Moving is an extremely painful process. Just saying…
Once my wife and I decided to sell our house so that we might finally reside in the same town seven days a week instead of only on the weekends, the process of de-cluttering began—otherwise known as getting rid of sh$@.
In all fairness, some of the stuff we own is truly crap that needed cleaning out ten years ago when we first moved from our respective houses to this one. At one point between the two of us we owned three houses (almost four, but we sold that one before moving into our new house). I have no idea what I was thinking when I lugged some of that crap from our other houses ten years ago because we haven’t touched those boxes since we moved and none of it serves a useful purpose now or in our new clutterless life.
Now here’s where it starts to get interesting…there are numerous items that are painful to part with and that has been an evolving process for both of us. The art of negotiation and reasonableness goes right out the window as we both jockey for the essential stuff we wish to bring to our tiny 1,000 foot condo that by the way is already fully furnished. Admittedly most of those items are not your run of the mill crap, but very expensive artwork, electronics, and other sentimental items that both of us have a hard time letting go of.
I know I can’t take my Disney collection with me, but I snuck all the lithographs still in their Disney shopping bags into my car and plan on stuffing them into a corner of the storage unit. I have no logical reason for doing this, but sentiment and logic have nothing in common with one another. Yes, we’re getting a storage unit for all that stuff we simply cannot part with yet, but will not fit in the condo.
I’m not proud of myself as I confess that I wasn’t using any of the communication skills learned from my crucial conversations classes as I pushed my wife to let go of a fair number of her albums (vinyl) that I know for a fact she hasn’t touched in ten years. I may have used profanity…hanging my head in shame. Here is the after clutter picture, but note the vinyl that is clustered at the bottom (a spill over from the cabinet below).
Finally, we came to an amiable place and I texted her on Monday as the guilt from my Catholic upbringing overwhelmed me. I asked her to send me the dimensions of the cabinet she wants to bring to the condo. My initial reaction was horror, disbelief, and an adamant, “no way – not an option.” She quickly tossed out that my bronze statue (how could I possibly get rid of that) sitting on the stone pedestal shouldn’t come either if her cabinet wouldn’t fit. Good point, but at the time I didn’t necessarily see it that way. I was in a much more objective mood on Monday.
I’ve moved one of the trikes sitting in the condo’s second bedroom to storage and low and behold there is plenty of room for her cabinet and my statue!
Ultimately, we have the same important goal—to live together and enjoy life because after all everyone knows that life is too short. As we move through this painful process, keeping that goal in the forefront will be what saves our sanity.
By the way, we got rid of every single book with the exception of the signed books I purchased at last year’s GCLS from fellow authors and some of my wife’s helpful naturopathic books. I shed a few tears as I parted with some of my treasured books, including some first edition classics, but everything I let go of allows us to get closer to our goal. The picture below was before we packed up all our books.
Late breaking news….below is the stack of vinyl that my wife is getting rid of. There is compromise at work after all!
Thank goodness for e-books because they don’t take up much space at all. For those of you who have had to go through this process, just know that every one of my books comes in a space saving e-book!
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4 thoughts on “An Exercise in Communication…”
I feel your pain. We’ve lived in the same house for over twenty years. When we moved here, we had quite an accumulation of books after only seven years of living together. The movers asked if we’d ever heard of a place called a library – this was long before the invention of ebooks. Anyway, several large boxes of books ended up in the shed. And years later, we disposed of these, having not looked at them in all that time. Every now and again we say we need to cull some books to make way for new ones. This process ends with agreement on maybe one book being given away (and not usually one of mine!).
So, just a thought – how about moving to a bigger condo?
I can so relate. When we moved in together I had boxes and boxes of books that were donate to the library. They sold them in their book sale and the proceeds benefit the community. We still have a lot of stuff, but have made a pact that we wouldn’t bring more stuff into the house unless it was a needed or useful item. That means no more travel souvenirs, no more knickknacks, no more dog toys unless we toss out the old ones…It mostly works, but at least we can still move about the house without tripping over too many things. Well, we still trip over the dogs and their toys, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
Wow I missed this comment Barbara, but since we are still working our way through our “stuff” it was a good thing to see and know that others before us have been successful!
We took so many boxes to our local library. Their eyes lit up! We are committed to trying to make it work in the small condo because we intend to travel and honestly simplifying our life will ultimately feel really good. We were very good consumers and need to break ourselves from that habit.