Thursday, August 4, 2011

Goodbye, Furniture (It's Never Too Late to Heed Late Advice)

Shortly after Krissy and I started dating, her father gave me some great advice: after graduating college, wait as long as possible to buy any furniture. The logic is that furniture is easy to buy, but hard to get rid of and even harder to move around, and when you are young, it is nice to be mobile. It is fantastic advice and made perfect sense the moment I heard it. I even recently repeated it to my little sister, who just graduated from college. Unfortunately, my father-in-law's sage words came several years too late, as I had graduated college several years earlier and had already accumulated all sorts of bulky furniture. So, as opposed to being able to go out and heed the advice, I was instead resigned to suffer the effects of having not done so, all while fully appreciating just what I was missing out on. For example, when we were living in Chicago, we were in a pretty terrible apartment. Sewage in the lobby, noisy neighbors, no hot water 10% of the time, etc. We'd have loved to move to another apartment, but we just couldn't pull it off. Moving all of our belongings and furniture to another apartment, even one in the same neighborhood, would have consumed several days of work and hundreds of dollars--time and money that we did not have. If only my father-in-law had gotten to me in time, we'd have been able to move from one furnished apartment to another almost at will. It would have been great. But, alas, his wisdom appears to extend only to substance and not to timing.

One of the nicest things about moving onto a boat is that we are forced to get rid of all of our furniture and bulk. And, because we'll be on a boat, we will almost always be in a position to move without packing a single box. Don't like our neighbors? We move to another slip in the marina in little more than five minutes. Don't like our neighborhood? We move to a new one in an hour. Job moves to a new part of town? So do we. Etc, etc. It will be nice not to be chained down to the same address, for sure.

In preparation for our coming move, we held a garage sale this weekend, and I am pleased to announce that we have finally heeded my father-in-law's advice and are now free from the tyranny of furniture. I was worried that our furniture would not sell, but thanks to aggressive early birds, 90% of it was gone before our sale was even supposed to open. The only piece of furniture that remains is this sad, lonely wine rack:

I thought I priced it pretty aggressively, but apparently not aggressively enough. Or maybe it doesn't fit in with the plush decor that seems to be popular here in Kentucky. In any case, it still sits in our now-empty garage, and it will soon be making the short journey to Goodwill in the back of our car.

It feels strange to know that we now own only one piece of furniture. Strange, and also painful--all we have to sit on is our hard, wood floor. Our townhouse used to be filled with furniture, most of which we had been painfully dragging along from one city to another for years. Now, just a $40 wine rack that will be gone in a few days. I must say, it feels very freeing to know that we could throw everything we own into our compact hatchbacks and drive away if we desired.

And, as luck would have it, we'll be doing just that on Saturday.


  1. Leia and I were talking the other night about your mass sell off.... It has inspired Leia to begin planning a sale of our own next spring. I imagine we will have a lot of time inside this winter to go through the numerous boxes in the basement and decide what needs to go and what we can live without.

  2. It is a great feeling to sell your unused things to people who will appreciate them. Plus, even when you sell most things for a dollar or two, the money really adds up. I suspect there may be a thing or two you really want that you could buy with the proceeds... Good luck!

  3. You know I have this sort of bizarre attachment to furniture that I'm trying to deal with. Our huge couch has to go. But I have a hard time parting with things that Jeff and I purchase early on in our marriage. Additionally my children have spent half of everyday jumping on it. Wish I'd had the sage advice of Krissy's dad years ago. Where I come from people collect furniture and never part with it. Just this summer I pulled a few pieces of furniture out of a closet in my mom's house wondering why in the world she filled a closet with furniture. But honestly, I really want this couch to be with us forever. I want to hold on to the memories of our little boys. Maybe it is because my memory is so horrible that it takes something the size of our couch to remind me. But couches are too big to be keepsakes. Nonetheless, I am going to grieve when this couch goes.

  4. I feel your pain LuAnn! It is really hard to let go of things that have so many memories attached to them. The one thing I could not let go of when we downsized was my collection of cards & letters that my family and friends have sent me over the years. Reading them is hilarious! I think I may scan them in order to have an electronic backup in case something were to happen to them, but I am for sure keeping the originals.

  5. I envy you. I haven't tried traveling with furniture in a boat. But it's okay, Lu Ann, at least you still own a piece. So how's life in Kentucky?

    Gerry Bossier

  6. Thanks for your comment, Gerry. So far, the (few) pieces of furniture we have on the boat are working out well. We're no longer in Kentucky though - we're on our boat in Florida.