Too much STUFF!

As our cross country move is approaching, I’m finding myself overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that we have.  I’ve already made several trips to the Salvation Army to purge some of it.  We don’t have any LARGE things to get rid of, and I don’t want to take the time for a yard sale so donating it seems to be the way to go.  I just don’t want to take it all with us.  There are so many things in this house that we haven’t touched in the 4 years we’ve been here.  I seriously doubt we will suddenly need them once we move.

Stuff takes up time and energy when you have to clean it, put it away, then find it again when you want it.  It can also be visually overwhelming as you look around and everything is crowded.  Like walking through the mall on Christmas Eve.

Our income is already less as an Army family, and we already know that our new home will be smaller than this one.  Thankfully, we are in a very modest home now at 1500 square feet, but we will likely be living in something around 900-1000 square feet.  We’ve done quite a bit of research and have a very specific budget that we plan to stay in as we do not want to exceed our BAH (Basic Housing Allowance) that the Army gives us.  Therefore, we will live in a smaller place.

We only have the 3 of us, plus a cat, so it’s totally doable.  I do really hope we are able to find a 3 bedroom house to live in, rather than just 2 so that we can become foster parents in our new state.  We need that 3rd bedroom for that.  I’m leaving that up to God though.  If He is ready for us to continue on our foster parenting journey, then I know He will provide just the house we need.

As I prepare for the movers that will come in a month, I’m planning to follow the advice I’ve received and place like things together around the house (photo frames in one place, linens in another, books all together, etc) so that the movers will pack like things together.  As I’m working on this, I’m having the urge to just get rid of anything that we don’t use regularly.  I don’t need more stuff to keep up with, clean, unpack, and find a home for.  Clutter gives me stress, and a lot of it.  I like things to have a “home”.  The less room we have, the less places we will have to put things.  If the stuff doesn’t have a home, that means it becomes clutter.

Some things take up a lot of room, but are worth it – like our homeschooling supplies.  Craft supplies, the laminator, books, workbooks, crayons – it all gets used daily, so it stays.    Things like winter jackets and extra blankets take up room but have a purpose.  Even those, I’ve gone through and got down to the basics.

Other things can go!  The glass decanter on top of the cabinets that has never had liquid inside it.  The snowman dishes that my mom bought me a few years ago because I thought they were cute.  They are twice the size of a normal dinner plate, don’t fit in the dishwasher, and are hardly used.  I’m sure they would make someone else very happy.

My cookbooks are another area I could purge again. There are a couple sentimental ones in there from my husband’s childhood, but I’m sure most of them could go.  Otherwise, I get most of my recipes online now.

My other books…that full bookshelf in our bedroom…it hurts to let them go, but I need to.  It’s not like I read the same books over and over.  I just keep them “in case”.  We are regular visitors at the library (as in so regular, I’m surprised they don’t have an air mattress for me to just sleep there!) – so I can usually find what I need there anyway.

Lovebug has been awesome about purging her toys!  We are trying to simplify there too.  She has very specific things that she plays with over and over.  The rest – not so much.  We keep one box out in the shed of toys to rotate in and out with the things she has in her room.  Honestly, so much of it is “out of sight, out of mind” that she never even asks for it.  We recently gave away several toys that she wasn’t playing with and donated them to a small church that was building up their children’s area.

All in all, I’m looking forward to it!  I’m excited about having less stuff to manage, and more time to just spend with my family and building relationships.

This next year is going to be a challenge for me as I attempt to manage our household a lot more simply.  To live on a much smaller budget while still feeding our family natural, organic, healthy foods.  To homeschool our daughter using supplies on hand, or things we can get cheaply to supplement the curriculum we already have.  To entertain our family on outings and adventures by finding the frugal or free things to do in the new city.  To keep our house organized and tidy, and to have dinner prepared most nights in time for us to all sit down together as a family.

It’s going to be a great year!

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