As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re all packed up with no place to go (yet). At first, I felt really frustrated at this situation, but once I realized it was out of my hands, I made peace with it and tried to look on the bright side.
In addition to learning the lesson that you should always make sure your landlord gives you ALL the pages of your copy of the lease, there are also a couple other things I’m learning. For instance:
I can live without a whole lot of my stuff.
Being a minimalist at heart, I knew this already. But it’s always fun to see it play out again in reality.
I decided NOT to unpack most of my things, and instead to live with the bare minimum. We unpacked 10 plates, enough mugs for all of us to have tea at the same time, and the clothing and shoes we need for the next several weeks.
About half of my pots and pans are packed. Guess what? I don’t miss ‘em. In fact, I find that the kitchen stays neater (and the 13 year old happier – he has dish duty), because we’re forced to wash pans more frequently, often immediately after we use them, in order to use them again. So what?
As I was packing up my kitchen, I realized that even though I try very hard to minimize stuff in my life, it still creeps in. Why do I have THREE pie pans? I never make pie. (I’ve literally never made a pie in my entire life. Caleb is the pie maker, but now that we’re all on a gluten-free diet, he doesn’t make pie anymore.) I do make quiche, but never 3 at a time! I need only one pie pan, or at the most (if I were to say, have a party and make quiche), two.
So I picked my favorite two and the rest went into the Goodwill bag. Ditto for loaf pans. Why do I have four, when I only ever use one (and that one, rarely)? All but la rouge Le Creuset are going bye-bye.
The kitchen in my current home is huge.
I loved it when we first looked at the house. But after a few months of living here, it became apparent that half the space in the kitchen was wasted. Worse, it attracted clutter. Everything that I was procrastinating about got shoved into a corner in the kitchen (when you HAVE storage space, you fill it up – nature abhors a vacuum).
I’ve never had a kitchen this large, and now I know that even though I spend a large portion of my day inside it, I actually prefer a smaller kitchen. It’s easier to keep clean, faster to sweep and mop, and … just cozy. You’re forced, due to the limits of the space, to keep stuff to a minimum. The kitchen has about forty-leven cabinets. Many, many cabinets. And all of our kitchen stuff is currently fitting into TWO of those cabinets. After I packed up the kitchen, I cleaned the inside and outside of the cabinets, then put a piece of masking tape across the front of them so I would know which ones I had cleaned. If I lived in a house with a tiny kitchen, with only TWO cabinets, I could do just fine. And imagine how easy and fast cleaning the cabinets would be! (I’m getting prepared now for my relocation to Paris, you see.)
One of my dreams, once most or all of the kids are moved out, is to build a tiny house (one of those 100 square feet abodes on wheels) and live in it with my husband. I now know I could do that happily.
In addition to a couple of Goodwill drops, I’ve also made $35 selling a couple of unneeded items on Craigslist. The less I have to pack and move, the better, in my book.
Yesterday the girls decided to have an impromptu yard sale. They made a cute sign (complete with adorable graphics) out of a roll of paper, hung it in the trees, and set up shop. Their merchandise was even labeled and priced.
They made $12 in a couple of hours. Not bad! I even let them talk me into having a small sale Friday. Their brothers are helping them make a nice sign to go at the entrance to the neighborhood. The kids have been bugging me to do a yard sale all summer, and I just didn’t feel up to it. Besides, I find yard sales depressing. My modus operandi is this: if it’s really nice, sell it on eBay or Craigslist or give it to a friend. If it’s not nice enough for that, Goodwill (or trash it).
But now, they’re just doing it themselves. I love it.
Once again: Kids don’t need a lot of stuff.
Almost all the playthings and books are packed. So my little ones are reading the same 3 or 4 books, over and over. They don’t seem to mind a bit. Instead of hauling out toys, they play outside, do art, make forts out of sofa cushions, and so on.
Caleb and I have been taking the time to open boxes and inventory them. We write a list of what’s inside and tape it to the box. This has two purposes: one, if we do find that we need something, we can find it more easily. But the other purpose is this: once we move, I want to be extremely thoughtful about where things go, and whether I truly need and love the items in my home. I plan on unpacking very slowly, and with great care. If an item isn’t useful AND attractive to me, out it goes.
P.S. I was recently encouraged by the book The Nesting Place. I found it very inspiring. Personally, at various times I’ve struggled to make my home look the way I wanted it to. And there were only a couple of times in my life that I truly loved my surroundings. I’m trying to figure out why, and how I can recreate those feelings. Have you read it?