10 Tips for Starting Fresh & Decluttering

0CCE6210-F856-460F-9296-CC4FBB147C2FDo you have a lot of stuff in your home that’s weighing your mood down? Is it preventing your home from its full potential? Do you find it hard to relax when you’re home?

Are you thinking about getting rid of everything and starting over somewhere new?

You’ve come to the right place! Here are 10 tips for decluttering your space.

You can use these tips for something as simple as...

simply decluttering your permanent space in which you currently dwell.

Or for something more extreme, like...

getting rid of practically everything you own and never turning back.

That being said, let me tell you a little about myself – the extreme method!

At the end of April, my husband and I will be moving out of our 2 bedroom duplex and far far away from Minnesota.

Let me be a little more clear… we are getting rid of all of our stuff and we’re going to drive our car across the country and pursue the life of a traveling surgical tech (similar to that of a traveling nurse… and I’m comin’ too). We’ll be living in various furnished places – months at a time – and then moving onto the next!

You can read more about our move here & here.

Whether you’ve chosen to stick with your current home, or to jump into something new, we’ve compiled this list of dos & don’ts that will help you declutter and rid yourself of the messy sticky stuff surrounding your presence at home.

  1. Don’t Let Yourself get Overwhelmed
    I say this to myself everyday. You cannot get stressed. It ONLY makes things worse. Imagine: a chicken with its head chopped off running around a pile of clothes – that’s you as a stressed person with all of your crap in your house.

    • The absolute best way to sort this chaos within your head is to make a calendar. DO IT.
    • Use a gigantic poster board, fill out a planner, use a regular plain old 8.5 x 11 printer paper. No matter the medium, it will help you organize your goals and figure out how you will do everything.
    • Tip: Have your household brainstorm & compile ideas for things you can get done slowly over time. Or just do it on your own! Pick dates for goals. Throw the to-do ideas on the calendar and cross ’em off when completed!


  1. Keep More Money
    Save as much money as possible. Make as much money as possible. Pay off your debts. Get a second job. Become a ride share driver. Lower your cost of living. Buy cheaper groceries (dry goods, cheaper grocery store, & bulk sections).

    • Todd & I made goals awhile back that we’d pay off our credit card, medical bills, and blah blah blah boring adult stuff like that before we move.
      Our thoughts are, “A fresh financial start will feel so good without all the money woes.”


  1. Get Rid of Things You Don’t Need
    Yeah OBVI! That’s what this post is about.
    So, you gotta scentsy warmer? some crusty scuba gear you never use? broken laundry baskets that have stabbed you x too many times? a handful of spoons that are a little scraped up on the sides and it makes eating cereal relatively miserable? books you will never re-read? a sad dead plant? a bowed out mirror that makes you look like tweedle dum? $3 Mossimo shirt you got because it was $3 and it somehow got shorter and wider? an IKEA LACK table that you have literally never cared about? GET IT OUT ALL OF YOUR LIFE.

    • Better yet, ask yourself “is this a practical item that i need long term? does it have extremely sentimental value? is it irreplaceable?” was the answer no? you know what to do.
    • Keep the letters, pictures and the art people made you. Stuff like that IS irreplaceable!! Todd & I have a little box full of sentimental stuff and I don’t think I could ever get rid of it. Emphasis on little box.


  1. Pay Attention to what You Use
    Throughout your daily life, ask yourself: “Is this something I know will be handy and I will want to use a lot?”
    Make a list as you go of these things you know you’ll really want to keep.

    • As I was getting dressed, I thought, “this flannel is a comfortable layer and it goes great with almost everything I own – I think I’ll keep this”, or, “this pullover is very warm and I can see myself having it long-term and getting good use out of it.”
    • I used my food processor – “this is replaceable and I don’t need it in the immediate future – I plan on getting rid of it.”


  1. Make a Budget
    Sounds boring, but it’s actually secretly fun and it makes things seem ALOT more approachable and goal oriented – just like making that calendar. Make an ongoing budget / list of items you know you will most likely need to buy.

    • For us, we will be camping between our living destinations. So we will need to scout out some essentials (i.e. sleeping bag, organizing tubs for the car, dry goods, emergency kits, etc.)
    • For you, this could mean getting good quality furniture that can help you organize things you do want to keep.


  1. Sell Sell Sell
    Use local Facebook groups (safer and more personal than craigslist), OfferUp, and even eBay if you’re willing to put in extra effort for shipping.

    • For example, today I posted 12 items in a Facebook group and made around $150. It is way easier than you think!
    • It brings in extra money and it feels so empowering to get rid of it AND have some extra cash in your pocket. Record and note how much money you’re pulling in from all this – you’ll be surprised.


