After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The last several weeks have been crazy. Moving into a house 1/3 the size is quite interesting. It's pretty great. I decided everything will have a place. If it doesn't have a place, it doesn't belong in the house. I am going through EVERYTHING and last weekend we had a sale. A move like this forces one to do drastic things.

I called it the 4-ton moving sale because I was convinced there were four tons of stuff there. Stuff that I found in the house that I hadn't used in forever, stuff I forgot I had, stuff that I didn't know I had, stuff that I didn't want to dust anymore, stuff I realized I didn't need to be attached to, stuff that I didn't want to move again, stuff I don't need now and realize it is completely replacable when I do feel I need it again. It was all there, and then some other stuff. (I've never used the word 'stuff' so many times in one paragraph!) I am not a pack rat. But somehow over the years, stuff just piled up. It's quite a phenomenon. And obviously at one point in my life I (or my husband or my children) felt life should not go on without that particular piece of stuff.

I have had some great help from great friends. Some came and helped us move on the big day. Some brought food. Some took my kids for a few hours. Some came and helped organize the sale or my house. Some of them came to the sale and brought food and/or offered moral support for a few hours. (Sitting for hours by ones self in a situation like that makes one emotionally fragile.)

And many of my friends have felt drawn to my stuff. Almost like they feel sorry for it and need to rescue it from my brutal, pruning hand. "You're not keeping that??" I heard more than a hand full of times. So quite a bit of the stuff went home with friends. Some stuff they needed, like an air conditioner, or a stroller, or lumber. Some of the stuff they just wanted I think, like the cow creamer or the brown oil painting that is hard to decipher but quite fascinating.

The whole experience seemed a study in stuff. Somehow I have become remarkedly detached from it. I'd say that it was the move that detached me from stuff (basically I don't want to move it again). At the sale I found myself saying things like, "This used to sit on my mantle," or "We used this for xyz," and I still felt completely detached from it all, even smiled as it walked away. Some probably think it's a front, but I don't feel like it's a front. I'm trying to be very realistic about it all. I will say though, there is something surreal about watching complete strangers go through your rejected stuff to find treasures. I had some guilt about that. What on earth do they need my stuff for? I don't need it? Is it just going to become stuff to store and dust at their house, too? I felt like some of the people were just bored, out looking for treasures in order to kill time on a Friday or Saturday afternoon.

In unpacking, I've had to focus--which can be difficult when one has small children. One box at a time. One place at a time. One room at a time. And it is coming together. (I even unpacked the last box from our previous move--almost seven years ago. I guess that move is finally done. HaHa) Even unpacking, I'm finding stuff that I wonder how it made the cut and got into the box that made it in the new place.

Ironically during all this, I find myself longing for new stuff. I was looking at my dish towels and bath towels wondering if I should just toss them and get some new ones. But that costs money, I tell myself. And in the end I decided to just keep them even if they were getting all ratty looking. There were a few decent ones to offer guests. Then I ran across two boxes--one said "New towels" and the other said "Dish towels" and they were from our wedding 12 years ago! YAY! New towels! I guess it's the simple things that get me all giddy. But I also think a bunk bed is a good idea, and a peg board. And a new broom. But while those are all a part of the system, it is still more stuff.

My kitchen feels good. My living room is coming along. The toys are finding homes (in plastic tubs beautifully organized on shelves!) and I'm not currently feeling the urge to toss any more of those. (I will never admit how many of them were re-homed or tossed in the garbage--mostly because it was too many to count.) The sewing room has all the furniture where we think we want it, but so far only one sewing-room box is unpacked. I'm waiting for my peg board to hang all my tools on. Waiting for bunk beds for the girls' room. Waiting for my very busy husband to find a few minutes to oil the closet doors in our bedroom so I can stand to open them and put stuff in the closet. (Currently they make a noise that is beyond anything I can bring myself to even think about without it sending shivers and they are mirrored and too heavy for me to feel comfortable managing myself.)

Now, we need to figure out how to keep the dog from jumping over the fence. She's used to being free to roam 50+ acres. Poor thing is now down to 1.5 acres. It's a tough concept for a dog. The horse seems a bit miffed at me, too.

But there are blessings in moving. This one freed me from lots of stuff. I have a system for everything or will be creating a system for everything, and it's small enough that I feel like there is a chance I can keep it reasonably clean. I feel cozy in this home, but it's a good cozy. A warm close family cozy. And it's at least 20 minutes closer to everything. We can run to the grocery store for milk or contact solution.

I do have one dish towel I want to keep. It's my favorite one and every time I see it, it makes me smile. Embroidered on one end of it is the word "Simplify." I think that is my new mantra. Simplify. Get down to what is necessary and important. I had vague recollections of a college literature class. Something about a guy moving away from society to a shelter by a pond with only a fork. Maybe I am not remembering the fork thing right, but I think he had some things right. I need to re-visit that guy. The dumb thing is that I will have to check the book out from the library since I know that one didn't make the cut. Shoot.

"Some things are really necessaries of life in some circles, the most helpless and diseased, which in others are luxuries merely, and in others still are entirely unknown." Henry David Thoreau in Walden


Layne said...

I love this post! And I love how you at peace with simplification. It is just beautiful, isn't it?

Billye said...

Detaching from your stuff is a way of gaining freedom.

Jenn said...

Hi Heidi, Your mom's friend Jenn again! :) Moved this past summer into a house twice as big as what we had. Not really intentional, wanted the land though. :) Found we didn't have enough - not stuff - but the right stuff! :) :) Now we have LOADS more but I'm trying to pare down to stuff we love or need - ok, stuff I love or need - Dh doesn't LOVE much of it. :) :) Real problem comes from the fact that too much of it is from grandparents or older. Hard to let go to those ties sometimes. :) At least with being in the Military we have to keep it under a weight limit! I try to simplify, really I do. Then the Victorian clutter-bug in me surfaces and I only get rid of half of what I tried to get rid of. :) :) I am going container crazy though, and everything is getting a basket or box to live in. :) :)

Good Post!