We really saw our move to Spain as a reset button. An opportunity to get out of our small condo, a opportunity to reconnect as a family, an opportunity to get our condo rent and sell ready, an opportunity to travel abroad and an opportunity to reduce the amount of stuff we have.
We have packed what we need or is important to us in a storage unit that is 15ft x 10ft x 8ft for the year. This included sofas, beds, dressers, tables, bikes, etc. And I really hope that all is well and safe. To get to this point though we sold our stuff, we gave away stuff, we tossed stuff and we donated a large amount of stuff. It’s quite amazing the hold that our stuff holds on us. We move it. We store it. We cherish it. We pay for it. We use our hard earned money to save stuff that we may not even remember we have! Yet, the very thought of letting it go can induce anxiety. I tried to embrace the philosophy of reducing our stuff will reduce my stress. If I didn’t remember it was in storage it must not be that important to begin with. Before we began to purge our on-going storage unit I tried to think what exactly was so important in there that I would pay a monthly fee to keep. I tired to embrace the idea that if I couldn’t answer that question without seeing the object than it really wasn’t important. I purged based on this ideal. I saved based on this ideal. I sold and donated based on this ideal. Is this item worth $X.xx per month to keep? Is it that important?? In reality, I am choosing my time (and the dollars that it earns me) to keep this item. Some items were things we no longer needed while other items were ones that could easily be replaced. Think board games like “Battleship” or “Twister” or modular shelving from Target. Things we can easily and cheaply replace if we want but not worth the storage space it requires. These are seemingly, insignificant items but when you picture an entire house full of small items it would quickly become a rather large storage space.
It’s been months now since we held our garage sale. Which I’m going to say was more difficult and time consuming than just donating it…albeit I have yet to do our taxes and see if donation was more worth my time and energy. I’ve had time to reflect on what I tossed and donated. There are a few regrets I have already. A couple were mere hours after they were sold or donated. The original doll clothes for my cabbage patch kid (accidentally sold) or my old college day planners (tossed). Others, I wonder if I will regret and maybe I shouldn’t have sold them. An old pair of overalls that were easily 50 years old, a hodge-podge mini-Christmas tree or the few albums and turn-table we owned. Most of which had been in storage or not used for the last ten years. Others I wish I had gotten more money for. I have to remember I am choosing more space, less stress and less stuff. All of which I hope will mean more time, more space, and more money. It still doesn’t keep me from awakening with anxiety on what I no longer have.
Our full storage unit right before we closed it for the last time.
Tomorrow we leave for Spain. We’ve got most of our bags packed (and weighed), the girls and us are slumbering tonight on the floor in their room and I’ve got a detailed list of what needs to happen tomorrow. I never got around to getting Euro’s but do believe I returned all our library books. I’ll know for sure after it’s too late. I made a late night run to the post office and donation…well, leaving my stuff under the large semi parked outside Value Village is still considered a donation, right?? Our storage is almost all packed and dried! We have a few more boxes to add tomorrow. We have to drop off our little red car. I need to call and see if I can reserve our seats. I had NO idea I was booking a budget airline and had to pay $30 a seat to reserve our seats ahead of time. A bit problematic while traveling with small children. But maybe my loss is my win! Think of the poor person that gets stuck sitting next to Clara for a 10 hour flight! The kids carry-on bags are all packed with extra clothes, their blankie, their stuffie’s, snacks and their updated (and age-appropriate) tablets. Oh – and with headphones.
At this point, I am much more anxious than excited. I was excited months ago. Long before, the drawn out visa process and the reality of moving out and renting our home. Now, it’s just nervousness and anxiousness. Violet & Amelia are nervous about attending school in Spain. They realize that they will spend the day in a place where they don’t speak the language. I was excited long ago when I figured our visa’s would be in hand at least a week before our plane trip….not 2 days before. I was excited long ago when I didn’t know that the visa I was applying for was going to be a student visa valid for 90 days. To which now there will be more paperwork when we arrive (I’m told this is just part of the process). And before the reality of a 10 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany followed by a 6 hour lay-over and then another 2.5 hour flight to Madrid.
*Sigh*. It will be a grand adventure. I am excited to see the countryside. I am looking forward to not having a car. I am looking forward to sightseeing Castles and Museums in cities that are much older than any we have here in the U.S. I am looking forward to hiking. I am looking forward to many things. I’ve just lost my excitement for the moment while I instead spend my time being anxious and nervous about the nuts and bolts. Wish me luck!
It’s always nice to get a warm rain storm with a little thunder and lightning. Except when you have a fair amount of your belongings sitting out exposed while you try to apply your “bestest” jigsaw capabilities to optimizing the space in your storage unit. The morning started out with a steady, light rain. I asked Jeff if we should re-evaulate our schedule but it was best we just push forward with our plans for renting a moving tuck and moving most of our remaining boxes and big items. It may be raining just the same tomorrow. And by the time we got the moving truck and started loading it was sunny and humid. We stopped for dinner with the senior crowd at Applebee’s (no one had eaten since Breakfast). Even convinced the kids to order from the regular menu! I think the waitress was a little taken aback when I order chicken penne pasta without tomatoes or basil for Clara.
