For years, essentially since we moved into our house (5 years ago!), I have been dreaming of the time when every single square inch of our house is organized; when we've touched every object in the house and made a conscious decision about whether or not to keep it. (Can you even handle how exciting and adventurous my dreams are?) In so doing, I imagined that we'd only hold on to what is beautiful - either in appearance or in its significance - and/or useful.
Guys, we are so close to this being reality in our house. I told Chris that we needed a name for the momentous occasion when we would have gone through the entire house and assessed everything we own, similar to using the moniker "the singularity" to describe the supposed impending computer super intelligence (if anyone is following my logic here, high five, friend!). Chris came up with calling it "the minima" and we are almost there. We spent all of last week and this past weekend pursuing the minima. So much so that I don't even have a photo to share right now, all my energy was focused on evaluating, paring down and consolidating.
As of right now the only bastions that remain untouched by our ruthless minimizing are the two medicine cabinets, the cabinets in our master bathroom and the laundry shelf. These are all areas I've organized before but they've collected household miscellany, as cabinets and shelves tend to do. We've gone through the front hallway closet, the pantry (including the dark and cluttered top shelf!), the sideboard in the great room (including the liquor cabinet! Our recycling bin looks like we had an awesome party.), our master bedroom closet (even the top shelves!), the former-office-soon-to-be-Dasheill's-room (which had become the place where junk goes to hang out), the former-guest-room-now-office (including the closet which held all the hard to deal with stuff like yearbooks, rarely used dishes and random things it's hard to know what to do with), and the garage.
I think it might have been selling Chris's car that kicked us in to over-drive on getting the entire house organized. By moving Christmas decorations to the garage we could begin converting the former guest bedroom to the office and begin making over the former office into a new bedroom for Dashiell. In putting all four of our bedrooms into daily use we've had to confront all the stuff that would tend to accumulate in these rooms.
And confront we have. We drove the Prius to Goodwill probably half a dozen times over the past week to donate a car full of stuff and each time returned to find that we could consolidate more and fill the car again. We recycled, donated and sold as much as we could but had to just throw some things away (oh the environmental guilt for sending things to the landfill!). We finally dealt with those tricky things that we've been holding on to out of obligation or sentiment and really thought hard if it was worth the physical and emotional space to hold on to. In some cases it was, in many it wasn't.
It's it interesting how much emotional weight inanimate objects carry? Even things I don't really care about, like a nightstand that I bought at a garage sale in graduate school, take emotion to deal with and get rid of, at least for me. There was absolutely nothing significant about the nightstand itself but it reminds me of living in the northeast and being in graduate school and just that can trigger a flood of emotions. Just from a wooden nightstand that I have rarely used! (I decided to part with it in the end.)
It seems that the minima had to happen. Now I can't imagine feeling ready to welcome a second baby without having cleared out the physical and emotional space in our lives. Even though I wouldn't see all of these things all the time in a way I carried their weight with me. Soon we'll be welcoming a second baby into our family and in the coming years we'll need closet space and emotional space for all the stuff and all the love and energy and memories that being a family of four will bring. It's felt exhausting but renewing to go through this process and I'm feeling even more ready for this next big change in our lives.