Buried in Stuff

It’s almost October, and I’m just finally sitting down to write: what I did on my summer vacation. I moved. Which, if you’ve moved, you know is a special kind of hell.

Spent the month of June trying to keep the house in “showing” condition. Spent the month of July sorting and packing. And spent the month of August sorting and unpacking. Okay, starting to sort and unpack. The basement is still full of boxes, but at least there are just semi-organized piles instead of the labyrinth that took our moving guys a good 12 hours to create! So that’s progress, considering one of them commented “You aren’t going to have a basement when we’re done, you’re just going to have boxes!” Did I mention we moved on the hottest day of the year? Sorry, moving guys!

Turns out our 1,300 square foot townhouse actually had quite a bit of storage space, including built-in shelves, a good-sized utility room, a cold room and a loft in the garage, that our only slightly larger new-to-us detached home does not have! And we had made good use of that space, storing things that had actually never been unpacked when we moved in to our first home almost 11 years earlier! So instead of squirrelling away the bins and boxes, we actually have to look at them.

Which really begs the question, why on earth are we keeping all this stuff?!

We did spend some time prior to the move decluttering. For example, I gave away or donated or recycled probably 15 large boxes of books. Which left a mere 30 large boxes of books. What can I say, we love books! I kept my very favourites, any signed-by-the-author books I’ve received over the years, and kids’ books–for the boys, and for my classroom (which I currently do not have but you never know…)

I also parted ways with essays I had forgotten I’d written, journals I wish I’d forgotten  I’d written, and a bunch of other things including toys. Mine and my husband’s, not the boys’. Those we still have in abundance.

The good news is our kitchen is quite a bit bigger, and I now have cupboard space for things like serving trays and glassware that we got as wedding presents but never used. (Did I mention it was our 15th anniversary this month? Heh.)

But I’m still overwhelmed by what we do have, to the point where I don’t know what to do about it. Keep it? If I’ve held on to it this long, it must be important to me, right? Like my vintage Cabbage Patch Kids, circa the original craze in ‘84. Throw it away? Ugh, the landfill. And the memories! Sell it? Who else would want it? We’re talking well-loved Cabbage Patch Dolls here, not never-played-with, still-in-the-box. Donate it? If it’s too grungy to sell, it seems wrong to donate it too.

The thing is, we’re constantly at our boys to consider donating or otherwise parting with their plethora of “things” too—especially the papers and the toys. But how can we expect them to do so when we have difficulty with this ourselves? I know I’ve changed from a little girl who expected to live in a large Victorian-style home with a room just to display her doll collection to a woman who hates to dust and fantasizes about a kitchen counter with nothing on it. But actually throwing out those dolls, even if they are just taking up space in a box right now, is another story, one I can’t seem to write The End on yet.

Not to mention, our current reality is that my husband works from home and requires a great deal of equipment and a space to do his job, and I have only just begun my teacher hoarding. And with kids there comes a certain amount of stuff—we may have left behind the baby swing, stroller, and Thomas train years but have entered the snowboard, electric guitar and amp, adult-sized bike years. And then there’s the Lego…

We’re going to need a bigger house.*



*expect I’m never moving again, so I guess some of this stuff is going to have to go…

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