The packing begins
Thus begins our packing in earnest. Who doesn't love packing?
Ummm... no one loves packing. I actually thought I did for a couple minutes this morning, and then I attempted to pack up my bookshelf. It's easy enough to put things in a box, but then you realize that this book doesn't belong to me and I have to put it in a pile over there, or else these items should be donated, thrown out or packed on our trip. Soon enough, there is a massive explosion in my room where once was a neatly organized bookshelf. Why did I bother trying to pack that bookshelf? I should have left it to the servants. Wait: I don't live in a Jane Austen novel.
This past weekend we went through our downstairs storage room. It's a small wire container that we can keep things like our christmas gear and camping stuff or old photo albums. It is super handy to have this on-site, even though we only access it every couple of months. The most entertaining part is to guess which storage locker belongs to which neighbour - checking out people's belongings is almost as much as fun people watching: you create all sorts of stories just by observing. As creepy as it sounds, we all do it.
We took everything out of ours, and immediately made a "donate" pile, and then a pile to keep or give back to people and then one to take with us on the boat. This sounds simple enough, but for some reason my attitude goes down the toilet during these endeavours. I snap at the kids as they play on the "storage room skateboards" and glare at Matt as he says he "definitely needs to keep this wetsuit forever" (he hasn't used in three or more years). Why didn't we store wine in this storage locker?!
We packed our little Yaris FULL with garbage bags of things to donate and another bin or two to hand back to friends or family. We made a neat stack of bins that will eventually go into storage when we move, and put the rest of the things that we don't need to deal with right away, back into the storage locker. We locked it up and walked away. Our hands were filthy with dust and grime and our kids needed a bath from rolling around on that floor. We can check one item off our list: "conquer storage room". Done.
We've been living in 900 square feet for four years and now have felt slightly victorious at the amount of stuff we haven't collected. But it turns out, if you have space, you'll fill it. If we lived in 300 square feet, it would still be stuffed to the gills, and I believe the same would be true if we lived in 3000 square feet. Its the same with money: you use what you have, and there is never quite enough. If I just had a little bit more, everything would be easier.
My biggest take-home lesson has been to cherish what we do have, to use it well or else to give things away without guilt. "It's just stuff" we conclude, and in no time at all, no matter what life throws at us, we'll collect more stuff and squeeze it into whatever space we occupy at that moment.
For now, we want to make sure the stuff we are keeping is quality and significant, brings us joy and brings us closer to our present selves, not the selves we once were or the selves we wish we could be.