Downsizing. The first step.

This month, with the grace of the housing Gods, and if things do not implode ala the Dow Jones (anyone else freaking out about that? I’m freaking out about that.) I will be  a home owner. Solo. As in my first very own home that is just mine (well, plus my kids). This is something I have never done before. I have always had a roommate/fiancé/spouse in the past. I am very excited to do lots of things with this home, and will probably share them here, and definitely over on Instagram.

Moving means downsizing. I currently live in the house purchased while I was married (3,300 square feet). It’s too much for me in upkeep and there are rooms no one even goes in. My new house is a condo at 1,800 square feet. There are things that are easy to downsize, furniture for example. It doesn’t have a room or space, out it goes to donations or to Craigslist. But what about the rest of the Stuff That Clutters Up Life? I have three big under bed type storage bins of fabric. I used to sew sometimes. I might again if I ever have any downtime (as a full time student taking 3-4 classes per term even over summer, that puts ‘free time’ landing in fall of 2022-23 if I decide to get my masters?)

The decision needs to be made in the next month what is moved and what goes to the charity shop. This is difficult. We all like stuff. Most of us have LOTS of stuff if we are honest, far more than we actually use or need. I started this journey towards less Stuff four years ago. I read about capsule wardrobes on Project 333. The idea, as most people know, is to limit themselves to a certain number of clothes every season (you can apply this to anything in life). To only wear and use those items. I did do that for awhile. But as time went on I felt myself slipping back into the ‘more stuff’. Now I have a more all-round closet because Seattle can mean sweaters in July sometimes. It’s simply easier to keep everything but the super summer clothes out and available  (hello shorts I rarely wear languishing in a  drawer next to that polka dot bikini).

Moving to a smaller space is going to be good in lots of ways. Smaller footprint means less to clean, less to heat, less to clutter up (and I’m pretty minimalist in décor, the majority of my decorative bookshelves have actual books on them and a few photos. Everything need to have a purpose.) As I continue to sort through things closet by closet, I find myself being happier the bigger the giveaway pile gets. It’s very freeing to look at something and say that it has no purpose in my life and should go to someone else. (I’m not a Marie Kondo follower. I tried to read her book years ago, I never made it through the whole thing.) I see how many things I’ve kept because it cost xx amount of money or I might use it ‘someday’, and it sits cluttering up a space and taking up room.

There are two big incentives to get this done.

One: all this stuff has to fit somewhere in the new house. There are only two big closets (besides bedroom closets). It’s not all going to fit.

Two: Every item has to be packed and moved. Every item that is packed and moved has to be paid to be packed and moved. I might as well shave a few dollars off my moving bill by having less Stuff!

As I posted about in my last post, I want to go Tiny in four and a half years (or at least into something 1,000 square feet or less). This downsizing is a step along the way. Essentialism by Greg McKeown is a book I’ve really enjoyed. It’s not about less physical stuff, but it’s about only doing things that have meaning to you, making choices to say no. We can all use some help in that area. I’ve listened to the audiobook and have the paperback book. I found the ideas in it that compelling. I also became pretty taken with this phrase from the book.

Weniger aber besser.

(Less but better, by Dieter Rams.)

Less but better. I’m looking forward to it.

Week Two Stateside

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We are two weeks in to being back in Seattle, and all around, we all feel like we never left. Our neighbors are still the same (with one baby addition), our house is still standing (if a bit less put together than when we left it {annoyed}) and we are loving the life we left. It has been a very busy two weeks:

  • Purchased kayaks and took them for their first test run {LOVE}
  • Finalized all the house renovations {and had to add new paint to the entire inside of the house, thanks to the last two years}, and demo is underway
  • Spent a lot of time driving to the library and checking out hordes of book for the Chick and myself {LOVE x a billion}
  • Rushed to the animal hospital at 11 pm (all’s well)
  • Bought a new car (hopefully picking it up this weekend)
  • and made more trips to Target than I actually expected to (nothings changed)

Even though we’ve been gone two years it really feels like no time has passed. I still remember how to get places (mostly), and I still get annoyed at the traffic, but it just feels So Dang Good to be back here. I think we have all finally found a place that definitely feels like home, and is home. For how often we have moved in the past, if 5 years down the road we were asked to move, I believe it would really be a tough sell {unless the destination was Tahiti…just saying}.

