Moving to Portland: Selling + Donating All of my Possessions

So, since it is too expensive for me to hire movers and a moving truck to transport all of my possessions across the country from Pennsylvania to Oregon, I’ve decided to both donate and sell almost all of my possessions and only bring to Portland what I can fit in my little 4 door sedan.

All week I’ve been donating bags and boxes full of possessions to Goodwill that I have been accumulating my entire life. The bigger stuff, like furniture or more expensive belongings, I’ve been selling on Craigslist. I have very mixed feelings about the whole process. This has been an extremely liberating and purging process- things that I have always thought I ‘needed’ either to make me happy, or because one day I just might need them… I’ve been discovering I DON’T ACTUALLY need them after all! What a revelation! Looking at an object that I have an emotional or sentimental attachment to and then throwing it in the box to take to Goodwill feels like looking my fears and insecurities in the face and saying, “I will not be held back by you; I am stronger than you!”

On the other hand, I have had some difficulties selling some things, for instance, selling my guitar. My stepdad gave me this guitar when I was 12 years old and I’ve had it for over 10 years now. I don’t play it often, but when I do, I enjoy it. I knew I could probably manage stuffing it in my sedan, but for me, it really was a practice in letting go of emotional attachment to objects by selling it. I know that one day I will buy my own guitar for myself, and when I invest my own money in something like that, I will have much more incentive to actually play it more often.

So yes, it is a little hard and sad to see some of my prized possessions either sit on the shelf at Goodwill or to be handed over to the palms of strangers from Craigslist. But of course, in line with the whole mixed emotions thing, it actually kinda makes me feel all warm and fuzzy at the same time thinking about how my possessions will make their new owners happy and imagining how they will use them well, perhaps better and more often than I.

Since I am starting fresh by moving to a city where I know absolutely no one, it is very fitting for me to actually start completely fresh by letting go of all of my belongings and getting new ones in my new home. Wow- that felt weird to type… “home.” Is Portland actually going to be my home? It seems hard to imagine.

This whole process is still very surreal, but is starting to sink in more, and overall, I’d say it’s very empowering. This is the kind of decision in life that most of us think we don’t actually have the strength for, but I am learning that at least for myself, I am much stronger than I ever realized. Okay, maybe I am not climbing Mount Everest or anything and to some of you, you’re thinking “Pfff, all this chick is doing is moving across the country- what’s the big deal?” But to me, moving to Portland alone, where I will be completely anonymous at first, means letting go of ALL of my comfort zones, all of my security blankets, all of my emotional, social and geographic ties (even though I can sustain long-distance friendships/relationships, it just won’t be the same) and facing my fears of being completely alone and making it on my own.

I am going to Portland in a few weeks to look for housing and I am actually staying in an international hostel there, which I’m really excited about! I will get to meet travelers from around the world- the setup in this hostel seems really unique and awesome- they are super environmentally conscious and it looks so clean and cozy there!

…I know this is a stretch, but if any of you readers live in the Portland area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me- I could certainly use some new friends in my new city!

I will post again soon with updates! 🙂


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