September 1, 2009
Happy September!! We’ve been here now for 17 days and things are going along very smoothly. Our moving truck finally arrived 6 days ago and we’re just about finished unpacking everything that we need while we’re here in this house. We’ve got about half of the garage filled with things that we’re not unpacking (mostly books and bookshelves), and today a charity is coming to pick up 23 boxes/bags of stuff that I’m not sure why I bothered moving it here in the first place! I’m finding that it’s much easier to get rid of things that we don’t want or need when we're in a new space, especially when that space is about half of the square feet from which we came.
So far we’re only missing a few things that I believe are all in one box, and we’re fairly certain that that box made it, but it's buried somewhere in the garage from when the movers were fed up after 5 hours and just started tossing boxes in willy-nilly. The only things we think we're missing are our wedding candlesticks, the French press coffeemaker, our “Boston” motif mugs, and most of my cookbooks. Thank goodness for the “What’s Cooking In Waltham” cookbook that my neighbors gave me on our final day in Massachusetts – I’ve been trying out lots of new recipes from that!
In other news, my husband got a job! Who-hooo!! And the best part is, he can commute by bike, which was one of his dreams when moving here. There's even a shower at the office so he won't have to do the old post-ride-wipe-down-with-Wash-n'-Dries in the men’s room every morning.
The kids are enjoying school and we're finding our way around little by little. Each time I've been brave and turned off the GPS I've gotten lost, but never so lost that I've had to turn it on again! And each circuitous trip shows me more of the area, so the next time I'm there I find myself saying, "I remember this!"
So, all is well, the mountains are still a never-ending majestic daily backdrop, and every day there seems to be another cool thing that happens that reinforces the fact that this move was the exact right thing at the exact right time for all of us, and I’m so grateful that we had the courage and the faith to go for it!
Deep Thought for the Day:
Today’s deep thought is about “stuff.” As I was purging the house to move I became a bit of a devotee to Peter Walsh, the guy who helps people clean out their houses and realize why they hold on to certain things, etc. I’ve read all of his books, the first being “It’s All Too Much” and I can honestly say that it changed my life in the way I look at the “stuff” that seems to accumulate over days, months, and years in the same place.
Until 6 days ago, we were living with not very much, and while it was definitely more bare bones than we would like (I was very excited to finally sleep in a real bed and the kids were overjoyed to greet their stuffed animals), we found out just how little we actually need. Is it great and fun to have lots and lots of stuff? Sometimes yes. And there are certain things (like dishes and chairs, etc.) that make life more enjoyable and convenient. But sometimes the "stuff" is just overwhelming and constantly having to straighten up and put things away can take away from something else fun or enriching that you could be doing instead. Often on Saturday mornings we would all spend time getting the house together (which was usually in quite a state after a busy week), but now instead of having to do that, we can all go on a bike ride together. Or visit the Farmer’s Market. Or whatever else we’d like to do because our “stuff” isn’t weighing us down around us.
That said, there is no way that I would ever part with certain sentimental things. But I think it’s important to strike a balance between the “thing” and the emotions attached to a “thing.” For example, in "It's All Too Much" there’s a story about a woman who inherited her grandmother’s china. She didn’t particularly like the pattern and so she never used it. The boxes took up an enormous amount of space in her attic, but she felt that she couldn’t get rid of it because it would be dishonoring her grandmother by not keeping it. Well, a few years later, she realized that she simply had to do something with it because it was taking up too much room, and she had it appraised to see if it was valuable enough to sell. Wekkm it turns out that while it was still in good condition, the set was very common and inexpensive and so not worth anything monetarily. And what the woman ultimately realized was, this china was not her grandmother, it was just some old, cheap china. She had other things to remember her grandmother by, she did not need to have these dishes impeding her life and the state of her home.
Along the same lines, I found that I used to keep things simply because someone gave them to me. And I would say to myself, “I can’t get rid of that, so-and-so gave it to me.” But now I’m realizing that while a gift from someone is a lovely and generous gesture and reminder of the person, it’s not her or him. If it’s not my taste, or it doesn’t fit, or if it doesn’t complement my current lifestyle, I’m not obligated to keep it. The loving gesture is still there, but I'm not stuck with something that I can't use or don't want.
So, with this new season beginning, and the new school year, I encourage you to take stock of your “stuff” and consider getting rid of anything that doesn’t belong with you anymore. If it’s not beautiful to you, useful to you, or helps you move forward with your life goals, you don’t need it. You simply don’t need it.
(P.S. If you ever find that you got rid of something that you end up needing down the line, there are thousands of stores that will welcome you, both live and on the Internet. There will always be “more where that came from.”)