Yep, we love where we live, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.


still waiting for our 4th paddle to arrive, until then the girl gets to let dad do all the work!



All the things: birthdays & leaving London

I can hardly believe it but several things are taking place in the next 35! days that are pretty momentous in my life.

Item 1. My youngest turns 11. I could look at it like she’s growing up, wah!, or she’s pretty much in teenager mode, and it’s only 7 more years till I can make her move out. It really depends on the day and the attitude.


On top of the Cliffs of Mohr, Ireland

Item 2. I’m turning 40 in ten days. I’ve generally been fine with this, age is just a number, yada yada, and I’ve got far more important things going on right now to worry about it (see next item). That is until a friend who is giving a birthday dinner for me wrote in the email Andrea’s 40th Birthday Celebration, then I started freaking out a bit.

40 candles birthday cake 5265

But in almost 40 years I have lived in 3 countries and 6 US states, visited 18 countries (so far), and I have seen so many wonderful things I couldn’t even begin to describe them all. That’s not too bad considering most of the people I went to high school with still live in the town where I grew up. I caught the adventure bug early on and I think I’ve made the most of it.

Item 3. We are moving back to the US in 35 days and saying cheerio to London. I can’t even describe how happy I am about that. It isn’t that London has been the worst place I’ve ever lived (middle of nowhere central Kentucky has that honor), but would I choose to do it again? No, probably not. It is not lost on me that my dearest wish as a naive 18 year old was to live in a thriving city (the goal was NYC). I can now say that I have lived in a city, and the experience did not really agree with me. London is loud, dirty, crowded,  my neighbors are obnoxious, and I am very much looking forward to closing the door on this experience.


Taken June 27, 2015, our first weekend in London


from the bus

I will miss the art museums, Kew Gardens (which you’ll note isn’t technically IN the city), and even the tube. It is sometimes nice to get to a destination while watching a movie on your phone, or reading a book, instead of driving.

But mostly I miss the quiet solitude of our US home, with it’s deer walking down the street, and nothing but mountains and evergreen trees out the window.



Item 4. We are traveling to two different countries in the next two weeks (Scotland and Norway). I am quite excited about both. In Glasgow we will be visiting our tiny little 2 square feet of land that legal allows us to use the titles Lord and Lady. And no, I’m not joking. It’s part of this scheme (and there are other programs like it) used as a way to raise money to restore the castle on the grounds. I bought us the titles for our anniversary this year. They came with full fancy certificates with wax seals and everything. I’ve already started changing all my official documents to


It does have a nice ring to it (even if I have no idea how to pronounce it). The Husband has asked the children to call him Lord Father. So far, they aren’t complying. The cool part is that we are allowed to use them on legal documents. Something about that makes me happy.

It’s the little things.

The next 35 days will be so very, very busy. Saying goodbye to favorite places like Kew, the Italian restaurant in Notting Hill, and the Royal Academy. Making sure everything in the house has a designation for shipping: SEA, AIR, or SUITCASE. Selling off electronics, and storage closets; donating clothes, and books to the local charity shop. Making sure every single piece of paper you need for moving four people and a dog across two countries is filled out and stamped and sorted in triplicate.

35 days to go.


Five days to go


Yes, five days to go. This week goes something like this:

  •  The Boy graduates from middle school tonight (seriously?!)
  • It’s the second to last day of school (full of signing yearbooks, and in the Chick’s case going to the movies)
  • The movers arrive on Thursday. ThursDay. Friday night we sleep in a hotel and I’m not certain if we will ever sleep in this house again or not (we’ve made no real decisions about moving back into this house, though we will be moving back to Seattle. After London flat living, it’s going to seem way too big I think.)
  • We are down to five days till our plane tickets say we are supposed to be aboard. Even the dog is all set for her flight on Sunday. We still are missing THREE visas. I am trying not to completely freak out, and remember before we moved to Germany we only got plane tickets 3 days before we left. So miracles CAN happen. We have 30 day visas, supposed to arrive to us today, then we have to get our BRP (?) green cards once we arrive in London, picking them up from our local post office. We then use those to get in and out of the UK. The rules just literally changed as the Husband who got his visa in February doesn’t have one. He has a visa in his passport.
  • Have a million and one things to gather still, like medical records, and medicines, visit a notary so we can establish getting our mail forwarded, get Mocha her final vet checkup (praying that the vet doesn’t chuck out the papers the USDA stamped and sent back to them, because then my Scottish/Irish temper will be coming out in full force)
  • And have my children underfoot while the majority of this goes on.

