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Taking stock, post-move

I can officially say that our move is completed. Our new place isn’t completely unpacked yet, but the old place is clean and the keys have been handed back. Shutting the door and walking away for the last time is highly satisfying, even if getting to that place can be harrowing.

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I spend a lot of time thinking about the stuff we carry around with us – stuff we need, stuff we think we need, our treasures, things we use every day, things we hold on to from tradition. Adding moving into that equation puts me into overdrive. I noticed a couple of major emotional arcs in the process.

There was the euphoria of the first easy box, the first sign that the move is really happening! I gamely decided to purge a lot of my clothing and art supplies. Then I packed the remaining art supplies, and realized that I’d filled 5 boxes with it. Ok. Hard work, but the panic really started to set in when I turned my attention to the kitchen. So many weird, fragile, oddly shaped, large items. I ran out of boxes. I began to loathe myself for keeping so much stuff around me. My mood lifted when we took our first few runs to the new place with awkward things like lamps and musical instruments. Progress!

But then I had to face the kitchen again. I started mixing “odds and ends” with kitchen stuff and created a 10′ sq. pile of things that weren’t well-packed enough to go into a moving truck. Still, our wonderful friends and family (including my fantastic, level-headed sis) showed up to help and boxes and furniture disappeared like magic. We moved what felt like 95% of everything and unloaded it at the new place in 30 minutes flat. We got home after taking our helpers to lunch and set up the bed. Lying on it was as euphoric as packing that first box, and we spent the rest of the day happily shuffling around the new place. But then we had to go back to the old place today for that last 5%, which is always more like 20%. We almost drove away without everything because our car was so packed. But we thought better of it and decided to cram everything in after all. Our good old Civic wasn’t pleased and Nathan was carrying two flower pots on his lap with a ceramic tree crowding his feet but we did it. Euphoria again!

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One of the huge features of our new place is that Nathan and I both have a room devoted to our respective hobbies in our basement. I’ll have my own sewing space! My last sewing space was in our main room. I’m hoping that having dedicated sewing space that I can’t see all the time will help me maintain a nice balance between sewing and living. Another big feature is a garage where I can play with silkscreen printing and shibori without destroying our bathroom.

Orson has decided Nathan’s reading room is his favorite.

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I’ve been running on fumes, rice chips and string cheese for the past four days, and haven’t set up my new space. Rest assured it’s one of my top priority after my school finals tomorrow! (Yep, I really know how to layer on the stress.) My other priority is to do another round of purging while I’m still feeling the sting of moving. I would love to hear any tips you have on living simply and paring down. I’m a hoarder by nature who is trying to live by minimalist principles, so I always appreciate ideas and inspiration.

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35 thoughts on “Taking stock, post-move

  1. Congrats on the move and the newly designated sewing space! I wish you luck with the next round of purging. My boyfriend is much more minimalist than I am, so I like to keep him around when I am cleaning and purging. He helps me put some objects into perspective.

  2. Yay for moving. Being done is the best feeling. So will being finally unpacked.

    I’m in the process of trying to organize my sewing space (also shared with my partner) and it’s been quite fun so far. Enjoy!

  3. Congrats on your move! I dream of the day when my boyfriend and I each have our own workspace. We share a very tiny office now and it is often uncomfortable. While I have a ton of stuff, I’m also constantly getting rid of things. I find that always having a “to donate” bag sitting in the closet helps. It makes it that much easier to drop a questionable item into it instead of hanging it back up and thinking maybe next time you’ll consider getting rid of it.

    • Thanks, Erin! Having my own space has been a dream for years, I can’t believe it finally happened. The permanent “donate” bag is a great idea!

  4. Glad to gear I’m not the only one conpletely overwhelmed by all the sh*t I own! I moved on Saturday, and just like every time I move I just want to toss everything and live with one bowl, one fork, and a toothbrush. Still, to stay sane I find that I go through all my clothes in a sort of ‘spring cleaning’ 3-4 times a year. For us sewists, I find it’s a total necessity to cull out things quite often. As for the rest of my stuff…

  5. Your new place sounds ace – that’s great you both have your own ‘me’ space! I’ll look forward to any moving tips that come up here as we’re moving mid-July and I know I need to do a lot of purging. Like Erin I always have a charity shop bag sitting in our hallway – that way anytime I finish with a paperback, or find an item of clothing I no longer like, it goes straight in the bag.

