Total Pageviews

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Five Things I Learned About Life - Through Packing

During the packing process just to de-clutter the house I learned some valuable information.

1. I shop too much.  I threw away tons of things with tags still on it.  Things I forgot I purchased.  And TONS of stuff I forgot I even had.  I feel disgusted with myself.  Not just the total waste of money, but the extra stuff in an already packed house.  Out.Of.Control

I vow to only go to the store when we actually need something.  To buy only what we need.  Not to save coupons unless I actually need that item.

2. Too much kid stuff.  The kids have so much stuff they can't appreciate what they really like.  Not only is it us buying too much, but the amount of gifts they each get for Christmas, birthdays, etc.  adds to a HUGE amount of stuff.  It's certainly not that we're not appreciative of our very generous friends and families.  It's just that, one family can only have so much stuff.  It seems silly to throw out or donate perfectly fine toys just because more toys are comin' their way.  I'm trying to come up with a way to ask  for experiences rather than actual things.  I'm not sure how to say that without sounding like an ungrateful greedy bitch.  If you have any insight for me, let me know.   Seriously.  Let me know.

Just today Victoria wanted a math game app that was 9.99.  Right away she said, "That's too much tho, right?"  I pulled out an iTunes gift card she got her her birthday.  (I found it in a birthday bag last week that was yet to be unpacked from last April - that's how over the top our problem was.)  She was thrilled!

3. It's ok to let go.  So many things have memories.  So many things are worth something.  I can remember what came from each person.  For me to throw something out that someone gave me, is so hard.  I feel like that person will be offended.  Then I thought, Would I care if she threw it out three years after I gave it to her?  Hell no.  I couldn't care less.  So, I tossed it.

4.  Giving makes me feel so good.  Our amazing daycare does a new theme each month.  This month happens to be construction.  I went through Christian's room and pulled out all of his play tools.  A large bin full.  I figured Christian uses real tools now and Brecken has more time to play with them at daycare than he does here anyway.  I also gave one of his walker/riders we bought him last year at this time (he still has two here!) seven toddler puzzles, games, art supplies, Diplo building blocks, play vacuum, close to 100 books….at least one full load each day this week.  Luckily for us she was thrilled.
Everyday I picked him up and saw kids reading our books or laying on their little bellies doing a puzzle I felt like a million bucks.

We packed up clothes, shoes, blankets, towels, toys, and a stroller for Mark's brother and sis in law who are having a baby in a couple months.  That makes packing up baby things so much easier.  Knowing another baby we love is going to use the stuff makes it so much easier to move on.

Giving is great.

5. Less is more.  Less stuff is a good thing.  It's just stuff.  Unless I love it.  It should go.  I brought tons of stuff to school in the last couple weeks.  Hundreds of books.  Name it.  I brought it.  My friend walked in and she offered her basement to us for storage.  I actually said, "Oh don't worry about it.  Half the stuff I hope gets broke so I don't have to keep it."  The look on her face told me, that's a very odd thing to say.  Up until then I didn't think anything of it.  Why am I keeping seven large vases?  I buy people flowers just to give the vase away and people actually drive the empty vase back to my house.  Guess, why.  They don't want the vase either!  I kept a few "antique" vases my grandma gave me.  The rest we tossed into the dumpster.

Time to Sell the House

            This March will mark one decade of living in our current home.  We got married in February and found our house the following week and moved in the next March.  It is our “starter” home.  We (Mark) has made major improvements to our house over the last ten years.  He cut out a window in the kitchen and made it a sliding door that leads to a two tier deck.  Kitchen was remodeled.  Basement completely finished.  Adding a very nice bathroom with a large bathtub with jets (that the kids have thoroughly enjoyed over the years).   He added a fourth bedroom.  Just a few weeks after Brecken was born he added a bay window to our living room which was a huge improvement.  A couple weeks ago he added pantry style doors around our refrigerator.  There’s constantly a project going.
During every project we always talk about resale value.  In the ten years we’ve lived here, the market took a nose dive and within a few years we were under water.  We felt defeated.  We’ve put in so much money and time and now we owe MORE than it’s worth.  Disgusting.  We continued to dream about moving.  We continued to be frustrated with our lack of space, especially in the winter.
         As the years passed and the market is making a comeback, we’ve talked more and more about moving.  We’ve saved and saved.  We’ve looked at house (on line) of what we’d like tons of times.  That is enjoyable for Mark, me, not so much.  However, I am very admit about moving.  For years I held the “Third Baby” over Mark’s head.  I would agree to a third child IF we moved.  Turns out I wanted that baby just as bad as Mark.  TGIFTC  (Thank God for Third Children)
        In early October of this year we gathered our financial information for a loan officer.  A couple weeks later we were pre-approved.  On Sunday, November 3rd, our realtor came over to walk through the house to determine what our price point may be.  Sure enough.  We got great news.  We may actually be able to sell and make a PROFIT!  We were thrilled.  We were pumped.  We hadn’t told anybody at all, yet, that we were in this process because, we didn’t think it would really pan out.   So many things had to fall into place for this to work.  After he left, we told the big kids our plan. 

