We’re Moving!

In addition to my cookbook and our trip to Italy, we have one last mega life update I haven’t shared with you yet…We sold our house and are moving this weekend!

While many of our friends have begun to leave downtown and move to the suburbs, Ben and I are doing the reverse. On Saturday, we are leaving our lovely suburban home—the one that Ben grew up in—and downsizing to a smaller townhome in downtown Milwaukee.

This move doesn’t come lightly, and it’s not one that I would have predicted when we bought our home from Ben’s parents four years ago. It is, however, a change that has been on my heart for some time, and I’m grateful that Ben is willing to give this change in lifestyle a chance.

I still look around our house and can’t believe how blessed I am to live under a roof that is more spacious than I ever imagined my first home would be. I have a generous kitchen and office, room for guests to come and stay, and as first-time homeowners, it’s also been an immeasurable help and comfort to be able to call up the prior homeowner (Ben’s dad) any time we have a question. We adore all of our neighbors who’ve known Ben from childhood too. We have much to treasure here.

At the same time, however, the last several years I’ve grown restless and come to feel out of place. I miss the city’s bustle, being able to walk to restaurants or coffee shops, and, as an extrovert who works from home, being alone in a house in the ’burbs all day isn’t the best fit for me either.

Ben and I have long been casual Zillow perusers. We’ve virtually toured dozens of houses and condos, but our intentions didn’t become serious until we spotted a unique townhouse in downtown Milwaukee. It combined many of the features we’ve come to love about a home—outdoor living space, attached garage—with those we envied about condo living—little-to-no yard work, zero snow blowing, and a location in the heart of downtown.

We made a list of pros and cons. Both lists had merit.

I don’t pride myself on being an intuitive person adept at reading the language of her heart, but it felt right. Sometimes you know things you can’t explain on paper. We put in an offer.

The timing of this move, including preparing and selling our current home, is (for lack of a more appropriate description) completely, categorically nuts.

One, Ben is still recovering from shoulder surgery and can only lift with one arm.

Two, I’m writing a cookbook. Very challenging when your kitchen needs to be either a) spotless for a showing or b) packed in boxes.

Three, immediately after our offer was accepted, I departed to St. Louis for a week of cookbook photography. We also were about to leave the country.

By God’s grace and hours of help from Ben’s parents, we got our house ready to put on the market in two weeks. It sold 48 hours later, just before we departed for Italy. I’ve never felt more relieved or grateful.

^^All set up for a full day of showings. Apparently the trick of baking a fresh batch of cookies immediately beforehand has some merit.

Grateful is a word that has been rolling through my mind a lot lately. I’m grateful for Ben and my years in our current home—dinners on the back porch, the start of Milwaukee Friendsgiving, adopting Teddy, learning that I could work for myself full time and succeed. Heck, I’ve developed the recipes for more than half a cookbook in our kitchen.

I’m also grateful for the years I wasn’t here. Ben looks at these walls and sees memories I never will—his mom spending hours helping him with homework at the kitchen table, his dad tending to every nick and crack to make sure it was fixed “the right way.”

And I’m grateful for the years in between. Ben first brought me here to meet his family and show me his hometown more than 10 years ago. I sit and eat waffles today at the same bar counter where his mom cooked them for us all those years ago.

This move is bittersweet.

On the material end, we are downsizing in a major way. I lost count of the number of times we’ve filled up my SUV for trips to Goodwill somewhere around 12. Some of the items feel good to lose, and I’m lighter afterwards. A clean closet is a satisfying thing.

Many, however, were harder to part with than I am proud to admit. I’ll miss my Christmas decorations (I’m keeping the tree but little else), I keep reaching for my stemless wineglass (we didn’t need two sets of glasses, so the stemless had to go), and I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I *might* own a few too many pairs of boots.

Our furniture is downsizing too. So far, we’ve sold our patio furniture, couch, three bookcases, a twin bed, a dining table and chairs, bar cabinets, a standing bar and stools, kitchen appliances, and my entire office set, and if you know anyone in the Milwaukee area in need of a queen bed, we have one looking for a home.

On the list of intangibles, it will be sad knowing we are the last Clarkes to live on the street after a 25-year run. Even though the best part of this house, the memories, don’t need four walls to hold them, there is something that makes those memories feel nearer at hand when you are standing in the same room where they were created.

We move on Saturday, and I would describe our state of packing as “behind.” My original vision for this post included a big stack of moving boxes, but it turns out that you need to fill a stack of boxes for that photo to happen. This one will have to do:

We closed on our new house last Friday, and I immediately rushed over with our fresh keys. The second I opened the door, it already felt like home.

^^Here’s me right after we bought our house, in my new, downsized, just-what-I-need-right-now kitchen.

The kitchen walls are no longer red (we’re repainting the house interior this week), but I have a feeling my smile will be just as wide when the walls are a cool, creamy gray.

I can’t say enough how much it means to me to be able to share pieces of my “real” life here. It has been QUITE the last two months, and I’m glad everything is in the open now.

^^Teddy’s first visit to the new house. He already loves watching the dogs and people who stroll past our front door.

I squeezed in a few extra recipes last week, all of which I’ll be sharing here soon. Keep following along for some serious fall YUM. I don’t want you to miss it!

