During my fourth move in the past 3 years, I decided to partner up with chaos and change my point of view. Not to my surprise, the stress of moving falls second to divorce and trumps death. Crazy, but I totally get it. One of my saving graces in life during tough times is to embrace what rocks my world and find a way to make the best of it.
Boxes lined the walls of two homes, one to get out of, and one to settle into. Clothes decorated the floors of all my children’s rooms, those that fit, piles of outgrown pieces, and fashion to hand down. Our rental home that we would return to looked like a tornado hit it and my entire driveway looked like a trash fill of boxes, junk and rotting backyard furniture. This “Old” home, which is now our new haven, has been rented by many families in the last decade (oh-if-these-walls-could-talk). Now I will create a new space in an old place and give it new life.
I wrote a chapter in my first book The Naked Mom about creating new spaces in familiar places. It’s equally exciting and challenging to recreate a space and let go of familiar design to make room for a new style.
Relocating a family of 6 and personally needing to pack and unpack every box is crazy! In my crazy defense, it’s because I need to know where everything is for all my kids so I can organize my family. The key word for my survival is ORGANIZATION. So I themed this move, Dig It or Ditch It. Basically what to gift, give, throw or keep. I started my box system of things to gift to friends, things to give to those in need, things to throw away and things to keep. After four moves you’d think this would be an easy system but oh my G!* my kids are collectors! I sent all my children to their rooms to make piles of what they were going to donate. Giving them this control is helpful and gives them a sense of charity. I wanted to make this a year of little excess. With 3 daughters, the amount of 1/2 used bottles of beauty products can take over any space. So new rule… use it & finish it before you ask for more. A bathroom full of beauty products makes me nuts especially when there’s too much in there to use. My best rule for fashion is if you haven’t worn it in one year, give it away. Exceptions are only made for timeless fashion pieces and even then if you have a girlfriend who can wear it, there is great joy in sharing even your nicest pieces. We all know there are treasures in another girlfriend’s closet. I also looked at what we have too much of, and not enough space for. My current home is less than 1/2 the size of our last so I needed to be VERY sensible.
I tried to sell a lot of my gently used furniture, but what a huge hassle. So, I decide to pay it forward and truck most of my old home back to my roots and let my Arizona family enjoy a bit of the Malibu energy. Lastly after much research I discovered that charitable donations are often the best bet for used furniture and I decided to give to Habitat For Humanity. In addition to being the “feel good” choice, it’s also the most sensible financial choice in terms of a tax write off (more than resale value for used furniture). So in my dilemma of what to do with a house full of unnecessary things I was able to give to people who really needed it. Win Win!
We’ve had no kitchen, no bedroom doors, 1/2 of our furniture and a slew of workers scurrying around our personal space every day. It’s madness, but I refused to let this move and remodel make us crazy. Instead, we wash dishes in the laundry room sink, sleep together wile waiting on the next bed delivery, smile at the workers painting the hallway, and play games instead of watching mindless TV. It’s been an adventure, and we’ve found humor in the chaos.
I spend a good part of every day unpacking and organizing my family. We’re re-entering familiar spaces with new feelings, a new vision and an excitement to create a new place in an old family space. It’s not just about the new coat of paint, or the different design style, it’s a much more important shift. A new time, new year, fresh start and the opportunity to create a loving home for my family.
All it took was a productive point of view, the willingness to partner up with chaos and a little more laughter than tears.