Renovating a historic house takes a while. We’re not moving any time soon. Since I know the move isn’t immediate, I’m trying to look at the next few months as an opportunity to move fewer things. Because we have…a lot…of stuff.
I suppose the growth has been gradual. In 2011, my (smaller) family moved from a 2-bedroom apartment in New York City to what seemed like a palatial suburban house. We bought new furniture but still had lots of open space. We hosted a party not too long into our tenure here and people exclaimed when we opened the coat closet to put their coats in there and there was…nothing else but their coats.
Ten years and three children after that move, we’ve filled that coat closet, partly with off-season clothes that came out of the master bedroom closet, which we half emptied to accommodate a crib, rug, and chair — a space that serves as the toddler’s bedroom. The new (old) house has space for all of us but at least some of the stuff that occupies this house isn’t worth taking along.
So I’m trying to clean it out. But “clean out house to get rid of stuff” is a large to-do item. Overwhelming really. Which is why I spent some time yesterday breaking it down into more doable chunks.
I made a list of all the spots to be addressed. This is a very granular list. I didn’t just say “my office.” I separated out the desk drawers, the corner baskets, the filing cabinet, the wire files, the book shelves. Honestly, I am thinking I will make each drawer its own separate project. Same with the basement. The closet downstairs has three shelves, and each needs to be its own entry. Each bin in the basement needs to be its own separate line on this list.
That’s because the goal is to have each section take 30 minutes or so, rather than all day. I don’t have all day! Sometimes even what seems like they might be small projects takes longer than expected. My daughter and I cleaned off the two basement craft tables a few weeks ago, and it took an entire weekend nap time. That is not the way I wish to spend nap time! One craft table, or even half a craft table, might have been easier to tackle
But the good news is that when a project is broken down into small enough parts, it feels pretty doable. Indeed, I’d venture that 100 small projects feel, in total, more doable than 20 big ones. Because a list of 20 spots would include something like “garage.” And the garage is not going to get cleaned out in 30 minutes, or even a weekend toddler nap time.
Have you purged before moving? How did it go? Any recommendations on what to do with old stuffed animals?
Photo: Mr. Bunny is a relatively new addition — a gift from the big kids to the baby last year. But some members of what we call the “stuffy pile” have not emerged in…a while.