the humbling experience of moving

Moving is the worst whether single, married, with kids or without.  No one likes moving–at least not sane people.  It’s one of those things we all just live through and do when we have to.  My little family recently relocated from Minneapolis to Kansas City.  The whether here is ah-mazing and the people we’ve met so far are fantastically kind.  But moving is still pretty miserable.

This was my first adult move with kids.  The last time I moved was 6 years ago.  I was moving into a house my then fiancé and I had just bought, all by my lonesome.  He joined me 3 months later, after we were married.  That move wasn’t fun either, but without all the kid stuff, and pre-wedding gifts, and with basically no furniture, we really didn’t have very much stuff–one cattle trailer to be exact (proud farm girl here).  I had spent the year before this, after all, renting a small bedroom from my sister.

This move, however, was different.  It took a semi to get us out of one house and into another.  And what was that semi packed with?  Stuff.

So much stuff.

See that’s the thing with moving.  You are forced to touch and think about EVERY SINGLE THING THAT YOU OWN.  Things that you inherited, things you ended up with, things that you had squirreled away in the back of some cabinet or cupboard because well, what else were you supposed to do with them?

I spent a considerable amount of time and energy purging before we moved.  Huge loads were donated, an even huger heap (including all of my old teacher binders) were thrown away.  And that felt really good.  But as I go through boxes here in Kansas I am still overwhelmed with the sheer volume of our stuff.

Moving is a profoundly humbling experience.  Just as I have been forced to deal with all those strange and forgotten items at the dark corners of my house, I have also been forced to acknowledge a few very humbling things about myself.

the humbling moving

#1 I am accustomed to a very comfortable life–and all my stuff has everything to do with that.

I don’t like to think I am so attached to my stuff, but when I have to live without it, even temporarily, I get crabby.  I spent a few nights without my good pillow and woke up whiny each morning.  I still can’t find the scrubby pads that I use to scrub pots so each night when I do the dishes I throw myself a little pity party.

When I get my head out of my butt I realize how lame this is.  Am I that much of a princess?  I live with far more comfort than most people in this world and yet I’m stomping around my house because my husband hasn’t set up the printer for me yet.  Lame.

The comforts of my life have made me a pretty selfish, spoiled person.  Without them I’m crabby and that’s embarrassing.  I wish I was more flexible.

#2 All of this stuff is a burden.

There is nothing like seeing a moving crew straining under the weight of all your stuff, spending an entire morning hauling it off a gigantic trailer.  As the boxes piled up I couldn’t help but wonder, where did all of this stuff come from?  Is this all mine?  Am I responsible for all of this stuff?

And I started to see all these little things as what they really are: a huge burden.

There are certain things a family needs, a table to eat at, beds, and even toys for the kids.  But the level to which things accumulated in my life is shocking.  Six years ago we moved into our house with only one cattle trailer of stuff.  Over that short amount of time we’ve managed to fill an entire semi trailer.

What happened?  Kids, yes, but it’s not all them.  And even if it is, I’m the one that let it get out of control.

After the move I am ready for another purge.  It is a lot of work to find a place and purpose for every little thing that we own, not to mention the work it will be to keep track of all the things and put them away each night.  Who needs this?  Some days it feels like all I do is manage our stuff.  And that’s no way to live.

#3 Stuff makes life too complex

The more clothes I have the longer it takes me to get dressed.  The more books the kids have the more fight there are as they pick out one to read.  The more stuff in our house, the more time I spend picking up each night.

More than anything, after the move I crave simplicity.  I crave big open, clutter free spaces.

Yes, everything I’ve purchase for my family was for a reason, but I’ve begun to wonder about the cost of accumulating all of these things.  It’s fun to have new, nice things, but as I unpacked box after box this week it wasn’t fun.  There were many things I was happy to find, but a lot of the time I just wondered, “why do we have this?”.  What purpose does it serve?  Does it make my life better…or does it just make my load heavier?

And so the battle of the stuff continues for us here in Kansas.  Like nearly everyone that has been through a move, I am determined buy less and get rid of more.

We are very blessed and our lives are very full–and that has absolutely nothing to do with the things that we own.

All the best–and a special prayer for all of you mothers out there headed toward your own move.

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