One of the many benefits of moving such a far distance is having to be mindful of exactly what you choose to take with you. It quickly becomes a lesson in simplifying. One that can be kind of hard at first, but yet insanely freeing.
When you've got two small 8'x5x7' storage containers to ship everything you think you'll need to start your life over, you think about everything. Will this benefit me there? Will I be annoyed when I open this box to see I wasted time and space to ship this? Does it serve a purpose to help our life?
Our home in Pennsylvania wasn't large by most people's standards back East--but somehow, in that townhome we managed to accumulate a whole lot of junk over the years. Every single closet, every single drawer must be opened when you move. There is no more secret-keeping and hiding the 'dirty laundry' behind door #1. Those leftover Christmas boxes that would be perfect for the cookie-making I never did shoved back in the depths of the closet had to be uncovered. The cheap purses and beach bags I'd collected over the last 10 years filled with old receipts were found. The old boxes upon boxes of my things from my teaching days I held onto "just in case" were just collecting dust.
If moving revealed anything to me it's that even if I didn't think so, I had excess. I had excess of most everything and moving revealed all our dirty little secrets about what we really had. What we held onto. What kind of junk was lurking behind drawers and closet doors.
I wish I had kept count, because I can't even tell you how many bags of clothes I gave away. How many baby toys, swaddles, jumpers, all the stuff you keep 'in case' that we got rid of. Endless amounts of things that ended up by curb, things that went to donation, were given to friends and family, and things that got sold.
Every single thing that came with us to this side of the country was a conscious decision as we put it into a box because, mostly, we needed it.
I cannot even tell you how relieving it was when we packed up those two u-boxes knowing full well that everything we were taking had a purpose. There wasn't much excess. There was no room for that.
Unpacking on this side was wonderful and dare I say--easy. When you aren't looking for closets and drawers to tuck things away you 'may' need one day--it's funny, but, you end up with lots of free drawers in your kitchen and open closet space. And it's NICE.
I've always talked about simplifying. I WANT TO LIVE LIKE A MINIMALIST! I live in a small'ish house, so clearly back in Pennnsylvania I was "living simply", as my sign boasted on the wall.
But no. We weren't. I wasn't.
To live simply is to live clear, to live easily, with what you need and not too much more.
Do I still have too many clothes? Yes. Are there far too many little girl shoes thrown around the living room? Yes. Have I perfected this simplifying thing? No.
But did we make a huge, giant leap in the process? Absolutely.
I don't know about you, but reducing complexity is always welcomed in my life.
We may have a long ways to go, but hitting the refresh button certainly helped us reevaluate all that stuff.