We've been living in our practically empty house for two weeks now and it's given me time to analyze my feelings for my "stuff"*. During the power outage immediately following the earthquake, I was feeling claustrophobic and wishing there was more space for our guests. I wanted everything but the basics OUT-OF-MY-WAY! Now, I have my wish!
Before the movers came, we emptied out an upstairs storage closet, and shoved everything we thought we might need in it. I meant to sort the boys clothes, but didn't get around to it, so pretty much everything in the their dressers, we kept. A few plastic bins were filled with select "favorite" toys, and each boy kept their own stack of favorite books. (Plus a few I pulled out like "Family Fun Boredom Busters" and Usbornes "Art Projects for Kids".)
In the kitchen, we cleaned out a pantry and stocked it with what I considered the bare cooking/eating essentials.
All in all, before the pack out, I felt pretty organized. The morning the packers arrived and actually starting pointing to closets and saying "Everything goes?" I started to feel panicky.
When all was said and done, the main casualty, besides Gabe's messy, just eaten-in, food encrusted high chair, was my wallet. I kept it in my pocket on day one, set it down somewhere the first night, and it got packed away on day two. No biggie! Seventeen hours of paperwork-filling-out and 23 signatures later, Doug was able to escort me (he had to be present) to get a new military I.D. Since we're on the "Dave Ramsey Hates Me" plan, we're paying for things in cash these days, so I haven't even bothered to replace my debit card. (The credit cards were cut up long ago. Sigh.)
The most important items, the passports, were kept safe. Packing those would have caused serious problems.
So now here we are in our barren house wondering how it's possible for the kids to get it so messy when it's so empty!?
In some ways, it's been a dream come true. Messes are just naturally smaller because the toys are fewer. Max and Sam's room is positively RESTFUL. Their bunk beds were traded for two easy-to-make single twins. Dressers previously covered with pinch-pots, trophies, scout patches, garbage, broken pencils, paper, and books, are now gloriously clean and clear. Extra pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals? History.
In Gabey's room, the large book shelf with its millions of kid-books that frequently ended up in a pile on the floor? Gone. Replaced by a small box or books that sits on a small night stand by his bed.
And Gray's room? The former art/office/exercise/nursery/junk room? It has a crib and a suit case in it. That's IT!
And the amazing thing is, most of that stuff, especially the kid stuff, NO ONE MISSES!
But then there are the things I do miss. The printer comes to mind...! The first night Doug and I sat down to watch a show after the kids were in bed, we were faced with an uncomfortable couch with no extra pillows and no throw blankets. MOST unappealing and uncosy.
When I went to make Father's Day dinner last night? Half the spices had been packed and the baking dishes I'd normally use were gone. Leading me to improvise a recipe, leading to Raspberry Tilapia as the main course, leading everyone to wish they'd never ever heard the words "Raspberry Tilapia." (You'd think I'd learn...If you're ME, NEVER IMPROVISE!!!)
Last Saturday we had a few birthday parties to attend. Gift box with spare kid presents in it? Gone. Gift wrap box? Gone. Tape/Paper/Blank Card/Pencil/ANYTHING? Gone.
It would also be nice to have more than one spare towel and a change of sheets for the boys beds in case of accidents. And possibly an extra baby blanket or two.
And who knew how much I took small trash cans for granted in their respective rooms and bathrooms? Now we just throw wadded tissues on the floor where they used to be.
So here we are. Unburdened by too much junk, but with garbage all over the floor. There must be a happy medium between excessive clutter and monk-like austerity. When we get to California, I'm determined to find it (and exploit it.)
Wish me luck and good feng shui!!
*Stuff may be defined as; junk, collectibles, collections, thrift store finds, winter clothes, toys, piles of books, hobby accoutrements, and priceless treasure. Also; garbage that was on sale really cheap!