T.H and Jessica update us on what’s currently happening in their lives! They’re both moving and their experiences couldn’t be anymore different. Learn how the gals get ready to move and what they choose to pack up with them.
- Decluttering mementos: Who’s memories are these? T.H. is a “sentimental stockpiler” and Jessica is a “trasher.”
- Get your kids to join in the moving process! Let them get a pile of things they want to keep.
- Selling vs. storing: How to determine what to keep and what to let go
GUESTS: T.H. & JESSICA, exEXPERTS
Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re Jessica and T.H.
Jessica: Welcome to today’s podcast. We have been getting feedback saying that people really want to know what’s going on in our lives, not necessarily with the guests, but just the actual down and dirty for me and TH. So today, we’re going to be talking about just us, and where things are, and what we’re dealing with, to give you a glimpse inside the day of the life of the exEXPERTS. Thanks for joining us today.
TH: Hi, everybody. I told Jessica we should really talk about moving. Jessica has moved more than any human that I know and actually has enjoyed it, and still seems to have a smile on her face, even though she doesn’t legitimately have a place to put her underwear for the next three weeks. But anyway,
Jessica is moving and I’m selling my family home with my kids that I’ve had since I separated for the last 13 years. It’s a big deal, and the amount of stuff that we’ve accumulated is overwhelming. We’re going to get into that today.
Jessica: And that’s normal I think for so many people, especially if you’re in a situation where you end up getting divorced, and you’ve been in a home for a long period of time. You’ve got a lot of stuff. Even if you think you don’t live a big lifestyle and you think that you’re kind of more minimalist, it really does come down to the stuff and what you do with it. We’re going to break it all down today. TH is actually literally moving next week selling the house, and she’s been packing for weeks.
Where are you with your stuff?
TH: Well, first of all, I know not everyone’s seeing the video, but I encourage you to watch this on video so you can see the bulletin board behind me, but I must have 200 things posted to it. That’s just the tiniest bit of my stuff. I just threw out these huge blow ups that I had when my kids were each born with their announcement on it like the store on my front lawn, holding the package with my kids name and weight and date and time and all that stuff. I just threw it out. My daughter’s 21 and my son’s 19.
Jessica: You’re just a hoarder!
TH: I’m not–you see, no. Okay, so I think there’s a difference between hoarding and keeping. I keep emotional stuff. [You’re sentimental.] I don’t just buy shit to keep it around. For me, I’m very attached to–well, I did take it to an extreme as I now realize as I’ve cleaned it out, all their report cards, all their swimming reviews from camps, all their writing essays. I had them all beautifully organized by year.
Jessica: But why?
TH: I don’t know. I think that maybe when I was–I’m not sure why I did for Samantha except that she was my first child. I mean, her albums are gorgeous. Jason’s got like two, and Samantha’s got like 12. I don’t really know why.
Jessica: It’s because you’re sentimental.
TH: It’s just watching them grow up.
I think I was afraid I was going to forget. I think that’s the thing.
I really do look back at my life so many times and people remind me of stuff. I just say alright, well, if you say so. I can’t really remember, but that’s a great memory. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s more a matter of these are the things that I’m afraid I’m going to forget. And so I want every picture, I want every record, I want every accomplishment. I want all her trophies, all of their trophies, all their big milestones. And by the way, I think every milestone is a big milestone, which is part of the problem.
Jessica: Let me ask you a question because I am not a sentimental stockpiler.
TH: [Laughs] I’m a sentimental stockpiler.
Jessica: You are a sentimental stockpiler. That’s what we should call this episode. I was raised in a house where I kid you not, if you left something out for more than seven minutes, my mother would throw it away. I mean, yes, she has albums and stuff from when we were younger, but I don’t keep that kind of stuff. I appreciate it in the moment, and then I throw it away.
People give me birthday cards or anniversary cards or all of the–I’m like ah! It goes in the trash. I’m curious, when you grew up, did your mom keep a lot of that stuff for you and your brother?
TH: I don’t remember it one way or the other. I mean, I know now because I have everybody’s photographs in my house, that she–no, I don’t think she really kept stuff and my dad didn’t either. They kept major family pictures, but my grandmother did. When my grandmother died, I went through all of her photographs and all of her stuff. She was definitely more borderline hoarder but in terms of jewelry, photographs and shoes. Those were the things.
Jessica: I’m not even talking about photographs per se.
People who are listening, do you keep all of your kid’s report cards and all of their essays and all of their art projects and things like that?
