Sunday, November 28, 2010

Closing up the storage unit. Oh my!

Less than a year ago, we moved out of our four-bedroom home.  I passed out belongings at playgroups, donated embarrassingly large amounts to CHKD (they knew me by name in the donation center), and on the street corner.  Literally.  We put a kitchen table and a few other things at the end of the driveway.  Free items on Craig's List. 

It felt amazing, and not at all scary.  We were ready.

We moved into the super-tiny temporary place, which transitioned us on either end of our 8-week road trip.  Since it was a one-bedroom apartment sublet (tiny tiny!), we got a storage unit.

After how many things we gave away, I was stunned there was still so.much.left.  I was starting to see that even minimalists with 3 children have a lot of things.

Then...The Conversation where we decided to load up a U-Haul of even more things and take to a Sudanese family.  We were surprised that things that previously held so much value to us (like leather couches we saved up to buy in our early marriage) had started to feel like a burden, not a blessing.  I gave it to that dad more for me than for him, in all honesty, although I also knew he really and truly needed our things. 

We still had a lot of things in storage.  Not much by most standards, but still felt like it was trapping us in some way.  While we plan to stay in Virginia Beach, the rest of the variables are pretty fluid.  And being able to float into whatever life situation sounds best is where both of us are right now.

Plus, to our surprise, we are happiest the less stuff we have.  We are reaching our maximum utility of stuff, I see.

And now we have reached a place in the process where I wasn't sure we'd ever reach. We are closing up our storage unit. 

Furniture we'll keep in the end:  Two recliners. 

I have been waffling about my mom's roll-top desk through our entire journey towards De-Stuffing our life.  The irony of this is that the desk wasn't sentimental to my mom.  I got it before she died, because she was trying to get rid of it. 

What I've decided:  If I need to remember my mom through a piece of furniture, then the memory must not burn very bright in the first place.  As back-up: If I really start craving a Mom-Heirloom furniture item, I can re-claim the hutch from my dad's house that goes back 4 generations.

In the last few days, I've been pulling back all these boxes labeled "Really Sentimental Things."  And I struck by how few of them really are. 

Case in point, the belly cast.  Written on the box:  "Really fragile.  Stack on top.  Belly cast."  It's the casting of my pregnant belly when I was carrying Simone.  I'm glad I did it.  I love, love, love the picture of newborn Simone next to the cast.  But I'm not interested in keeping it for 25 years until she's old enough to care.  And even then, would she care?

I think I'll take a few pictures of it and then let the boys destroy it with a baseball bat.  Bwahahaha!  That would likely bring them more joy than looking at a casting of their mom's big ol' belly.

Phew.

A bit scary, I guess, but only in theory.  I wrote Deane about getting some of the big items for the MOPS sale next Spring...and I can't think of a better use for the Stuff in there.  When I think about the feeling of being ready to live on a boat, belongings' wise, it only sounds liberating...not at all scary.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give" (Kahlil Gibran).  I wonder if it's because, if you're giving to someone who already has enough, you're just passing along the burden of ownership?

Not every life needs to be as mobile as ours, and this isn't right for everyone.  But for us, the more we can fit our life into a backpack... the more joy seems to float to the top.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good post.

Anonymous said...

What a nice post. I really love reading these types or articles. I can?t wait to see what others have to say.