All was going well for quite some time. I completely underestimated how long it would take for us to load the moving truck and even further underestimated how long it would take us to complete the jigsaw puzzle of our storage unit. It sprinkled. We told Amelia not to say it outloud. Forty-five minutes later the looming dark clouds bust open. Busted. Open. Poured. Lightening. Poured. We got soaked and all puzzle solving went out the window. Instead, it became a game a how much and how quickly could we jam the remaining items into storage. Which by the way, included two bikes and a fish tank. I said it’d never fit; I was told to be positive or go home. (Oopsie, I decided it was only a little rain). Somehow the bikes fit. The fish tank and under-the-bed storage box went into an unlocked unit (which by the way was not empty so there’s some storage shed squatting going on). If it’s gone when we get back; oh well.
Each child got to ride in the moving truck once. Clara was SO excited!
Every homeowner has that list of repairs and improvements that seem to just sit on the back burner and never actually get done. Until they need to be done. We have been working hard cleaning, repairing, improving, painting and packing over the last few weeks. Most all of our belongings are packed up in storage or are now sitting in opened boxes around the house while we continue to live in a house that we are at the same time packing up. I’ve reached my limit on the mess, the chaos, the cleaning. Oh, the cleaning, how I have reached my limit. I got a high-five from the grocery store cashier today when I replied to her question of how I was doing with “Well, I’m going home and drinking.” It was 1pm. She said she was doing the same. I left out the part where I was also going to be scrubbing toilets and bathrooms….maybe she had something worse to do. And I guess when you add in the reason for the work is that you’ll be moving to Spain any sympathy would likely dissipate.
The trim looks amazing! Jeff has done a great job with it. I wish we were here to enjoy it more. The kids are not enjoying it as much as I keep getting after them about not touching the walls, not walking in the kitchen, touch only the door handles! I have deep cleaned the kitchen floor tile, the bathrooms, the kids room, scrubbed the closet doors, washed the blinds. I have painted all the door trim, the chair rail, and the odd touch-up painting.
Be sure to notice all the nice trim work!
As I have hauled groceries up our 3 flights of stairs, I can’t tell you how many times over how many years that I have thought to myself “When we move, I am hiring movers!”. Well we are moving and nope, no movers were hired.
I started packing up my bedroom! I pulled everything out of the closets and drawers and made piles of donate, definitely won’t take to Spain but will store and those clothes in the running for making the trip to Spain. While I thought the sorting and organizing my clothes was a bit cumbersome, it was nothing compared to sorting the kids clothes!
Here is the current pile of clothes for Clara for the year in Spain. Is this enough? Really, I have no idea. But sorting and organizing was a HUGE ordeal. So I needed to weed out stained and torn clothing…easy. Then I needed to see what fit currently and what had the potential to fit through the year. Then I needed to estimate what may fit kids when we returned and not only guess if it would fit but if it would fit in the correct season. Clara is fitting in a lot of size 5 clothes but so is Violet. And Violet isn’t completely into size 6 yet and Amelia isn’t completely out of size 7 yet. Whew! Just sitting there thinking about it is making your head swim! So finally, I made a bucket for each size – 5,6 & 7 and a large pile of donation for size 4 clothes. So anything that is a size 4 and isn’t traveling with us just needs to go to donation, as it won’t fit anyone when we return. And size 5 spring clothes most likely needs to go as well since it will be almost fall when we return. I started this process with Clara and worked my way up but really it would have been more efficient to go the opposite direction. Amelia would have tried on her clothes, anything that didn’t fit would move to Violet. If it fit Violet then in the drawer it went, if not then in the box for storage. And so and so on. In the end, I spent a day on sorting and organizing clothes. I have three large garbage bags for donation (all going to Eastside Baby Corner) which really seems like a lot to pull out of the kids room. But, really it’s already been said we have too much stuff! Including clothes. I picked the clothes for Clara for Spain, I had Violet make a few choices and I let Amelia make a lot more choices! Which was awful. She quickly realized that clothes she didn’t choose to travel with us would be too small for her when we returned and she had a meltdown. She’d weigh how much she already had a chance to wear the clothes, how much of a chance she’d have to fit into when she returned and what she might want to wear in Spain. I quickly realized I had given her too many choices and too much involvement in the process.
The kids now have a basket each (and a few hanging items) to wear between now and when we leave. I’ve got a bag of clothes for each kid destined for Spain set aside and all the other clothes have gone to storage or donation. I’m digging the no dressers (they are in storage already) and just a bucket of clothes. No drawers left open or half crammed shut.