I understand why when you’re a young parent, especially with the first, you have these things and it’s so cute or whatever. But it’s like, well, then there’s another essay, there’s another art project that’s coming down the pike. Don’t you remember, a few years ago when I was moving, and I was telling you that hilarious story of whatever it was that Zoe had made for me, that clay thing, and I had shoved it in the back of a cabinet somewhere and I was finally able to purge. This is when Leo and I were separating and I was throwing stuff out. She saw it in the box of things that I was getting rid of, and she was like, gasp! How could you be throwing this away? And I was like, oh my god. I didn’t even realize it was in there. And so I kind of was able to get around it. But then I moved everything into some kind of a garbage bag or something, and I didn’t realize she was going to come back. She went through the garbage bag and she found it again that I was throwing it out.
TH: I remember that.
Jessica: I was laughing so hard I was crying because there was just no getting around it. It was supposed to be a coffee mug. A) I don’t drink coffee or tea.
TH: She made a mug?
Jessica: In pottery. The opening of the mug was maybe a two inch hole. You could have probably fit–even though it was tall, it was probably like a shot glass.
TH: Oh my god.
Jessica: Right. I’m like, what am I going to keep this for? Anyway, I digress, but I think it’s interesting that you keep all that stuff.
TH: Wait, so where is it now?
Jessica: I threw it away!
TH: Oh my god, you still threw it away?
Jessica: I threw it away.
TH: Oh, I would have had guilt!
Jessica: No, I have no guilt. Mother of the year right here. I have no guilt. I have no shame about any of that.
And because I have moved so much over the past year, selling our apartment, separating, moving into a temporary rental, buying this apartment, being here for a couple of months, getting the renovation plans approved, and now looking for another temporary place where I’m going to have to move for seven months, my shit’s been in boxes for so long. There’s no way she would ever remember. She may not know that I threw it out, but by the time everything comes back out of storage, it’ll have been a year–
TH: You better hope she doesn’t remember.
Jessica: She’s never going to remember.
TH: All you had to keep was a little shot glass pottery mug.
Jessica: Well, that’s the only thing that she saw that I was getting rid of. I mean–
TH: Right. Right.
Jessica: Okay, back to you and your moving (experience).
TH: What I did so that I wouldn’t feel guilty, and to also help me get rid of this stuff, I told my kids this is your pile, this is your pile, and this your pile. You guys look through it. You read what you wrote, it’s kind of cool, whatever, see how far you’ve come, and chuck what you don’t want. I kept one bowl from each kid. Over the years, how many pottery bowls do you get? I kept their plates. I have their hand prints. I go, you guys do you want. Jason goes, well, can we just smash it? I go, well, that’s a little brutal, but you could do whatever you want with it. He’s like, yeah, just chuck it. Just throw it hard in the garbage bag. I’m like, okay. Then the other thing that was really interesting, because I’ve been going through pictures, and I obviously have a lot with their dad of pictures, albums, wedding album, and video.
I asked one of my daughters–well, actually, sorry, I told my kids that I have a big bin of all these great pictures of their dad and of me. One daughter said to me, those are not my memories, you can throw them out.
Jessica: Can we just pause?
Jessica: Let that sink in. I feel that’s actually so wise and such an interesting perspective to come from a 20 year old. Those are not my memories. It’s something for people to think about. We marry people and we have these relationships, and they could be short term, or they could be more than 25 years, or whatever it is. But I just think that that’s a really important message for people to hear. You may be getting divorced, and you may be feeling bad about getting rid of certain mementos and things like that for the sake of your kids.
But the truth is it’s worth asking your kids because if that’s how your kids feel about it anyway. That’s so interesting. Those aren’t her memories.
TH: Well, that was one of them. My youngest, my son, said he doesn’t even remember us being together because he was four. He goes, it doesn’t matter to me. But that was his reason why. And then my middle daughter’s a keeper. I actually spoke to my therapist about it, because they’re all still pretty young. They haven’t gone through their lives. They don’t have children and all that. I’m actually keeping the wedding album, and I have picked about a dozen photographs. It’s just pictures of the two of us. Anything that has any of my kids in it, I gave to them. This is just me and him, about a dozen, I put them in the wedding album, and everything else I chucked. My daughter was right, those are my memories. And actually, it’s been hard for me to look back and think that I was ever happy with him, because the unhappiness definitely was suffocating, so it’s hard. I can look at a picture, but I can’t feel it inside. I don’t feel any joy looking at those pictures. I’m just like, I don’t know who the hell that is in that picture. But it was interesting looking back now, 13 years post, and saying, okay, I was happy for a while. I mean, these pictures, I had a natural big smile. You can tell if someone’s faking it or not. And I did, I had a big smile. Those are the pictures that I kept for my kids.
