Packing.... and the Art of Having too Much Stuff!

And the house is under contract!!!! Which I know does not mean it has sold for sure... but does mean we have to actually start packing and sorting through all the things we have accumulated in the 2 short years of living in this house... plus our other house...and the apartment... and life before marriage, I think you get the idea but basically we have a lot of stuff and a very small space to put it in! 

So the bus is very much still a construction zone primarily because we are waiting until closing to continue working so that we can pay for all materials and labor with cash. Since staying out of debt is one of our goals with this it just makes sense to wait and do things right. So what that means for me is that I am sorting, list making, and down sizing with no firm idea of what the final space will look like and how much usable space I will actually have... so yes I am pretty stressed out! We did rent a small storage unit. We hesitated to do this because all the bus people we have talked to said it ended up being a nightmare and not worth it and that it is just better to get rid of and sell everything up front but we do have a few things we want to hold on to at least for now. 

Lists are always easier to make when the paper is pretty in my opinion. Rifle Paper Co.

The first thing I did to just get my head on straight and figure out where to go was making lists and determining our formula for down sizing. I read a lot of different articles and at the end of the day settled on "Bus, Storage, Donate" as our three categories. From there it has just been a matter of prioritizing and deciding what we actually need, what would be nice to hold onto, and what is junk. 

From there it has been  about labeling, filling, and sealing boxes. I have been realizing through this process just how attached to material things I am especially emotionally and have found that getting rid of things can be really tough. What has helped especially with clothes and shoes has been asking, "when was the last time I wore this? and if it isn't something I think will be worth bringing on the bus do I think I will want to wear it 3 years from now and is it worth storing? That has really helped me keep perspective and remember that if it isn't coming in the bus it is going into storage and will I really care about owning whatever it is 3 or 5 years or longer down the road.

Another item that was hard to narrow down was books... we own a lot of books! So the system I set up there was I am bringing must haves like collections of poetry onto the bus and any books I haven't read yet. Everything else I then divided into storage if it was something I thought I would need or want to read again, and we donated everything else that either I didn't think we would need or ever desire to read again. 

One area that has been really nice is the kitchen... since we will be mobile basically nothing breakable can come which has made that so easy because emotionally attached or not I have no choice but to say no to just about everything we own dish/cup/serving etc. 

 

One interesting piece in all of this has been Jessamyn... one because she has been so overwhelmed and stressed by this packing process. There was one point where I was putting stuff in a box marked "donate" and she was simultaneously pulling it out and moving it to a box marked "bus" .... I am hoping once we are in the bus she will adapt and find a new "normal" but for right now there are a lot of tantrums and a serious lack of naps I am assuming because of all the high energy and chaos that this whole move has brought. 

Another factor that Jessamyn and just babies in general has brought into this is what to do with all our baby stuff? My initial thought was to get rid of it.... but baby items aren't cheap and if we do ever have another child it would be nice to not need anything. So basically half our storage unit is going to baby stuff and I may regret that down the road but the good news is that it is cheaper to get rid of things than to buy new ones and for now that is where we are at. 

I would not say I have the market cornered on down sizing at all and if you looked at our house right now you would probably agree but we are learning and making progress! I think the biggest thing I am learning through getting rid of a house worth of item and moving the essentials into the bus is to be gentle with myself. Sometimes I think we feel this pressure to minimize but it can be hard and it is okay to take small steps and go in phases. We as humans tend to get attached to the funniest of things (for me its shoes and coffee cups) I think thats okay we just have to find the balance and so yes the bus might have an excess of coffee mugs and maybe too few of something else but thats okay and down sizing doesn't have to be this crazy horrid monster!