    • Thanks, Kathryn! I guess my only tip at this point is that it’s way easier to get rid of unwanted things ahead of time instead of moving them. Also, I over-focused on fabric, but my fabric was easy to move and there wasn’t nearly as much of it as, say, old sports gear! I wish I had prioritized my purging or given myself more time to focus on all areas of my belongings.

  6. Congrats on the move! I can relate to the feelings you talk about – having gone through it last year. I am still trying to get rid of more stuff all the time, and I´ve been reading some minimalist living blog posts and such. There are a lot of great ideas out there, but the ones that appeal the most to me is to take one area at a time – work in small chunks of time, just clean out one drawer a day – that´s easier than trying to get everything at once, in my opinion.

    Good luck with settling in!

    • Yes! I’ve read that before too, taking one area at a time. Somehow, I always need a reminder of that – I’ll start prepping myself to purge my entire space, only to find that I can’t start because I’m overwhelmed.

  7. packing and moving is the absolute worst! we’ve moved short and long distances more times than i would have liked, and every time i look at our boxes of stuff and wonder why we have it all. i’m pretty good at purging, but the rest of the family… not so much. it does feel good once the new place gets settled and starts to feel like home. good luck, and woo-hoo for dedicated sewing space! getting my own sewing room changed my sewing life completely.

    • Thanks, Lisa! Luckily our move was a short distance; I have a hard time making a long distance move. Even though we don’t have a ton of stuff on paper, it still sounds daunting!

  8. I just went through move so I totally relate to everything you’ve written here. Especially the bit where you hate yourself for having so much stuff! As for minimalism, this is not my strong area, I am a crazed pack rat.

  9. Congrats! The new space looks gorgeous.

    I’m the exact same – a hoarder trying to be a minimalist. Last summer we moved one state over and got rid of almost all of our belongings. Even sentimental stuff. I suffered choking sobs as I gave away books, donated fabric and sold furniture. Now? I’m fine! I’ve been extremely careful with purchases and get rid of things a bit easier. I do live next to a bookstore, which has been a big strain on our budget, but I don’t consider books hoarding – they’re entertainment PLUS it’s helping the local economy. We could use an extra spatula, but I’d rather just make-do. It’s been an interesting experience for sure.

    I don’t have any specific tips, but I do feel better and less overwhelmed when I have less. I can’t work in a cluttered space! I’m excited to see your sewing room. That’s great you each have space for your hobbies.

    • Creating an un-cluttered work space is huge for me too. I realized that a couple of years ago, and have been trying to keep mine clear. It’s hard, but my productivity pretty much depends upon it. Congratulations on breaking through that barrier and achieving a more minimalist lifestyle!

  10. I know that feeling of having too much stuff! When I packed up a month ago after my freshman year of college, I felt like crying after having to take out one more box. But in my opinion, it’s just because we always imagine stuff as smaller than it actually is. Congratulations on your new space and enjoy it to its fullest!

  11. We had massive floods around here a few years ago that luckily didn’t affect our own belongings much, but since then, I’ve kept my hoarding in check by regularly asking myself, “If a flood wiped out my house, what would I truly be upset about?” If the items don’t make the list, I’m likely not as attached as I think I am. But it’s always easier said than done to actually get rid of those things! :)

    • Fascinating! Your flood litmus-test reminds me that belongings are both assets and liabilities. I found that the things I use/depend on most – my laptop, my sewing machine, my toothbrush, favorite shoes – were the things I moved last so I could use them up until the last minute.

  12. Well done on your move, it looks exhausting but ultimately worth it. Regarding the minimalism ‘thing’, I find it gets easier every year. Here are some tips I find helpful:
    Clothes – turn all your hangers the wrong way round and when you replace a garment put it in the right way round. Anything unworn after a year never will be.
    Kitchen – only keep the stuff appropriate for your real cooking. For example, if you don’t give formal dinner parties any more, you probably don’t need 8 ramekins or a fancy cheese grater (ask me how I know!) and anything rusty should go right away.
    Ornaments – arrange your space so that you can breathe and then work on a one in, one out basis, or have a ‘clutter’ shelf or dresser leaving everywhere else clean.
    CDs – we sold 90% to a company where you scan in your CDs online. Everything left is either precious or on an iPod.
    Books – the hardest one of all. If you crack this, let me know! These and my loft are the next areas I want to tackle.
    Great websites: Becoming Minimalist, miss minimalist. There are quite a lot more, I like to read about families who manage life in an RV for example (do a google search).
    Hope your finals went well!

