Some people suggested getting the kids involved in the paring down process, help them understand what we’re doing, the small amount we’re able to take with us, etc. So several weeks ago I pulled out a giant box and asked them each to put in some old toys and clothes they didn’t wear anymore. After several days of evaluating their rooms and searching their souls for the material things they truly needed, they filled that box with one book and half of a broken toy.
Barry was a bit better. He did gave away a bag of clothes, but perhaps more telling are the things he did not get rid of: a bag of golf clubs unused for 15 years, a pile of clothes left inexplicably for years at the bottom of his laundry basket because he couldn’t figure out how to wash them, and a 20-year-old textbook on accounting that’s been in the basement since we moved in. Those all stay. What goes? Toys, cooking equipment, fiction books, blankets, you know—other people’s stuff.
And I get it, it’s hard to get rid of your own stuff. Which is why I started making a sweep of the house every time the kids were in school and Barry was at work. I filled many many trash bags and boxes upon boxes of give-away items. The only negative of this approach, is that everyone starts scanning the house for all their valuables when they come home.
Every once in a while I do hear “Did you throw out my shaving cream?” “Where’s my face mask made of feathers?” or “Where are the blankets for my fort?”, and I hear occasional complaints from the kids too.
Now the tougher problem for this week will be fitting everything we want to bring with us for a year into eight bags. However, given my years of (over) training in both planning and Tetris, I feel we might be able to pull it off. Now what happened to all my notepads? “Barry, did you throw out my notepads?!”