s practically waddling around the property!

Sonia's mum Gabby giving her a kiss...

Sonia’s mum Gabby giving her a kiss…

It’s always lovely when the lambs arrive, but this time it has a hint of sadness about it, because if everything goes well, this will be our last spring at the farm, and my last time we have lambs. I’ll miss it.

Sonia says hello to the other sheep

Sonia says hello to the other sheep

This time next year I don’t know where I’ll be living – it’ll be somewhere in town, but I won’t have lambs, or a farm. It’s what we’re planning, but I’ll miss the joy of Spring.

Leaving paradise…

My ex husband and I are getting our farm ready for sale.

We’ve been here six years, and I feel sad to be leaving. When we bought the place, it was a dream come true to me. I’d always wanted land, and a farm, and a house almost exactly like this. It was what I wanted.

In the six years or so we’ve been here, we’ve turned our property from a toxic wasteland doused with chemicals by previous owners into an organic paradise. It’s beautiful here, and peaceful, and the place thrums with birdsong in summer and the buzz of bees and insect life.

I feel like I’ve done what I came here to do.

I'll miss my country home. But the time has come to move on...

I’ll miss my country home. But the time has come to move on…

But times change, and the fact of the matter is that when you divorce, everything gets split to ways, and I can’t afford to stay. In any case I’d have probably had to leave even if I could afford it, simply because I’ll soon be working full time, and I wouldn’t be able to manage the upkeep on the place.

Sometimes life changes, whether we want it to or not.

Sometimes life changes, whether we want it to or not.

It’s time to move on.

So we’re getting painting and decking done, and fixing everything that needs sorting for the sale. The place is actually in pretty good order, but there are some things holding us back, and they all take time. Then we hope to sell this summer, and we’ll split the proceeds, and go our own ways.

I'll be saying goodbye to my sheep. I'll miss the rural life. But life changes sometimes.

I’ll be saying goodbye to my sheep. I’ll miss the rural life. But life changes sometimes.

Moving into town

I’ll be moving into town, and my plans are to rent for a while until I find a place that suits me. I’ve already started to watch the market, and I’ll be looking for a place that is convenient to my son’s new High School (he’s starting High School this year, I can’t believe it!) and close to wherever I end up working.

Ideally I’d prefer not to need a car at all, but with young kids I’m guessing that’s just not possible right now. Maybe once they’ve left the nest…? 🙂

One thing that is daunting is clearing out the whole farm of everything that needs to go. Despite the fact I’ve been decluttering for a couple of years, there is still a lot of stuff that needs selling and dumping, and getting rid of it all takes time. I’m glad I’m not a clutterbug! But there will be a lot of farm tools that I won’t need in the city any more, and I’ll be selling a lot of them.

Being independent…

It’s also a bit scary to think of supporting myself for the first time in decades. I was with my husband for nearly twenty years, and suddenly being independent is a big change for me. I think I’ll cope just fine, but I’m sure there will be challenges.

I’m glad my ex-husband and I are on excellent terms. I wouldn’t have to do this all if we were fighting. But we’ve reached a very amicable separation, and our relationship has evolved into one of good friends. I hope we stay that way.

I don’t think anyone ever plans to divorce. But we were neither of us happy together, and when we decided to end things we immediately knew it was the right thing to do. I never saw myself as a divorcee, but I guess that’s what I am. As long as we both put our children first, though, everything will be all right.

It will be all right 🙂