Healthy Food Blogger Erin Clarke in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

For a look at our new place (including new paint colors!), be sure to follow me on Instagram (@wellplated). It’s a work in progress, but I’m excited to have you back in my new kitchen for the same old shenanigans.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

46 comments

  1. I’m so, so, so happy for you. <3

    And I'm pretty sure I need to come visit, stat. I can help you unpack. :)

  2. Congratulations on your new home!! I would be so overwhelmed, between the move, the cookbook and planning a vacation! You must be super organized. I am so excited for you and understand where you are coming from. We are looking to downsize and it has been quite the challenge, letting go. I would love to hear how you sorted through it all. Plus being an extrovert it must’ve been so hard for you to keep this all a secret. Congrats again!!

    • Super organized and/or super behind on life Courtney. It’s been hard to feel like I’m doing everything part way, but we will get there. One day at a time. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. It means a lot!

  3. I am such a sap. This post brought tears to my eyes. It’s so sweet Ben has lived there all his life! I am so happy about your move though. Downtown will be much more lively, young and fun! Enjoy the process! Can’t wait to see your new place!

  4. So many exciting life changes! It must be so bittersweet to move. But I can totally see you living in the city, it’s your vibe girl! Congrats all around :)
    p.s., we totally need to get drinks to celebrate!

  5. Erin, I’ve said it before, but it stands to be said again, your writing is so eloquent and beautiful! I really appreciate you sharing such a raw, and in ways deeply personal post! Matt and I are in search of our first home after living in a townhome for a little more than three years. So we’re in the opposite boat. Our house search has proven to be anything but easy, and it has brought out the worst in me and us. But I’m grateful to say we finally are in an amazing place! House buying or selling is so emotional and scary. I commend you for listening to your intuition and going for what you believed was best for you three! While so many times I get caught up in wanting a big kitchen with the bells and whistles, I appreciate you writing how you needed to downsize. It’s refreshing to read this! I completely understand about the emotions tied to this childhood home of Ben’s. When my twin sister and my mom passed away unexpectedly in 2006, we inherited our grandparents’ home and lake house. Being homeowners twice over at the ripe old age of 18 was daunting to say the least. When we finally got to a place where we knew we needed to sell our grandparents’ home – our mom’s childhood home – it was tough. But it has been for the best. I truly believe this is the same for you all. Lastly, had I been a possible buyer, you better believe those cookies would’ve sold me! Congratulations, amazing job juggling all of this change, and I wish you the best! <3

    • Kori, I am beyond touched reading this. Houses are so much more than just “things” and “places” aren’t they? Thank you for sharing this with me. Though we’ve only “met” online, I know without a doubt that you are a strong, kind, inspiring person. You and Matt are going to find the perfect home, I know it <3

  6. May you develop memories in your new townhouse that last a lifetime!

  7. Even if you’re moving to the city, you can never own too many pairs of boots!! Enjoy the hustle and bustle of city living. You will love it so much. P.S. Love all your recipes and make them often.

  8. CONGRATULATIONS!! You just have more and more good news as the days go by! So happy to see you doing so well!

  9. Congrats, Erin and Ben!

  10. Congratulations! Downsizing to the city is awesome! My husband and I did this 6 years ago! I’m still grateful for this life!♥️

  11. Mazel Tov on your moving to the city!  Wishing you guys the best of health and happiness in your new home!

  12. Congratulations, I am sure you will be very happy!!!! It’s chaotic but worth it in the end. I myself downsized last year and I definitely have too many boots and too many kitchen appliances but I won’t give up either! Good luck and enjoy. I also can’t wait for your cookbook.

  13. Congratulations!! This is so exciting. I think it’s really cool how you’re doing the “reverse” thing. Nothing wrong with following your heart. We didn’t do the big house thing either. We live close to downtown, but not quite in downtown, in an old neighborhood with lots of mature trees and such. The ‘burbs are just way too far out for my liking. I hope unpacking and the rest of the move go smoothly! XO

  14. Aww that’s so incredible Erin! Congratulations to you, Ben and Teddy! I’m sure you’ll love everything about being downtown Milwaukee!

  15. Giid luck and happy packing I am sure you will love your new digs.  New inspiration in your new kitchen. 

  16. I don’t spend much time reading blogs but I just read yours and found it inspiring! Good on you for the change to what you want, it takes a lot of strength and courage to follow your dreams and I’m sure you have made the right decision! Your new pad looks great ! Cheers from Australia :-)

  17. So glad to hear everything fell into place. It was great to see Teddy in the picture and I know that the recipes that will come out of your new home will be awesome. Can’t wait to get my hands on that cookbook!

  18. Congratulations! I hope your move goes smoothly!!

  19. Change is good ❤️ Wishing you and Ben years of happiness in your new place

  20. SO exciting Erin, congrats to you and Ben!! And seriously, super impressed that you made everything work amidst all the life challenges. That inspires me. Hope you LOVE your new place in the city! xo

  21. Congratulations on the move! And you live in Wisconsin, so you cannot have too many pairs of boots. Just like this southern girl can’t have enough pairs of flip flops!

  22. Erin, I loved reading this! Amazing how you sold so quickly….found what you love in your new home; sounds like you have seen God’s hand in this leading. It was precious to me to read the memories….and to hear how much you appreciate Ben’s parents. I don’t often take the time to read an entire blog; this one I did! Blessings to you and Ben in your new home!

  23. hey girl- congrats on the new place! Praying for you today!

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