  13. Oh my gosh, I can so relate! When we moved last June, I lost my mind– it was so stressful! We downsized and lost a lot of storage, so even still I feel much more choked by the stuff I own since it’s more visible now. I’m a former minimalist (I moved frequently as a kid, then moved cross country out of suitcases all throughout my early 20’s, so I never really accumulated anything, but the last few years I’ve felt it all piling up around me. I desperately need to go through my apartment room by room and get rid of more stuff!

    I’m glad you found such a nice place to live! It sounds awesome! Here’s hoping you settle in quickly and are able to relax after all this mayhem is over! Good luck with your finals!

    • Thanks, Sonja! It’s really starting to feel like home. The loss of storage is rough, it’s really hard to feel at ease when you can see too much of your stuff. But I’ll bet you could get your minimalist mindset back – it might be easier than the other way around!

  14. Reading this is making me anxious, haha. We are moving in a few months (several states away) and I want to get rid of so much of our stuff. I would rather give it away than pack it! But my husband is more of a hoarder so he tries to get me to keep it. And the kids- well, they want to keep EVERYTHING. I am hoping to have my own sewing room after we move, right now I have a table in the corner of the living room and it is just overflowing!

    • Good luck on your big move! It’s great that you’re starting to think about what you want to give away early – hopefully your husband and kiddos can get on board, too! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get your own space, one corner table just isn’t enough!

  15. congratulations on your move! Every time I move, usually every 2 years, I purge as a I pack and I purge as I unpack – if you can’t find a home for something in your new home you probably don’t need it! Saying that, I do have a “random electronics stuff” box sitting in a corner since my last move, that will have to be dealt with next move this summer!

    • That’s such a good idea, the packing and unpacking purge. Electronics are something I struggle with, too. I’ve found a few places that recycle used computer gear, I should look more into whether or not they accept things like power sources, cables, etc. Those kinds of things drive me insane.

  16. Can I just focus for a minute on your new sewing space and your printing space. Wow. That is so exciting. It might be hard now that you have all this extra space not to accumulate… expand to your surroundings! We live in a small house and I’m constantly stressing about the amount of stuff we have, urrgh, I’ll have to read everyone else’s comments more closely to see how we can deal with it. We still have a garage full of books from when we moved that are still sitting there :(

    • Thanks, Kirsty! I’m really excited. Although the thought of expanding into the space occurred to me too! I really do love a spare space, however, so I’m hoping that will keep me from accumulating. Books are really tough for me as well. I’m holding on to some art history texts that I will realistically never read again. After reading everyone’s comments, I think I wil do another purge as well!

  17. This post makes me so happy I could just spit! And look at that cat.

    Being in the middle of a relocation myself, I’d like to chime in with my two cents: moving is an awesome opportunity (maybe the most awesome opportunity?) for paring down to a more simple existence! You’re essentially forced to look at every item you own (or boxes of items – red flag!) and decide where they fit into your “new” life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and just shove it all into a box, but if you take the time to be joyful and fun about it (dreaming of your new space, your new plans and aspirations) letting go is not so hard. Set up a big box and a bunch of bags for donation or disposal alongside while you pack, and it becomes so much easier. (I have several bags: one for shredding, one for recycle, a bag for things I’ve borrowed from my sister, etc.).

    I relish moving (I’m sure I’m the minority here) because it combines so many wonderful things: the excitement of a new adventure, redecorating, and also being forced to examine what material goods you’re hauling around in this world – terrifying, and bracing, but it can be rewarding! Moving is great that way – otherwise, how easy is it just to shove a box into one dark corner or other and forget about it for years and years??

  18. Heard about your blog over on megan Neilson’s “what blogs do you follow” post and am now following your blog! Have no idea why I never saw it before as I’m also a WP blogger. And, Kitty (my cat, quite famous on our blog, lol) thinks that Orson is just delicious! What a cutiepie! I’m looking forward to seeing what sewing projects you come up with!

    (And, hang in there, with the overworked aspect. I just wrote a patternmaking exam, was working, attending weekly meetings, and trying to finish up some sewing projects for sewalongs I am participating in, plus have to move and am looking for a place to move as well as looking for a new job!!! Sometimes, you just have to put things aside and say ‘no’ once in a while, as if you are too overwhelmed to enjoy life, then others around you won';t enjoy it either. Hope you have everything sorted now!)

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