We’ve felt the shifting winds of our upcoming move for some time. For all of last year I felt quite restless. We were under contract for The Green House for much of February. Renovations are pushing the actual move back to the end of March.
On one hand the extended timeline is a blessing which provides time to think through cleaning, purging, how to organize packing, etc. On the other hand the long wait is an effective measurement to see just how crazy Evelyn can get because living in this limbo of “yes, we’re moving but just not yet” is so hard!
I started packing boxes weeks ago because something just had to happen. I needed to see progress in order to feel like this dream of moving will indeed actually come true. (It turns out that living with packed boxes lying around the home is a difficult situation also, because I spend much of the day keeping the tiny people from climbing up/jumping on/hiding among/stabbing or “helping” by re-opening the boxes.)
So boxes packed with stuff sit in corners of the Shoebox. One such box is labeled “Kitchen Non-Essentials.” I knew even as I scribbled in permanent marker that the title of the box would surely serve as a dismissal notice for the items within but I wrote it anyways.
I have a problem with boxes of unused stuff lying around, though, and it is this: If I can live happily for over six weeks without something, maybe I’d be better off not owning it at all?
If I can live happily for six weeks without something, maybe I’d be better off not owning it at all?
Hence the conundrum of the “non-essentials” box. (And, incidentally, the storage unit across town which has remained full for 4.5 years yet I can only think of perhaps seven items that I actually want back.)
You might be wondering why one box of belongings is such a big deal when we’re moving into a larger space. Good question. It’s simple: Caveman and I both desire to see our life in The Green House develop into one even more minimalistic than we’ve enjoyed here. One way to see that goal realized is to set a very high bar for what actually enters The Green House.
Of course the heart of minimalism isn’t so much about forsaking stuff for the sake of merely owning less. It’s about focusing time and energy on that which is life-giving to us.
…The heart of minimalism isn’t so much about forsaking stuff for the sake of merely owning less. It’s about focusing time and energy on that which is life-giving to us.
Often times extra stuff detracts from such a motion and the result is simply owning fewer belongings.
Caveman and I wouldn’t call ourselves minimalists and maybe we never will. After all, as Joshua Becker often points out, minimalism is a journey like much of life. It’s not so much a destination as it is a mindset. A focusing past stuff on the more-important non-stuff stuff. 🙂
As we “downsize” to a slightly larger home, perhaps we should decide what lands in boxes by asking these questions of each item:
- Does it support a lifestyle which is life-giving to us?
- Does it help to reinforce the values by which our family lives?
- In which ways are our lives enriched by owning this?
So back to that “non-essentials box”. Here is what is actually inside and if we are keeping it or not:
Random, I know. It’s a collection of, well, kitchen miscellaneous. Linens, some used some brand new. Lots of tea. There are vitamins or herbal supplements. Those are dried chopped carrots in that bag on the left, by the way. They taste like I imagine the cushions on an airplane seat would, so I never cook with them. They serve as a sensory activity for the children.
Further below that first layer lies the juicing machine, a couple glass serving bowls, more linens, more tea.
We chose to donate/ get rid of these items:
It’s a start. 🙂 For now I plan on crossing out the phrase “non-essential” on the box because we have determined that, for now at least, we will consider the rest of the belongings necessary. Going forward, we have our set of questions to assist in packing for our new start in The Green House.
Do you have a set of questions or method which help choose which belongings to keep and to get rid of? I’d love to hear. Start the discussion below! 🙂