Organizing isn’t always easy. We are surrounded by our possessions that often seem to possess us. If we think about buying something rarely do we go past the price of the item. We don’t think about where we are going to store it. We don’t think about having to clean it. We don’t think about how we are going to eventually have to get rid of it. But what if we started asking ourselves a new question; what would you grab if you had five minutes to leave your house?
Many of us living in the Red River Valley have had to face this question in a real way over the last ten to twenty years. I was one of those people who lived close to the river and brought all of my downstairs contents on to the main floor. That was the year I refused to let anything go back downstairs before I looked at it. I got rid of large amounts of things that year. I almost feel like I need to do that again. However I could do without the threat of natural disaster.
I really want to live a minimalist lifestyle and as soon as my youngest graduates I will be ready to move to something smaller. Until that time, we need to get rid of 80% of our items. My goal when we move is to move in a small moving truck, you the one that you can drive. I don’t want to hire movers. I have a dream of living in a houseboat on Lake Union, WA. It is a tiny space and my husband and I enjoy each others company, but could he move without his comic book collection?
But what if you walked into each room of your house now and started asking yourself the questions; what would I grab?
Living room: I have some pictures in frames of my boys when they were little and I have my husbands 13 cubes designating the 13 patents he has. Those are important to him so I should probably grab them. The furniture isn’t important. The decorations aren’t anything special. That room was easy!
Kitchen: The most important things here are family recipes. Some are handwritten and some are typed. I also have a few of my grandmother’s kitchen items that mean something to me, but I could let them go as I know that the possession does not make the memory any less strong. I have a good knife set and some nice everyday plates that I would take with me. I know I wouldn’t grab my china and crystal.
Office: We have a basket where all the bills are kept and passwords are written down. This would be an important item to take with us. But I also think that we could downsize this into a single sheet of paper. Sounds like a weekend project for my hubby! I would take my Surface, external hard drive and my extra monitor as I work so much better with a second screen. I also have a few books and pictures I would grab. Everything else I am ok living without.
Bedroom: The furniture isn’t important. The hardest things will be my clothes. However I really am not attached to many. Right now I am in between sizes and working towards being ready to wear my collection of cute dresses for summer. I have clothes that make me happy and I love to wear. Those would be the first ones I would grab. I have some favorite shoes as well that I would grab, perhaps 4 pairs.
Bathroom: Really most everything can be left. I have my makeup I wear and I have that pretty well organized and my face wash. A fair share of hair products but the rest I can leave. We only have one towel for each of us so that is easy enough. I have a collection of white wash clothes that I wash my face with that I would need but can be easily replaced. Most items in my bathroom I could live without.
Kids rooms: Once again a few personal items as they wear the same clothes and have very little. My older boys who are at college have left behind one large tote each with their sentimental items. We have done the hard sort before they left for school and I would highly suggest doing this. Have your kids help in this process. You would be surprised what they want to keep and what you would want them to keep. Listen to them, not your sentimental heart.
Basement/Family room: This is where I store my favorite books and my photo albums. This would probably be the room that I grab the most things from. I know that when we had the issue with the Red River flooding I could fill an entire SUV with photo albums and pictures. This is an area that I need to scan and store in the cloud. Sounds like a job for a teen boy this summer. I really don’t want to have to take all of that with me when we move. It takes up a lot of space. I also do not want to rent storage space.
Garage/Storage space: Another place to ask the hard questions. Why are we keeping certain items that we never use? If I had a few minutes I would probably grab three totes, one for each boy where I saved their baby items and special toys. My husband has been great at releasing things from the garage. We have that space fairly well weeded down.
So the challenge this week is to walk around your home with a new set of eyes. If you were forced to grab just a few items, what would you grab? You will suddenly realize what is important to you. Chances are it isn’t the physical possessions but rather items that have sentimental meaning to you. Have other family members do the same thing and compare the results. It may lead to an interesting family discussion. Now it might be easier to start donating the items that you wouldn’t grab.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
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