Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Small Spaces

34 years ago Tim and I piled everything we owned into the back of our 1969 Chevy van and headed down the driveway of his parents' house on the way to Wichita, KS. Tim had to be there in 7 days to start his new job, and we were going there with no place to live. "Everything we owned" was comprised of a couple boxes of books, some clothes, a few wedding presents, and the most important items, our camping gear, because the plan was to live in the campground outside of town until we could find a place to call home. Over the years we had kids, who come with stuff, and we bought houses to put that stuff in, and we had more kids that needed bigger houses and more stuff, and then we made more money so we bought toys and we needed bigger garages to keep the toys in...well you get the picture.



This past weekend we helped Kristin and Brian pack up the last of their things and loaded them into a small U-Haul trailer. They needed the house empty so they could clean for the new owners who will take the keys and the associated mortgage this Friday at closing. They have chosen to take very little with them to Cape Cod because the space that they will occupy is small. When they leave Cape Cod to go to New York City they will still take very little with them because the spaces in New York are all very small.

It's a strange relationship with have with our material belongings and as I stood there looking at the packed trailer I ran the gamut of mixed emotions. To be unencumbered in this way is a wonderful thing, free of the weight of hours of labor to house and maintain all of the stuff we have accumulated, and I eagerly look forward to the day when I'm looking at the packed U-Haul trailer with the things that we've decided are important enough to take to the small space of our boat.

The problem is in getting to that point, dealing with all of this stuff, sorting, giving away, selling, dealing with the memories that each thing represents. I seriously could have called home from the catamaran course this past Spring and told them to sell it all and send me a check. It will be a painful process to be sure, but oh the rewards. Helping Kristin and Brian this weekend has helped me to stay focused, to keep that goal front and center and continue moving toward my own small space.

Now anybody need 6 vases in varying sizes and 8 picture frames and 3 non-working DVD players???


Bill said...

I have read a lot about the minimalist movement, and one of the recurring themes is the feeling of relief once the enormous pile of material things for which one is responsible has been purged.

Deb said...

@Bill - you're absolutely right. Our kids' generation is trying to get it right, to fix the massive excess which has marked the Baby Boomer generation and which, in my opinion, has contributed to our demise. I look forward to admiring the change our kids bring while rocking in my rocking chair in my old age.

Matt said...

I'm reading from the beginning, and I have to ask what might seem a silly question. From the few pictures you shared of the house in Indy, it looks as though your daughter and son-in-law lived in or near the Broadripple area. Is that correct?

I'm just curious if I can still identify neighborhoods in the city from pictures like I used to be able to do when I was a realtor.

Can't wait to see what happens next as I slowly work catch up. I'm assuming there is a pretty good story coming which leads to the book I see for sale on the sidebar.

Deb said...

You're right, their house was in the Broadripple area. They didn't live there very long but it was a nice neighborhood.