about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.



Holding On To What Matters.

There is no denying it: the moving process is a nightmare.  No matter how early you start, how many boxes you stockpile, or how organized you think you are, those last few days will inevitably make you want to rip your hair out.  Living in limbo is nobody’s idea of a good time.

I think it’s safe to say I’m becoming a professional mover, given my moving history over the past ten years, and the fact that I have packed and moved myself each and every time.  And after all that moving, I think I’ve come to my “mover’s epiphany.”

The material stuff is NOT important. 

Closets piled high, stuff from the 6th grade, boxes that have been under beds so long that we don’t even know what’s in them anymore.  So often we hold onto this junk because we just “can’t deal with it” and don’t want to face actually doing something about it.  I am totally guilty as a member of this club.

But after carting useless crap across state lines one too many times, I have finally decided to face it and stop ignoring it.  So I started my moving process two weeks early, giving me enough time to pack the things we love and want, and to purge the things we no longer need.

I started in the dreaded guest room – a room where, first of all, we don’t even leave the door open.  That’s how unimportant the room is.  It’s also the landing zone for most of my personal post-college belongings.  The first thing I started going through was an old card box.  As I started to fish through them, and memories came flooding back, I realized the cards were totally NOT important.

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It didn’t matter that my grandma sent me a card on my 24th birthday and told me that she loved me.  What mattered was that my grandma loved me.  And it didn’t matter that someone thanked me for a wedding gift I had given several years ago, what mattered was that each time they use their toaster, they think of me!  Into the trash bag they went…

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Next up, the office!  I found my old wedding planning notebook, complete with table diagrams, seating arrangements, and DJ playlists.  It was fun to look through for a few minutes, and then they got tossed.  The seating arrangement did NOT matter – what mattered was that we had 100 people that loved us there to celebrate on our big day.  No one remembers where they sat. 

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Continuing along those same lines, I opened the box that I had been avoiding the longest, a box that made me cringe – my wedding bouquet…

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We left for our honeymoon at 6am the morning after our wedding, and in the madness of the post-wedding cleanup, I never thought to consider what I wanted to do with my flowers.  So while we were off enjoying the Caribbean, my bouquet hung out in a jar of water getting slimy and moldy – as it still remains today.  

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Wouldn’t I prefer to remember my gorgeous flowers they way that they looked on that special day?  Perhaps like this…

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Or like this…

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keepsakes and special memories, and there are still lots of things I hold on to.  But at this point in my life, they need to be things that truly make my life better, not just things I’m holding on to because I feel bad throwing them away.  And did it hurt to toss my beloved peonies?

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I will admit it, yes, a little.  But now that the trash has been taken out, do I still care?  NO.  My mom made my bouquet for me with nothing but heart and love.  And I carried it down the aisle towards Casey on the most special day of my life.  And those memories are enough to let me walk with it one last time, and then move on…

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For this move to DC next week, we are doing a major downsize.  I think it is a total blessing in disguise, because it has forced us to really take a look at what we’re bringing with us.  For each item I question, I try to really consider:  is this something we use?  Does it make our lives better or easier?  Or do I kind of cringe when I think about still having it?

We have been together almost 5 years now, so a lot of our stuff is still the merged leftovers fr
om our initial move-in.  Furniture that doesn’t really match, a couch we’ve been sitting on for 5 years, and other things that just aren’t really our style anymore.  Enter the wonderful world of CRAIGSLIST.  If you list it, they will come – seriously.

But they key is to start early.  For the past two weeks, I have listed over half of our furniture (old junk we didn’t want anymore), various decorative items, sports equipment – you name it.  One week out, I’ve sold most of our big ticket items, and a ton of small stuff too.  And you know what that is, friends?

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That is cold, hard cash.  To the tune of over $1,000!  And what I didn’t sell got carted off to Goodwill in a packed SUV this afternoon.  Honestly though, the cash is just an added bonus.  The real benefit is that I have gotten rid of things I didn’t want anymore, and I don’t have to feel guilty about not keeping them. 

My beautiful old antique bed from my childhood was no longer my style, but I felt guilty admitting it and getting rid of it.  After a teary phone call to my mom, I ended up selling it on Craigslist to a woman who couldn’t wait to give it to her granddaughter.  It felt so good to know that my bed has a second life to a new little girl who will love it!

And I don’t have to feel bad about not wanting the four giant trash bags of clothes that are too big or not my style anymore, because I took them to Goodwill today so that someone less fortunate can enjoy them.

