" post is any good without an after post! So here are a few pics of our home after the purge! If you want to travel and need to Airbnb
your house to make it happen, I think this is a wonderful exercise in cleaning up shop, mainly because you have a deadline!!! I had no choice but to get this done! I had to take some images before I left because I don't know when the house will look THIS GOOD again! I was truly so proud of all we did to organize everything and get rid of the things we don't love or need.
Okay, first of all, can we just pretend that my last post wasn't over 3 years ago when my first child was born? I am slightly embarrassed but also truly proud of myself that I have been so focused on work and the kids for the past few years. Blogging has just been my very last priority. Secondly, I can't believe I am about to share these images with you! These images show our house in a serious state of chaos before we threw away around 20 bags of trash and took around 30 bags to Goodwill! Then we packed everything up and put it in the attic and moved to a small 1 bedroom home on John's Island and now we are living in Buenos Aires for 2 months. When I tell people this, they are like " say what???" So, I have been nudged by a lot of my friends to write about this journey and have also gotten a lot of questions about what we are up to and how exactly we made this happen. My hope is to share practical tips on how to travel with the toddler set, inspire other moms and families and of course, most importantly, journal this trip for myself and my family. Win-win-win.
So here goes...the story goes like this: our cousins are moving to Charleston from Columbia and needed a place to rent and could not find a perfect rental property! So Steph and I figured, why not rent our house to them and go somewhere AMAZING??? I wish I could have recorded the first conversation we had about this idea....we were throwing out all sorts of places...Singapore, Austria, New Zealand. Pretty soon into the conversation, we agreed that Steph would have to work and therefore we would like to be in the same time zone as the stock market, if possible, so he wasn't working in the wee hours of the night. His Partner had been to Buenos Aires and loved it and so we latched onto that idea. The more I read about it, the more I loved it. Buenos Aires is considered the "Paris of South America"....and since I studied in Paris, this idea sounded heavenly to me! So the seed was planted. We called my cousins no more than 1 minute after that lunch and they said "YES, your home is perfect for us"! And so our journey began. We had around 2 months to get everything together but this was right around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we were busy with work and hosting our families. It wasn't until the week after Christmas that we started to pack everything up...it's insane but I gave myself 2 weeks to get everything done. I figured if I was going to pack up our house, I might as well CLEAN at the same time, so I used the Kon Mari Method
, which worked like a dream for me! Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
? I loved and read it twice, it's a guide for how to declutter and reorganize every item in your house and only live with the things that spark JOY! I love this idea. Why live with a bunch of junk we dislike? I really did hold things in my hand and thank them for serving me in whatever capacity and then let the object go away! I was like " thank you, awesome sweatshirt that I rocked in college, we had a good go, thank you". It was awesome. Once I was on a roll, I got better and better at it and I really felt like a weight was lifted. Here are a few pics below of the crazy mess. Here is our front foyer - I cleaned out our closets top to bottom, there was so much junk in there!!!
Also, please pardon the iPhone photos, I had no idea I would be blogging about this. I do hope that by sharing this, I can be helpful to you and can inspire you to take an ambitious trip of your own with your family! Also, please pardon my writing, most of my friends are English majors and will attack me for placement of semi-colons. I have vowed to write this during down times on this trip, when my kids are sleeping or when I want to escape to a coffee shop. It's so important to me that I am engaged with my family during this time, so I'll be typing quickly during these little breaks. xoxo Char
I used our dining room for sorting...
I used my daughter's room for sorting baby clothes. I basically had 2 piles: keep and give away. If it was special, I saved it, if it no longer brought me joy, I gave it away. I even gave away things that had value...this is the hardest thing to do with the Kon Mari method, in my opinion. I found myself saying "but that cost me $50", or whatever....you just need to let it go, you will feel so much better when you let it go and some other child will get to use and love that object and that can make your heart happy. You can always sell things too, I just didn't have any time to do so.
Here is our bedroom....on another note, who wants to decorate it for us? I haven't done a thing to this room, it's a blank slate!
Here is my Mom sorting through our kitchen cabinets (thank you Mom!). It really helps to have people help you with this daunting task. My Mom sorted this stuff, I have no idea what she got rid of and I am okay with that, I probably won't miss the old vitamins and tea!
We found some crazy stuff in the house, old costumes from my photo booth, $50 in coins, 7 iPod shuffles, which is crazy. I am so grateful for the help of our nanny (and friend), Bradleigh. Luckily my Mom was in town so she could watch the kids while I sorted through my house. If you can afford it, I recommend you hire someone who is not attached to your stuff to help you sort through everything! Bradleigh helped me get rid of SO MUCH and she was so considerate when she would gently tell me something was outdated. Thank you, Happy!!!
Here's my son's room, it's actually not that messy here, but a few hours after this photo we had boxes all over the place. I went room by room and the kids ended up having 2 large Sterlite boxes each that went into the attic. That's it! Two boxes of their clothes and personal items, everything else went away! It will be so easy to bring things down from the attic and unpack because there really isn't much up there!
I did become a crazy hanger lady by the end. I was like "GET THAT PLASTIC HANGER OUT OF HERE"....I did kind of become insane, as our nanny can attest.
If you have a busy husband like I do (also one who doesn't like to pick up after himself), I recommend laying everything out on the bed for him in categories (suits, shirts, polos, shorts, etc)...and putting big bins next to the bed. Make him go through each piece until it's all sorted. I recommend the bed because he can't get in it until he sorts through it!!! Get it done and don't move the pile!
I'm not sure how I ended up with so many cameras but I have a zillion! I guess when you become a photographer, people just drop off their old cameras at your house!
Here are our 7 shuffles. We actually charged 2 for this trip just to see what happens when we turn it on...like, what year did we make that mix???
We accomplished a complete purge and clean of the house in 2 weeks and just in the knick of time to hand over the keys to my very anxious and excited cousins! There is nothing like moving to make you become the most organized person in the world!
!!! Thank you so, so much for this amazing Super 8
of Graham's arrival into this world! What a wonderful gift you have given us, Graham, Graham's children and Graham's grandchildren. You have created a family heirloom and we will cherish this always. I will never forget watching this on Christmas morning with you...every time I watch this film it brings tears to my eyes. This has been the best time of our entire lives. Thank you for being such a wonderful brother and now an amazing Uncle! Grahamie loves you so! Love, Char, Steph and G
If you missed the hyperlink above, click here
to watch a sweet little Super 8mm film that my brother created for us documenting our new family of three.
Merry Christmas and happy new year from our family to yours!!! Our family portrait was taken once again by my talented friend Gayle Brooker
. Thanks, Gayle! I am SO happy to have these photos of our little family, they are so special! xoxo, Char, Steph, Graham, Lexi and Augustin ("Goose")