Jessica: That’s nice.
TH: And anyway, I got rid of two big Rubbermaids instead of one little box with a thing in it. What I also did was I gave each of my kids one of those photo boxes from HomeGoods. I said, you keep the pictures you want to keep, and I’m putting in a few that I think are awesome. They each have a box with their baby book, and photograph album, and a bunch of other things.
Jessica: That’s actually a great tip for my stuff, for people who are trying to figure out clearing out, moving on, for a next step.
If you have kids, and you’re not sure what to do, that’s a great idea. Get a box for each kid, put their stuff in it, and things you think that they may appreciate, and at least it hasn’t been thrown away. Whether or not they choose to keep it for the long term later on, they can totally decide. That’s actually a really good idea.
As you’re talking, I’m thinking back. I wish I had my wedding video. I was with Darren yesterday, and he was actually asking me if I still have it. I don’t know, because–aging ourselves yet again, I think it was on VHS tape.
TH: It was.
Jessica: I don’t know if I still have mine. He goes, well, I’m sure your parents have a copy. I’m like, not anymore they don’t! He’s like, oh, right, right, right. That was kind of funny. But I’m remembering in my wedding video, and I don’t know what they do these days for wedding videos, but back in our day, there was that photo montage leading up to the actual–and then it was a montage of pictures of me from when I was a baby through my childhood, through college, meeting Darren, and then Darren and I together for the five years, and then to the wedding. It’s good that your kids have stuff. They won’t really need the pictures of you and Kevin per se because it would be more pictures about the kids, but I feel like there may come a time in their lives–
TH: That’s what I’m saying. Where they’re going to want to show their kids–
Jessica: Right, exactly, or whoever gets those pictures. That’s just a great organizational tip. Get a box for each kid, and put pictures in it and mementos that you think are going to be meaningful for them that may have been with you and your soon-to-be or existing ex.
TH: Another tip is, I will get them for you, are these Ziploc big bags. They’re like Ziploc bags on steroids. I can only find them at Target. That way you can see everything that’s in it.
I have one that has all my workout pants in it. I have one that has–
Jessica: Are these the ones with the vacuum stuff?
TH: These you just push the air out of it. They’re not vacuum sealed, but at least you can see what’s in it. Also for my clothing and stuff that I’m even putting in storage, I’m putting it in a Ziploc bag in a box. I don’t have to rummage through the box, and it says workout stuff, like what’s in there. I can just pull out the bag, and I can see what’s actually in there. Those bags are awesome.
My third tip in doing all this is to sell.
Jessica: You’re the expert at that.
TH: Well, there’s so many easier ways to sell now. Now, Facebook has all these online garage sales, so I sold a bunch of stuff to these people. Then we have the Jewish Standard here and there are guys who place ads and they say they buy antiques and they buy jewelry. I called some of those guys because I do have quite a bit of stuff from my great grandmother and my mother. He came and he bought so much stuff. Then I’m doing a tag sale, but I know I’m not going to get what I’m getting from these other places for the tag sale because she’s going to take 30%. Even if I sold it for $1,000, that’s in my pocket. I would say see what you can sell on your own that’s big stuff. Don’t worry about the little crap. But all my outdoor furniture, my wicker furniture, couches, that kind of airs out your house. Totally do that. It’s so easy to do on Facebook in those groups. And then everything else I don’t sell I just donate.
Jessica: How do you even find the groups on Facebook?
TH: You go into groups and then there’s a search on top. You’ve got to type in garage sale, yard sale, and all the groups with that in it will come up, usually in your neighborhood. I think you can fix based on your zip code. Of course Facebook knows where I live. For me, it’s Westchester, New Jersey, Bergen County. You can list in 20 different groups, so I listed in 20 different groups. I also told people on my Facebook page that I was selling stuff. Kids are graduating college and lots of people are moving. They might want to buy a coffee table. By the time they buy three from Target, every year you have to get a new one because it’s going to fall apart. Anyway, for resale and stuff, you can definitely do it. Even if you’re not internet savvy, Facebook makes it very easy.
Jessica: That’s great. That’s great. I mean, my moving situation is totally different. My stuff went into storage I’m going to say eight or nine months ago. It’s going to be in storage for another seven or eight months because I bought a new apartment that needs to be renovated. I need to move out and I need to find a temporary rental. In an ideal situation, I’d find it furnished rental. Also, I have some big furniture pieces that I just don’t think will fit in like a cookie cutter rental that I’ll probably end up finding. And I think you have to decide how much wear and tear do you want on your furniture to be moved in and out of the moving storage space. Some of my stuff I just don’t want moved around that much. I’ve been living out of boxes.
