Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Benefits of moving

A lot of people have asked me why on earth would I want to move my family of seven from our comfortable suburban existence out to the country. We've finally replaced every expensive comfort item in our house (roof, AC, furnace, etc), and --knowing us -- we will go back to another fixer-upper and have to do the same thing all over again. We are gluttons for punishment.

Well, there are some obvious reasons, but today I'll just give you one: Moving makes you deal with your junk.

We've been in this house for six years, and, even if we only keep a few items each, when we multiply everything by seven, and it's easy to see how every possible closet, drawer, hamper and cabinet spills out with stuff.

And since I'm not the kind to deal with things until they reach crisis mode, a move creates a pseudo-crisis that gives my tired brain the final impetus to GET RID OF IT.

Here's my project from last week: My craft/gift wardrobe. We bought this antique wardrobe for $200 because our last house had no closets. It now takes up a nice place in my living room and has been hiding all this. I forgot to take the picture before I'd already taken that entire trash bag full of who-knows-what out of it:

Okay, and now that I look at the "after" picture, it really doesn't look that much better, but I will have you note that each bin and drawer is labeled, so that no member of this family has the right to cram the crepe paper from their party in with the craft lace or the hot glue gun. I've noticed that people WILL put something away if there is a specific place for it, which explains why things always got shoved in randomly, wherever there was an open space, in the previous arrangement.

Ahhhh. That feels so good!

And, by the way, the whole thing - which I'd put off literally for YEARS - took less than two hours. Why, oh WHY do I put off these things?? I amaze myself sometimes.

Over the weekend I took out every item in my kitchen that I don't use regularly. Some things will go into storage, but most of it is going to the Goodwill. Do I really need FOUR plastic pitchers? I don't think so. No wonder I couldn't keep everything straight in the cabinet.

Now I'm heading to the next room to do the same thing. My goal is to pare it down to exactly what we use so that I don't have to pack and move even one thing that we don't need. I'm beginning to think I'd make a pretty good minimalist.

22 comments:

Brenda said...

I'll see your 4 plastic pitchers and raise you 80 drinking glasses/cups!!!!! Eighty! And I shamelessly posted pictures about it too! I hear what you are saying, "No wonder I couldn't keep anything straight!"

Jen said...

I so know what you are going through...packing things up. I feel your pain..but really in the long run when your in your new home....you wont even think of the 4 pitchers....promise!

Room for Grace said...

I'm just catching up on your blog, so maybe you've already addressed this. I loved your posts about your schooling choices and am wondering if your kids will change schools or if you're planning on homeschooling again.
Just curious!
Your house looks great!

Marian said...

Go, go, go!

Just take a break when you get so compulsive about it that every time you throw out a scrap of paper you think, "Yes! One more thing I don't have to move!"

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Yes, yes, yes. Can you believe that I have not lived in a house more than 4 years?? We're going on 3 1/2 here now, so I need to deal with my stuff.

It's so great to go through it now. Another tip--when you do move and are unpacking, continue the ruthless culling. I kept a "giveaway" box right near me so that I could get rid of a bit more.

Jenn @ Munchkin Land said...

Um... wow! Impressive! I'll be keeping you in my prayers during this time. I am so much like you, I put off things like organizing and cleaning until the last possible minute. Only to find that it didn't take that much time to begin with. =) Hang in there!

Susanne said...

Whoo hoo, you go mama! Then can you come do mine 'cause we have no moving plans.

AIMEE said...

Oooooh, I love decluttering...putting my house on a strict diet of order and simplicity...it just feels so good when you are done. Way to go! Crafty stuff can be the hardest stuff to deal with...you did great!

Debbie said...

We've only lived in our house for just under 4 years and already it's filled up w/ 5 kids and all of their/our stuff. No wonder I feel like we need to move.

You've inspired me to do some decluttering, now that I have been reminded that it isn't really that hard. Thanks.

Laura said...

Awww, moving. Makes you wonder where it all came from. And I do throw things away, a lot! And we still overflow with junk!

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Good for you!! We've lived here 7 years, and Big Daddy has informed me that the next time we move he's locking me up somewhere and having an Estate Sale.

We just rearranged our bedroom and I'm still dealing with the fall-out. Here it seems like everything without a home ends up in my bedroom.

It's less than attractive.

Beck said...

I've found the same thing about moving - sadly (well, not that sadly), we have no upcoming moves, which means that we're just going to end up with five million chairs and a houseful of books. Help!

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

I know what you meant! We made a big move 3 years ago and it was great to just say "trash it" over and over. But... we moved to a bigger house and in those 3 years have added a lot more stuff. I'm not ready to make another big move, but maybe we just need to "pretend" we are! LOL

Org Junkie said...

What are you kidding me? It looks much better! Great job clearing the clutter. One day at time...you are doing great!

She-Ra said...

Oh I am so a crisis cleaner too! Good to know I'm not the only one. :) I'm baby stepping my way through trying to get better though. And I don't even have the moving excuse. We should move though -it's been 7 years and it shows in our junk accumulation!

Dianne said...

Yeah, I'm taking a vacation day Friday to do what? Declutter . . . condense the contents of 2 desks down to one. Gotta face that junk, you're so right! now I'm inspired.

kristine said...

I can feel your pain. We just moved from one fixer-upper to another. We had lived in the other house 7 years also we 7 people living there. I didn't think we had "that much" stuff until moving day. We moved the week after Christmas. We didn't have time to par down as we packed because of the holidays so I am doing it as I unpack. Each week, we have had more trash than the garbage man will take! It does feel good though to throw away, organize and start my pile for the May garage sale.

We also had our house staged by 55 realtors. It was a class our realtor was taking and they wanted to use our house for practice. It was an amazing experience.

I don't know if you ever said where you got your laundry sorter, but I would be interested to know when you have a minute!

Have fun!
Kris

julie said...

Oh, I love purging my life of all the junk. Have fun.

julie

Terry said...

"I'm beginning to think I'd make a pretty good minimalist."

With a family of seven, I don't know. You're off to a promising start, though. And for the record, that wardrobe does indeed look a whole lot better in your after picture than it did in the before picture.

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

It really does look much different. Good job!

My family hates it when I am in 'organizing' mode. Nothing is sacred (even the gift I got from my best friend for our wedding - I never used it, so out it went!)

Mary@notbefore7 said...

I have completed a project and wondered the same thing...why have I put that off for so long ?

Best of luck to you all!

Gina Conroy said...

I've been in my home 12 years! Yikes, has it been that long and it's time to start cleaning it out. Though we do that twice a year. I've been following your moving posts (backwards) because I'd really love to move into a bigger home, but get so discouraged by the deflating economy. I'm glad things are working out for you and maybe your story will help encourage us to look!