The Storm before the Calm

The Storm before the Calm

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I lay here quietly way past my bedtime trying to allow the breathing thing to happen.

We’ve been so busy getting ready to go, emptying the house, coordinating pick ups and drop offs, saying our goodbyes, we can’t even get those excited jitters before you go on a exciting vacation. And THIS isn’t even just an exciting vacation, it’s basically a permanent one. You’d think we’d be bouncing off the walls with anticipation.

The truth is, the last few months have been stressful on every possible level. The fabric of our marriage has surely been tested! I am hoping it can only get easier from here.

Meanwhile, so many people have expressed their excitement for us, with such delight and giddiness I almost feel guilty for being so caught up in the preparation. I am hoping that this time next week the reality will have sunk in and I will be writing with a bit more joie de vive.

For now, this house is empty but for the mattress on the floor, the pile of stuff that didn’t make the cut and is waiting by the door to be picked up, and the garage full of the only belongings that will come with us tomorrow.

Although cutting emotional ties to the objects of my life was definitely difficult up front, what has proven to be more difficult is deciding what is necessity, particularly with regard to a toddler. When you empty your home, you find you have acquired multiples of things, perhaps because you find one will work better in a certain instance than another.

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Take sippy cups for instance. Marcella has a pretty flower one she likes but is too old for, plus it doesn’t fit in any cup holders. Then there’s a larger blue one with a similar squishy mouthpiece but no handles for when she develops greater dexterity. Then there’s two with a straw that folds down, small and large, convenient for packing and she uses straws better anyway. And I completely forgot what I left on the RV in this department (I should’ve made a list of such items. BAD organizing)….But there are at least two drinking vessels for the child. THEN my mom bought her another one with a straw that doesn’t fold but is closed off at the top so nothing spills out. I should only keep two. WHICH two?

This is just one category of clutter that I have to reduce to bare necessity, and the decision tree is harrowing.

Now imagine going through that elimination process with everything else:

Books, toys, jewelry, jackets, scarves, socks and underwear, shoes, cookware, utensils, towels, blankets, makeup, hair ties & clips, bags, lotions, soap, pens, bandaids, even the containers you’ll hold them all in, for God’s sake!

The list goes on. Then, we both have to agree on what makes it and what we let go.


Matt thinks we need nothing at all. Truly. Except for clothing (which he has a decidedly harder time paring down than I). We’ve had our fair share of disagreements in the course of the last few months. Ultimately, the trailer will have the final say about what will fit!

I’ve spent the better part of the last month coordinating with my Buy Nothing friends for trades and pick ups of my extraneous objects. I have to mention one more time how much I love this group and what it does. I’ve been thanked for my generosity because we probably gave away or donated $10k worth of stuff. No joke. But the truth is, it was easier to do this than try to sell everything. We sold big ticket items, and recuped a little over $2k.

Ultimately, the decluttering and downsizing process will be the most life changing aspect for me in this new endeavor. Face it: the travelling part is fun, and once I’ve learned to part ways with excess, living in a 320 sq ft space won’t be as challenging as you all are thinking.

Seriously, what is the American obsession with space? 

We never think our houses are big enough, that our children have enough play space, that yard is sized appropriately enough for a dog run, or even that the empty seat next to us on the bus should be occupied by anyone if there are open two seaters just steps away. Who am I kidding? People don’t even want to carpool without incentive in America let alone choose public transportation over their roomy SUVs.

For me, space isn’t an issue. I’m looking forward to a single story existence after a year of climbing the steps of a split level just to leave a room. But, I’ll be the first to admit how much sentimental value I placed on gifts and relics of my past, or thought for sure I’d use that Cuisinart mixer for cookies this year or might want to wear those 7 year old heels again some day…I had to face my object attachment head on, and I had no concept at all of how much it had been holding back my personal development.

I think we live with so much more stuff than we actually need or use because we’ve allowed ourselves to identify too deeply with objects. Letting them go is painful because we actually feel like we’re sacrificing a small part of ourselves. Acknowledging this is the first step in living freely and unencumbered by clutter. You are NOT your possessions.

Anywho, the decluttering movement is growing and you best get on board now before the rest of your life gets swallowed up by shopping/buying/accumulating routine! Start with this:




The Grand Departure

Matthew will make an early morning run with a full truck to my brother John’s house in Delaware. Since we can’t drive the RV into the city, we thought the easiest way to stage and prep would be at his suburban house an hour south of Philly. And THIS is contingent upon the snow fall forecasted for tomorrow morning having zero impact. Ironically, we chose to leave a week early because the weather this week looked far more favorable than next. That was a week ago and we should’ve just stuck with plan A.

While he’s making that run, I will stay home trying to clean the house for the next person and entertain the child without any of her toys, books or tv.

Poor thing has been so sick of these four walls. Thank goodness she’s still got her rhythm on call.



If you had to whittle your life’s property down to a bare minimum, what do you think you’d have the hardest time with? Post in comments!