TH: I know. I don’t know how you do that. It would drag me nuts. I like everything put away.
Jessica: It’s not good. I mean, I have stuff hanging in the closet, and I have some shelves. This is all rental furniture. I did rent a dresser. Zoe was looking for band aids the other day, and I’m like, oh, I think in the box under that box like over in that–. I have boxes under my desk here. I have boxes you can probably see in the back.
TH: Other than your big furniture in storage, don’t you feel the ancillary stuff that you put in storage if you’ve been away from it all this time, and you don’t miss it. Do you really need to bring it back in?
Jessica: No, because the stuff that I have–are you talking about clothing?
TH: No. Well, clothing you have seasonal, but I don’t know; lamps and dishes? Is there anything that you have in storage that you don’t miss that maybe you don’t have to bring back in again?
Jessica: No. I’m renting kitchen equipment here. I have rented forks and knives.
TH: Oh my gosh, I didn’t know about that.
Jessica: All of my shit’s in storage. So no, I don’t think so. I’m going to go with 98-99% of the stuff I have in storage is stuff that I need when I’m able to bring it back in and set everything up. Those are my bedside table lamps. No, I don’t want to buy a new light. I don’t want to buy a new chandelier over my dining room table or a new lighting fixture to go in the foyer. I want to use the same stuff that I’ve had.
I think I did a really good purge clothing-wise before I moved.
It’s funny, I actually realized a couple of weeks ago, since everything is in storage longer than anticipated, that I didn’t have a lot of my summer stuff. I had to call the mover and I was like, hey, listen, I actually need to get some shit out of storage and I need to give you some other stuff. Anyway, I had an idea of what I was looking for. He comes over, he brings me some boxes, and I open it up. I’m like, oh, this isn’t really what I was looking for. I was looking for X, Y or Z. And he told me, well, these are the only boxes in storage that were labeled this. I’m like, oh, maybe I actually did purge that stuff before I moved and maybe I don’t really need it. The only stuff that I think that’s in storage right now that I might not need, I still have a wardrobe box filled with my TV work clothes, my suits, my work dresses. There’s a part of me that’s like, it’s a big investment that box and what’s in there. I feel the pant suits I likely will keep. I do think to some extent, by the time I get that stuff out, I almost think the dresses probably maybe won’t be in style, and I don’t wear that stuff anymore. I probably have a little bit of clothing that I can then get rid of, but what I’m actually more thinking is I have stuff in this apartment that’s in boxes, and I haven’t opened those boxes. It’s not clothing. It is office supplies and work stuff and a lot of my essential oil stuff. I’m not sure if those are ancillary things, because the way that I’m conducting my business now is a little bit different. I feel like all of the oil stuff that I’m using on a daily basis when I’m working with clients and going through that kind of stuff is here under my desk.
TH: Right, that’s all you need.
Jessica: I feel I have some equipment in another room. But look, I mean, I would say to anybody, living out of boxes does suck. But at the end of the day, the idea of moving, which I understand for a lot of people can be overwhelming. I have moved probably 25 times in 30 years, so I’m kind of a pro at it.
But I will say you have to keep your eyes on the prize. It’s a short term pain for long term gain.
I’m going to have to go and move into this temporary apartment and somewhat live out of boxes for another seven months. In grand total, it’ll have been a year and a half of transition for me, from having left the apartment that we sold, into my new renovated apartment. But I’m kind of like, alright, but I’m 49, and in 20 years from now, that year and a half is going to be a blip on the radar.
I just think it’s really important for people to focus on the fact that break it down, really understand what the impact is going to be long term on your life, in the grand scheme of your life. That’s how I look at a lot of things, as you know, in my life, whether it’s my relationships or whatever. But with moving and your stuff and what to do with your stuff, it doesn’t all have to be done at once. Moving is a great opportunity to clean things out, clear your head, clear your space, clear everything. You may have been dressing for a certain number of years in a way that you feel isn’t really how you’re feeling these days.
Now is the time that you have the opportunity for a fresh clean start. But just recognize that life moves really fast. We’re over in a second. And so even if there is a period of transition and pain and all of the feelings that we go through with all of this, you will look back and be like, thank god, I did all of that.
That year and a half was nothing because look where I am now. That’s what I’m focused on right now, how awesome is this apartment going to be next February.
TH: I think that it makes you have a hard look at yourself. What do you really need? What do you want? And what do you really need? I really do love the photographs of my kids and family. I love them.
