Monday, August 4, 2014

Making room

When we moved two months ago, we lost a significant amount of storage space. Our old house had four closets in the bedrooms, one linen closet, three medicine cabinets, an enclosed garage, and a shed. Our new house has two bedroom closets, and small enclosed front porch, and a small utility room out back. Needless to say, we had to pare down our possessions.

We are not a family of hoarders. I would not go so far as to call us minimalist, but we have no problem parting with our stuff in the name of space and organization. Cross-country moves by car (one Honda Accord en route to Oregon) and train (ten boxes, two bikes, and four carry-ons leaving Oregon) have trained us to hold on to only what is absolutely necessary and to sell or give away the rest.

Our new storage options (or lack there of) forced me to take a hard look at what we owned. While I was in the midst of our project I read about two other bloggers undertaking similar purges. I love the William Morris quote Kelsey references to "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful."

There was the craft bin of old t-shirts I one day planned to make into a quilt. After five years of hauling it from place to place, it was time to admit that it wasn't going to happen. I thought admitting that would feel like a failure, but it felt freeing. The t-shirts have since been donated, put back into my regular rotation, or cut up into rags.

Then I confronted the box of physical pictures that has been with me since high school. I got rid of ninety percent of the photos, and am working on the way to organize the rest. That project took all of an hour and a half, but I had put it off for years

Neil is fully supportive of my organizational efforts, but is slightly less willing to part with things than I am. My philosophy is if we haven't used it in the last year, let's get rid of it. His philosophy is "it might come in handy at some point." I let go of the fact that I think he has far too many t-shirts and tools that will never be used, and worked on minimizing the the stuff that I could. And honestly, he's probably right that the tools will come in handy. The t-shirts, well, there is still an excess of those.

Hours of sorting, a trip to Goodwill, and the passage of bulk trash day later, and we feel much lighter.

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