They were shocked for a few minutes, but as we gave them more information, such as: We get to take everything in the house with us; they were on board.
     The realtor went room by room, closet by closet, with us and told us what had to remove before a showing.  More than 50% needed to be removed to be uncluttered and everything personal needed to be removed.  Turns out our house was VERY personalized.    Pictures everywhere.  Framed, canvases, tape to cupboards and the refrigerator.  In every room of the house, even five in the bathroom alone!  When there wasn’t a picture our names were posted.  A Welcome Home canvas with our last name, the kids’ names embroidered or wooden cut outs in each room.
I decided the first step was to remove everything from the walls.  On Monday the 10th I had a professional development day.  When I left school I had way more energy than a typical day.  So I left Brecken in the car and took EVERYTHING down from the walls and loaded up the minivan.  This was no small task.  However, I was on a mission and had everything down and packed in twenty minutes.  I went to pick up the big kids and learned they were both sick.  Victoria had threw up twice that day (once being in my dad’s van).  We headed over to Great Grandma’s house.  She is our super special storage for my most prized possessions: My pictures!   I unloaded and headed home with two sick kids and a hungry 19 month little boy.  This was my first taste of running the family as if nothing is happening and having the part time job of packing up a decade of crap.
The next day the big kids were still sick.  I brought Brecken to daycare and did sub plans at school.  Victoria was so sick she was barely moving.  Christian wasn’t feeling good, but he was very interested in packing.  He had to take a lot of breaks to lie down, but he was actually a good little packer.
The next day we all went back to our normal life.  Which now included, when we get home we eat dinner, give Brecken a bath and get him to bed and then we’re all on a mission to pack as much as possible.  Every single night we pack and stay of up way too late.  We got a new furnace.  We got a new roof.  Saturday, the 8th was my birthday.  We packed ALL day.  Our pod had arrived in the driveway and we had a place to put all of the boxes.  We filled a dumpster and a bagster.  Slowly….slowly… the house was getting less and less cluttered.  Until, our voices were actually echoing.
         The packing lasted until last night.  Mark has been finishing and touching up things around the house for two weeks.  The kids and I are Box Ninjas.  Everyone has a job, get the box, put the bottom together, tape it, cut the tabs, fill it, tape the top, label it and ship it off to the pod.  I love their handwriting all over the boxes: Basement Randoms and then a cute picture or their name all fancy.  I wish I would have recorded Victoria packing her stuffies.  OMG.  She sorted them.  She’s allowed 5 to stay in the house.  We negotiated.  She carefully selects the box, then GENTLY places them into the box one by one with a little kiss.  Then she choose a blanket to cover them with before the lid goes on.  It took all of my patience to not throw them all in the trash and move on.  Seriously, she has over 300!  It’s out of control.  Luckily, I remember moving as a child, and it’s very emotional.  It’s not your decision at all and your world seems to be coming down around you.  It was very important to me, that we kept it as fun as possible and that they feel involved and that’s it’s really all of decision.

This morning I loaded up one last load to come to school (I’ve brought hundreds of books to my classroom instead of putting them in boxes for no little fingers to hold).  While the kids were waiting in the minvan I ran through each room one last time.
     The cleaner came yesterday.  The photographer came in the afternoon.  The house will be on the market on Sunday (if all goes as planned).  What a wild, stressful ,crazy, exciting time it’s been these last couple weeks.