I’m putting them in these boxes, and who knows about ever look at them again. I actually have most of them, since we got iPhones, are in Shutterfly albums. So shout out to Shutterfly. But those are the things that I really look at a lot because I keep them out. But also just take your time. I had a lot of stuff because my grandmother and mother always entertained, that I have never used in this house. It’s been sitting in a box. I went right to this thrift store near me. What I liked about this store is that they take the proceeds and donate them to a certain charity of your choice. They cover about 50 charities in the area. So for me, it’s the Center for Hope and Safety. They sell everything. I literally dropped it off, and they sell everything. I feel good about it because I know the proceeds are going directly there. It’s not like you’re waiting for it to find a cure for Alzheimer’s or something, which is also good. But what I’m saying is donate it to where it feels good. My dining room table has a lot of history behind it, but it’s not something that we want in our new home. My kids aren’t old enough to use it. These gentlemen came over yesterday and he’s going to help me find a family to donate it to because I would rather not take $500 for it at a tag sale. I’d rather just let a family sit around it, break bread over it, and have great memories around it. That’s what I want to do with that. So just figure it out and start early. As soon as you know you’re going to move, or maybe it’s just an opportunity to clean out some shit, and it’s too hot outside or too cold. Go into it a little time otherwise it is super overwhelming anyway. You have way more stuff than you even realize.
Jessica: My last thing I’m going to say before we wrap it up is also, just based on what you were saying about the dining room table, for anybody listening, and we’ve all been there, we all know what it’s like to get kind of like random odds and ends from our parents and from other people. I mean, I lived for a lot of years–the stuff was nice, but none of it really went together. None of it was really my aesthetic and it didn’t necessarily fit. And so I was living in apartments that had a mishmash of well, this is a new couch we bought, and this coffee table was from my ex in-laws.
TH: Oh my god, that’s totally my house except for two rooms.
Jessica: Right. And I think a lot of people listening can relate to that. You have stuff that’s sort of been passed down to you and you’re like, well, I don’t really feel like spending the money on a new dining room table so I’m just going to keep using this.
But when you have the opportunity for a fresh start, if you are in a position where you feel like you have a little bit of a budget to spend, I highly recommend saying goodbye to some of the things that you feel you’ve been just dragging around over the course of years. Because when you feel like you live in a space that really represents who you are and how you’re feeling and what your taste and your aesthetic is, it really does clear a lot off of your shoulders and out of your mind. I felt bad because my mother was like, oh my god, I can’t believe you’re going to get rid of that armoire.
TH: She’s telling you that when she would throw out stuff that was sitting on the floor? Armoires are the worst thing to get rid of.
Jessica: Yeah, but what I would say to her is, do you want it back then? You gave it to me because you don’t want it. I don’t want it, so what do you want me to do with it? Don’t always feel you have to feel guilty. Even if you have heirlooms that might be antiques, it’s like okay, but if you don’t like antiques, and you have a more modern sense of style, just–
TH: Move on.
Jessica: You have the right, without feeling guilty, of getting rid of anything that you don’t want to get rid of, that you can afford to get rid of, and replace in a way that’s going to make you smile every time you see it. So that’s just–
TH: I mean you can always sell it. You don’t have to donate any of it. There is a market on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook groups.
Jessica: Oh, no, but still, sometimes what you can sell it for isn’t going to be enough to actually buy a replacement. But I’m just thinking if you have the budget to do it, sell it, donate it, whatever, but don’t feel like now that you’re getting divorced and moving on, that you are caged and that your only option is to take all the stuff that you and your spouse had accumulated over the years, some of what you just may not even like.
TH: Well, we should do another podcast about creating your own space. Because even if you do have other people’s stuff in there, like make the bedding stuff that you love. If you know that’s not a huge expense, you can go to HomeGoods, you can buy candles, and you can have a doTERRA diffuser, whatever.
You can find a way to make a space that’s your own. Let’s do that in another podcast, making your own space.
But if you guys have any questions about our moves, Jessica is a city girl, and gone from apartment to apartment, and I’ve been in two homes for my adult life, 13 years each. We have very different experiences with this and like she said, she’s a thrower-outer and I’m a sentimental what?
TH: Stockpiler. We’ve got you covered, so ask us your questions and let’s talk about it.
Jessica: Feel free to go on all of our other podcasts. You can find everything and exEXPERTS. You can go on to the website www.exexperts.com. Our Instagram is up, our Facebook page, and you can write into us and let us know your questions and what you want to hear from us next.
TH: Thanks for joining.
Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exExperts. Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube. Thanks for listening!