So Much Stuff…

I haven’t posted for a month. What have I been doing for nearly that all time? Dealing with Stuff!

We moved into the house a week ago, after getting the biggest project done.  The Pergo is gone, as well as the awful tile floors in the foyer, kitchen and bathroom, thanks to my menfolk and a giant tile-busting machine we rented from Home Depot. New bamboo floors are in, and they are such a huge improvement. it looks like a completely different house!

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Like buttah!
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This little surprise was under the carpet in one of the bedrooms. Blast from the past!

The kitchen and bathroom floors are still bare concrete, but honestly that’s no worse than the tile was. I’ve already met with one kitchen designer—that was fun!—and the kitchen will be professionally renovated some time in the next three or four months. (The bathroom we’ll just deal with when we’re in the mood.)

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Eh, I’ve cooked in worse.

This house is small by American standards (1,440 square feet) and of course we weren’t anticipating that our son would be living with us when we bought it as an empty-nester place. Everything will work out in the end, but we are going to need some smart storage. One of my projects has been  ripping out the crappy particle board shelving in the all closets and replacing it with shelving kits. I did the same thing in our last house and it helped so much.

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Halfway through the process. This was two doors inexplicably opening into one closet with a single, sagging shelf. I took down the doors, knocked out the useless middle wall, installed the shelving and (after the photo) paid a handyman to finish off the closet trim. Now it’s a great big, nicely organized, master bedroom closet. 

No matter how well things are going, there comes a point during every move when you feel like you are hitting the wall. For me, that point came when my storage shipment arrived. Our last move from DC, in 2011, was the worst ever. Consequently, by the time the packers came, we just weren’t as ready as would normally have been. A lot of weird stuff ended up in storage. I mean, a LOT. When it was all unloaded into our tiny house, I was so depressed. (I don’t even have a photo because I just couldn’t deal.)

Thankfully, I had a few days to get rid of it before the flooring guys arrived. I started by trying to sell a few items, and ended up just giving them to anyone who would take them. Because, you know what? My furniture really wasn’t as nice as I remembered. Some of it was also a lot bigger than I thought it was! Also, ten-year-old cordless phones? A VHS player? Really?

In the end, out went an entire dining set, four big bookcases, a giant cedar wardrobe, several assorted tables, a day bed, and a Costa Rican bar cart, among other items. Very thankful for local “buy nothing” groups and a Foreign Service buy-barter-sell group on Facebook. It’s amazing how quickly you can get rid of stuff if you just give it away.

Big carloads of smaller stuff went to a local thrift store and Habitat for Humanity. Two more carloads of keepers went to a small storage unit that we’ll probably maintain until our son moves out. I figure $60 a month is not much to spend on storage when your house has no garage or basement!

None of this is counting the Bagster (portable dumpster) we filled with tile, old bathroom and closet fittings, and whatever other junk we found lurking around the property. Or the massive–yuge!–piles of trash and recycling that we’ve been putting out twice a week. Or the car trunk full of old paint, batteries, and fluorescent light bulbs that just went to the county recycling facility.

So, yeah, pretty much over our Stuff and our Warsaw shipment hasn’t even arrived yet. We lived in an apartment which kept us from piling up too much junk, and I certainly did my best to sort it out before we moved. Still, I am dreading the arrival of our HHE, and another round of sorting, donating, stashing…

BUT! We are over the hump. We have basic furniture, a functioning kitchen, and a spiffy new-to-us washer and dryer. We are sleeping comfortably on air mattresses. As of this week, we have internet. We are seeing friends and family and truly enjoying being back in the States. We are home.

I have spent far too much of my life dealing with Stuff. I am more than ready to put that behind me. I do not have the option of leaving boxes unpacked in a basement or garage in this house. I have to deal with it all right away. But I am hopeful that it is all an investment in a lighter, simpler life—with NO MOVING.

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