Sunday, July 31, 2011

Down to Size

Today I'm loving the feeling of downsizing but I haven't always felt so cheery about the prospect or the process. For the last six months we have been slowly preparing to move house, and that for the first time in ten years. When we moved to our present house we were making the conscious decision to upsize: homeschooling four growing children who needed places to study, play, practice instruments, entertain friends, etc. And then there was the growing number of books we seemed to be accumulating.

One word to describe the last ten years of our family's life: full. Full days (and nights), full relationships, and, I finally had to admit it this January, full cupboards, wardrobes, drawers, and Rubbermaid tubs. I can empathize with essayist Anne Fadiman's recollection of the their pre-move New York City closets (only we don't have closets, but free standing wardrobes, trunks, and whatever else I can find to store things in) :

"Our (closets) held layers we hadn't seen for years. New Yorkers, lacking attics and basements and garages, treat their closets like trash compactors (or, to put it more charitably like the squeezing machines that turn duck breasts into canard presse')."

At least I can be thankful that I don't have an attic, basement or garage to clean out.

When I first realized the scope of my downsizing task I did a fair amount of whining and moping. How was I expected to live without _____ ?? And, where would I put____ ?? Dear Husband was firm. He drew a floor plan complete with measurements and informed me that if didn't fit, we couldn't take it. Made sense, but I still whined a bit. Tayta, ever the comforter, volunteered to absorb two bookshelves into her bedroom ("I think bookshelves a nice decor item.") and Artist Son agreed to take another. We're still not sure where the ping-pong table will go, but that is Dear Husband's concern.

Today I sold the last two pieces of furniture that we are not taking with us and both were picked up this afternoon.

This large chest freezer was often full during the past ten years. I emptied out before we went to the States last summer and didn't refill it when we returned. So far, so good.

This wooden shelf was a bit of a sentimental piece: though not a carpenter, Dear Husband crafted it for us 23 years ago when we moved to Jordan. Our budget was slim, furniture was expensive, and wood furniture was extremely expensive. Our landlord had an empty room under his building and let Dear Husband set up a little workshop. He made our first bed, too, though that was passed along many years ago. Everything I want to keep on the shelf has to be absorbed someplace else--I'm still working on that.

Only the actual packing remains, but after all the sorting and purging it really doesn't seem so ominous. I laugh at the packing.


Jodi said...

Have I missed something? Are you leaving Jordan? Hope that's not too personal a question. Best wishes on your move. P.S. Answered you over at my blog.

Quotidian Life said...

Silly me--I should have done the "next step" post before the post on purging and packing. Not much of a story teller, am I? :) No, we're not leaving Jordan, but we are moving to the northern city of Mafraq. More to come soon...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I wasn't there when you sold the bookshelf.I remember you getting rid of some old furniture when we moved before and it was not a bright moment for me. I didn't know that Dad built that bed! Wow!