Wading through the piles of bubble wrap and boxes, I realized this time that what doesn’t matter to me, just might matter to someone else.  So I’ve sold or given those things away, and now I’m left with only the things and people that make me happy.

Oh yeah, and $1,000 to go buy a new couch.

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96 Comments so far
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kathleen     at 2:12 pm

My husband tragically passed away when I was 31 and he was 32, we had been together for 9 years. I put the majority of our belongings into a 10×20 ft. storage locker and just paid the fee each month. I needed a fresh start, but couldn’t say goodbye to “our” stuff. I had a lot of grief to work through. $17,000 later, and I wish that was a typo…I got the courage to go through it with family and friends. 5 trips to the dump, 3 garage sales, 2 trucks to donation stops, a car load to shredding and the relief I felt after it was all over was like the weight of the world was lifted. For 8 years I associated the stuff with the memories and that’s just not the case. I admire your ability to see through that early in life…way to go Emily! The memories are embedded in your heart, you don’t need the actual stuff. Empowering for sure. Great post.

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

oh my god, literally sobbing through this response. that is sooo sad, and yet so amazing that you were able to make peace with it and realize that he would have wanted you to move on. if my husband died, I’m sure I would spend $17,000 to store the memories for a while too. sending a BIG virtual hug your way!

[Reply]

Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 2:34 pm

Awesome job! I’m usually pretty good at letting go of material things, especially when I move, but I admit to having a box of cards I’ve been keeping forever. Maybe it’s time to let those go too. Great post :-)

[Reply]

Neen @ Broad Bean to Runner Bean     at 3:32 pm

ohh well done you! i’m IMPRESSED! you’ve been ruthless and rational, something that is so hard to do sometimes but is totally worth and and the benefits are great! moving is going to be so much easier for you now!

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Jenn (eating bender)     at 4:03 pm

As someone calls herself a “pack rat,” I TRULY appreciated and needed this post. I have boxes upon boxes of stuff crammed into my and my fiance’s tiny one bedroom apartment. Poor guy – I need to benefit from your philosophy and clean up shop!

A new reader but have heard wonderful things about you from many, many people :) I’m only sorry we didn’t get to meet at the HLS!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I am sad we didn’t meet too! Glad to know you’ve heard good things. Whew! :)

[Reply]

Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl     at 4:04 pm

Good job! I remember how hard it can be! Just a year ago, when we moved from our apartment to our first home, I parted with a ton of stuff from my wedding – including the flowers.

I was totally okay with the stuff I was getting rid of until I broke one of our champagne flutes that I was moving into be bubble wrapped – that’s when I lost it. Then I realized that it really is just STUFF. I have the memories and those can never be thrown away :)

[Reply]

Amber K     at 8:08 pm

That is a great idea to hang on to the memories and not the stuff. Especially because you took pictures of it! You can always look back at those pictures to remember the piles and piles of stuff you got rid of! I keep trying to convince my husband to do this…I think I’m going to e-mail him this blog!

[Reply]

Krista @ Can't Survive on Yarn Alone     at 9:10 pm

Great post! It reminds me of how I have been wanting and needing to do this as well. I didn’t do this before moving to our house and EEK!, it was pretty crazy. The major go-through felt great and I need to do one again. Certain things though I will save: concert tickets, a few pressed flowers from when my husband and I first started dating, some misc toys and games from when I was a kid for when we have kids.

I never kept my wedding bouquet. I didn’t buy one of those “throw bouquets”. I launched the real one over my head. :)

[Reply]

Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]     at 12:57 pm

I want to see more wedding photos! : )

[Reply]

Tori @ FIToriBLOG.com     at 12:00 pm

Excellent post!!!! I love the wedding pics too! It’s so important to remember that material things are NOT important! I am all about that concept lately and throwing things AWAY!

Facebook.com/FITori
Twitter.com/FITori

[Reply]

carole     at 10:28 am

any advie for someone new to craigslist? Were you scared to use it after all the bad press a couple of years ago????

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

You can pretty much tell is someone is a scammer or a sketchball through email. I just wait to see if they are really interested and seem normal before I give my address. And I only have people come over when Casey is home too. I’ve sold a LOT of stuff and never felt scared!

[Reply]

Alex     at 11:24 pm

I’m packing up my life right now to move across the country for grad school and I just wanted to say how helpful this post was. As I sort through my belongings, I keep thinking about what you wrote about stuff not being important and its helped me through out tons of old papers/ clothes- thanks! I hope your move is going well! :)

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