  1. Donate
    Donate what you can’t sell. There are plenty of drop off locations + centers that would love to be graced by your beloved belongings!


  1. Start with Small Goals
    You’ll feel accomplished when you reach smaller goals.
    You’ll also be motivated to accomplish more!

    • Ex: On 12/4/2018, I will get rid of 5 clothing items.
    • Ex: On 12/6/2018, I will take pictures and post my old bike on Offer Up.


  1. Don’t Procrastinate
    Waiting until the last minute = putting yourself in a bad position on purpose. Why would you do that to yourself?!

    • You get to decide how smoothly this transition will go! So make it harmonious!


  1. Trust the Process
    It will all work out and it will feel so invigorating to have a fresh clean slate.

    • Have cold feet? Sometimes I feel nervous about our move. In the end, I have to trust that everything that happens to me is the best thing that can happen to me!



Life Moves – by Emily

When Todd & I lived in California, we knew we wanted to leave our city. We were offered the opportunity to move here – Rochester, Minnesota – and we jumped on it. We knew that if he worked as a surgical tech for a few years at the hospital here, we would have the ability to move anywhere.

Living in Minnesota has been such a great (also way too cold at times) experience, but we  can’t pretend it’s a long-term stay for us.


So here we are, it’s getting close to the 2 year mark – and we’ve decided what’s next. I’m so excited & nervous! I keep getting the chills just thinking about it!

In short, we’re going to temporarily live everywhere for who-knows-how-long.

You’re probably thinking, “uhhhh, what?” – Here’s how its going down:

Todd’s going to pursue a career of being a traveling surgical tech. This means we’ll be living in different places (of choice) for about 3 months at a time. In the meantime, my plan is to work as a substitute teacher during the school year & at other fun, part-time jobs until I figure out what I really want to do (that’s another blog post to come).


Where do we want to go?

As of now, the Pacific Northwest is calling. Or Northern California. Luckily, we get to pretty much choose where we’d like to go. We’ll find out 4-6 weeks in advance and then we’ll head over! Portland, OR is the dream at this point, but we are willing to settle for other NW coastal areas, too.

So what does this mean for me?

This means A LOT for me. I feel like this is opening a lot of doors. I feel like I’ll be able to pursue a lot of more of my hobbies and things I enjoy doing. I can bike, run, create, blog, be outside, challenge myself, etc.. Also, in my last post I explained how I want everything to be changing all the time. To be honest, I feel like this is opening the door for me to finally    B E   M Y S E L F and discover my identity.

How do I feel about it all?

More than anything – I am beyond excited. I’m shaking right now because I’m so ready for this. This is what I want – I know it. And I’m so grateful to be doing this with Todd. I also feel very nervous & scared for multiple reasons. One is that I’m putting my plans out there and telling friends, family, and potentially the whole world. That’s legitimately scary for me because… what if the plans don’t follow through? what if we fail? what will people think? are we making a stupid decision?

I know the answer to all of these questions. It’s “who cares?”, but the doubts still lurk a little & it’s hard to ignore them in these beginning stages.

Seriously though, I don’t actually care what people think. This is what. I. want. – most importantly! And I’m excited!

What are we going to do with all of our stuff? What will we pack & bring with us?

This also makes me nervous + excited. We are debating between two things:

  1. Get rid of some of our stuff (donate + sell)
    • clothes, bulky furniture, books, bedding, kitchen stuff
    • keep our bed, a few tables, most clothes, books, etc.
    • rent a van to lug everything into storage until we live somewhere permanently
  2. Get rid of almost everything.
    • we will travel cross-country with whatever fits in our car. Our bikes will be strapped on the outside and we’ll camp along the way.
    • we’ll sell and get rid of practically everything.
    • we’ll bring keepsakes, laptops, camera, clothes, kitchen items we love, a few books, camping gear, and some other essentials.

We need to plan.

Yeah, we need to plan. We’re going to put up a giant paper across the wall in our living room today and make it into a huge calendar. With daily to-do lists, weekly goals, what we can do during downtime, due dates, etc.

We need to save money.

This means minimal “going out,” frugal grocery shopping, paying off debt, and working as much as possible. I’m going to add dates/goals for this to the wall calendar.

How will it feel to only have temporary housing? What is “home”?

I love our duplex here, it’s so fun and open and bright. It has large bay windows, white walls, a humongous kitchen, hardwood floors, and an arched entryway to the living room. It isn’t our home, though.

Home is just being with each other and having the joy of being outside. It’s being happy to be alive and being able to see excitement and growth in each other. It’s having a lot of people in our lives and being able to pursue activities and hobbies that we love. It’s having a refreshing life inside & outside. Home is transitional for me.