What’s on your plate this week? I’m hoping mine doesn’t crack somewhere along the line, because I’m pretty sure the movers will have already packed the tape.

The great purge

So, I’m staring at the calendar and it is telling me we have


days until moving day. NineTeen. I can hardly believe it, both in the sense of what took so long?? and there’s only 19 days left to do ten thousand things  Both thoughts are bouncing in my brain.

I will say, we’ve accomplished a lot, the kids and I. We’ve sorted through all the games in playroom and marked out what goes to London and what goes to storage, and what straight up goes to donation. We’ve whittled down the same with regards to books and stuffed animals and dvds. I’ve tried to think of every possible thing we might need more of, like my favorite cleanser, or make-up, or shirts and shoes. You’d think we were moving to a third world country by the way I’m stocking up, instead of moving to central London.


I can’t help it. When I get nervous/panicked/anxious I shop, online, compulsively. I’m extremely good at finding bargains though, so at least there’s that silver lining. (I did, admittedly, enjoy telling the Husband I went to Lowes the other day. I could practically hear him canceling my debit card from 4,700 miles away.)

It keeps me from worrying about getting our visas on time (fingerprinting isn’t even until Monday, and it’ll take 5 days to get the actual visa. That’s cutting it very, very close in my eyes for a June 21st departure.) Either way there are 5 tickets for flights on June 21st (including the pups) so lets hope all of us are on them.

If not, maybe our tenants won’t mind if I spend a few days living in the house with them. You think?

I’ve also been compulsively studying the pictures the Husband took this week at the flat. Bless him, he even took photos of all the kitchen cupboards (above and beyond, as I only asked that he count the cupboards that weren’t hiding things like a dishwasher, trash, fridge or washing machine). This has been excellent. Now I have already planned where each item should go (dishes above the sink/dishwasher, baking dishes below the wall oven). Whether they actually end up there with movers all about and unpacking everything who knows. But at least I have a plan and list, and that is very calming indeed. (Sometimes I feel like my life is one giant series of post-it notes, because I can’t live without them everywhere, all over, in excess.)

Oh yes, our flat. It’s topnotch excellent. I’m loving the modern look of the kitchen with the glass walls with sliding doors to separate it from the dining/living rooms.


It’s all rather sleek, and I like that (even though I’d have to say at heart I’m secretly obsessed with French Country style, no idea why).


How long it will stay glossy white, I am not sure, but the type of cabinets they are (very European), they will at least be very washable. Which is a bonus with a dog who has a talent for getting nose-prints on everything.

The rest of the main space is very large and airy, I’m not sure if it’s actually too big or not, we’ll have to see how much we try to fit into these two plus rooms.


The furniture will be removed before we move in, as we plan to bring our own things.


There’s even a teeny tiny terrace for the pups to breathe in some fresh air.


The trees you see in this picture? Yeah, that’d be Hyde Park. And in Hyde Park is Kensington Palace. So, technically, we are neighbors of the royal family….

so to speak anyway.

The great purge and sticker sticking has begun around the house too. Everything like furniture or other large items have to be labeled with a sticker that says Air, Sea, or Storage. It is not as easy as you think to make all this:


Fit into the flat above. I do wonder if what we are sticking to storage, minus some furniture pieces, are things we even really need. Maybe like after all our moves, there will be a second purge, a blood-letting, a what-have-you.

Either way, it’s time to get back at it, slogging through art supplies, dishes, junk drawers, and a plethora of nearly empty shampoo bottles. What are you up to this Wednesday?