Read what Todd had to say about the big life change here.


So we have a few questions for you guys:

  1. Have you ever had a big move like this? If so, do you have any tips & tricks for us?
  2. Have you ever had a pivotal moment in your life? Tell us about it!
  3. Do you have any tips for moving in general?
  4. Have you ever lived in temporary housing?
  5. Any recommendations for camping anywhere between Minnesota & California? We are thinking about staying at Arches National Park but that’s all we haven mind at this point.

Life Moves – by Todd


Feeling so excited to get away from this insane super cold weather hopefully forever.

Ready to travel across the US and finally get back to where we feel like us!

Moving to a new place, ready to explore,
we will be where we finally need to be: the Pacific Northwest shore.

Same job, different place, I might not shave my face

Doing the same thing in a whole new way, except this time we won’t stay

One place will be the final destination, gonna be a place near a railroad station

Looking for that spark, that feeling,
that sense of belonging and acceptance.
I’ll know it when I’m there
and when I am, I’ll finally feel less tense

Completely new, different and free, for this, this is what feels like me

I don’t know how long, ‘bout 2 years I’d like it to be


Where do we want to go?

Want to go somewhere so green and sunny. Somewhere with warm weather and endless trails for hiking. A place with a lot of skateparks and great coffee shops. All of which mostly means Northern California or Portland, Oregon to me.


So what does this mean for me? How do I feel about it all?

For me, this means revisiting somewhere I used to live in the past for tiny fraction of my life and experiencing it in an entirely new way! This is super exciting to me. I feel like I’ll really be able to take advantage of everything the city/region has to offer. I love that the job allows us to travel. This is literally a dream come true!!! Ever since I finished school at the end of 2014, I wanted to be a traveling surgical tech. You get to travel across the U.S., do familiar work that’s considered a profession (bonus in my book), get paid more than you normally would, find a place that works for your lifestyle, and have up to two weeks off between contracts. Literally, what’s not to love?! Everything about it is exactly what I want for my career right now. I am seriously excited.


We need to save money.

When it comes to moving, saving money is always mentally and physically draining. We always have to start months in advance. Taking extra shifts at one of my two jobs is something I feel obligated to do now that the time to move is even closer. Somehow, it always seems to workout perfectly with us, so I’m doing my best to not let the stress of finances get to me.

How will it feel to only have temporary housing? What is “home”?

I’ve never really felt like I was “home”. I’ve always had an itch to live somewhere else – no matter where I was. Even when I lived in San Diego, one of the most beautiful places in California, I wanted to be somewhere else. I think it had to do with the conditions under which I was living – someone else’s house, rules, etc..

I feel like I am finally in a great place to do exactly what I want. That includes changing where I live frequently – on my own terms, with my own rules, and only my stuff (including Emily, of course). This is such a sense of freedom and accomplishment all wrapped in one. It’s just the best – kind of like what my 10-year old self would have referred to as a mayo, cheese, and bologna sandwich on white bread without the crust xD (gross). In short, this new traveling life is how we will find home and we’re going to have the time of our life doing it. 🙂

Read what Emily has to say about the big move here.


So we have a few questions for you guys:

  1. Have you ever had a big move like this? If so, do you have any tips & tricks for us?
  2. Have you ever had a pivotal moment in your life? Tell us about it!
  3. Do you have any tips for moving in general?
  4. Have you ever lived in temporary housing?
  5. Any recommendations for camping anywhere between Minnesota & California? We are thinking about staying at Arches National Park but that’s all we haven mind at this point.

Write What you Want – Travel Goals

I’ve been thinking about my future a lot, lately.

Specifically, I’ve been wondering where I’ll travel next and what types of experiences I want to have in the future.



Just to give you some background, I’m the type of person who is always changing their plans.

One week I have a grand idea to move to a big city and the next I’m thinking about going off the grid and living in a van. That being said, I want to experience as much as I can and I want to try everything!



At this point in my life, doing the same thing everyday seems impossible. I substitute teach – which means my job is different every day. I make up new foods to eat. I change up my exercise routine. I shift furniture around in my house. And I try to get out of town and take a break from reality as much as possible. Right now, doing new things & changing my routine is fun & exciting for me!



A recurring wish of mine, however, is to TRAVEL. I want to get out there and see more, do more, and feel more. I want to get lost and feel like I’m on another planet – surrounded by everything I know nothing about.

Here’s a list of places & things I have been craving to experience lately:

Spain – I want to see Gaudi architecture and try new foods. I want to feel immersed in a foreign language and culture, stay in hostels, and meet people completely different than me. I want to visit world renowned landmarks and take pictures of everything.

Costa Rica – actually – the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. Its a resort where you can hang out with sloths. If you know me well, you know why. If not, you should know that I have a lifelong obsession with them. They’re cute little smiles melt my heart. I also really want to be in South & Central America and learn about the cultures there.

Seattle – A huge, busy, city surrounded by water + mountainy landscape. Its a dream come true!

Mexico – My desire to visit here is pretty recent. For some reason, Mexico has a bad reputation for Californians. I really want to go there now because I want to experience the culture and get more familiar with the language. Also I’ve heard it’s a vegan friendly country, too!

Redwoods – California – being surrounded by a gigantic army of majestic trees is right up my alley. I need this. I want to see the sunlight bursting through the forest and camp and take deep breaths and hike forever.

Paris – Yes, everyone tours and travels Paris, but it seems too good to NOT experience. I want the food, the BREAD!!, the art, and music.

Norway – When we were in Sweden & Denmark, we wanting to go up to Norway, too, but didn’t have enough time. I liked experiencing Scandinavian culture, so it’s necessary I visit here, too.

Sweden – we went there last year, but we only went to Malmo. I want to see Stockholm!

Yosemite – I don’t actually know if I’ve been here – maybe when I was a baby? I can’t believe I used to live only a few hours away and never went. I know multiple people that claim its their favorite place in the world – so why haven’t I experienced it, yet?!?! I’ve gotta go!

Portland – I actually just want to live here tbh, but it seems so fun! So much to do and see and it seems so beautiful and green!

Austin – I keep hearing about it – it seems like a great up & coming city with a lot going on

Netherlands – my friend went here last summer and her pictures were so amazing. It looks so fun.

Thailand – the food – obviously – but I’m craving being immersed in their culture. It seems other-wordly!

Hawaii – a tropical destination that everyone wants a vacation to, right? Plus the hiking there looks AMAZING! And the climate seems great, too.

Morocco – THE COLORS – I have some family that lives here and I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I heard about it. It seems so colorful and fun and the food seems amazing too! It’s also right across the water from Spain – so maybe I could do a 2 in 1!

South Africa
New Zealand
San Diego

Wouldn’t it be so awesome if I could look back on this list years from now and say “I did it! I went to all of those places and did all of those things!”

I like writing things like this down because it makes it feel more likely to happen. Putting it out there and being intentional about my goals for traveling forces me to let them float in the back of my mind. I feel like a few of these places are already in my future this year, which is really exciting!

Here’s a challenge for you:

  • Make your own list for travel goals!
  • Where do you want to go?
  • And why?
  • What’s in store for you there?

Comment here and share with me! We’d love to see what you want and hear about more amazing places to travel.



Heya Cananda!

This past October of 2017 was the month of adventures. Todd & I visited three countries – Sweden, Denmark, and Canada (hello 9+ hour layover!). Honestly, I can’t describe the feeling of stepping outside into a different county. Therefore, I won’t write anything else. Bye.

Just kiddin’ – I’ve got some goods to share. I’m going to post about these travels through a short series on here – so stay tuned!

So, to be honest, Toronto wasn’t that different from the US – especially in comparison to Copenhagen + Malmö. It was nice to get some fresh air and walk around for a bit. It was also interesting to deal with a different currency for the first time – in turn, helping us prep for the more drastic experience we’d wake up to in Copenhagen the next day.

Once we landed, we did some research and managed to hop on the train into downtown where we planned to spend the day. It was a very cold and rainy when we got there – so we scrambled to (1) find wifi, (2) get some money, and (3) eat something. In Todd’s life-saving waterproof Timbuk2 backpack, I kept my passport, planner, camera, a change of clothes, and other essentials I needed for flying and spending the day abroad. After drudging around in the rain for an hour or so, we found a great, healthy spot in the heart of downtown and we both got an amazing bowl of goodness at Urban Herbivore. After this, we explored the city and found some street art, a bookstore, a few famous sights, a coffee spot (the safe haven when you don’t know what to do, amirite?), and eventually ended up at the Amsterdam BrewHouse – a brewery on the Harbourfront right by the famous CN Tower.


At this point, we still had about 2 hours to use until we had to head back to the airport – so we ended up walking up and down the harbor. We got really lucky when we started our walk because the sun came out! We even came across a few comfy chairs right on the water to sit and relax and take off our heavy packs (and sk8board) we’d been carrying all day. As you can probably guess, it started raining right about the time we needed to walk back to the train station. Eventually, we made our way back to to the airport and were well on our red-eye to the big CPH!

Stay tuned for more stories from our trip!