On unpacking, and editing.

As I type, I sit in a house full to the brim with unopened boxes, broken-down boxes, piles of bubble wrap and newsprint, and mounds of books, pictures, and random objects. And if that sentence doesn’t give you a de ja vu, it most certainly does me, since I was writing about an almost identical scene just 10 months ago.

Tim and I have now moved 6 times in our 9 year marriage. We started out in a teensy little shoebox-of-a-house in Asheville, North Carolina, and then moved up ever-so-slightly in square footage during the years before we moved to the now-infamous Athens reno. The thing about that house, though, was that by the time we were done, it was almost 3k square feet — more house than we’d ever had. From there we moved to an even larger house, our rental here in Indy. All that to say — over the past couple of years, as I’ve moved upward in the realm of house-size, I’ve managed to acquire my share of stuff (for instance, I am now the proud owner of four shower curtains). Add to this the fact that I’m a person who tends to sentimentalize the most useless objects, and we’ve got a problem on our hands — one that stems from the fact that we’ve now moved back to a smaller house.

This was a very intentional decision: it’s a house that’s just big enough for us, but not so big that we’re heating and cooling massive unusable spaces. Not so big that I can’t keep it clean without hiring Merry Maids. But we’re now faced with the daunting task of pairing down a bit. Using space wisely. Spending a small fortune on shelving units for the basement. And, you know, it’s good. We don’t need all this crap.

But, the kitchen. This is where I’m having trouble. Because — although I admittedly have a lot of kitchen wares — they (in my opinion, which is really the only one that matters in this scenario) are all useful, at some time or another. So I’ve set up systems and drawers, I’ve prioritized and sorted. I’ve purchased bins and utilized baskets. I’ve both cursed and praised those design-crazed Swedes, as our kitchen is wall-to-wall Ikea. But it’s still not all fitting.

So I’m facing the reality that it’s time to edit. Like the paragraph I just spent ten minutes writing and then deleting with the push of a button. Like the way I must let go of words and phrases when they don’t communicate what I intend. It’s time to take a long, honest look at the contents of my kitchen, and figure out what isn’t useful. Make a pile of stuff, and delete it.

But before you get any ideas, I’m not letting go of the cake pans in the photograph.

8 thoughts on “On unpacking, and editing.

  1. I know someone on the northeast side that would be happy to adopt your random kitchen stuff. And then later, when you’re missing that certain doo-hickey, you can come over and have a cup of coffee with it. Sounds like the move went well – hopefully it will be your last for a long time.

  2. Good luck on getting organized. We have been here almost 2 years and still aren’t organized but we did reduce footage even more than you guys. It appears that I will have the rental storage forever!

  3. I don’t think you need “that many” bread pans. It looks like about 7 or eight from here. Seriously?:)

    From someone who is working on her 12th move in 15 years, you can get by with less. Maybe you could give up some things in other areas to keep your beloved kitchen stuff. I don’t know if this will help but I have told Autumn she may take a picture of the “useless sentimental thing” she wants to keep and write about it in a memory book. That way the memory is preserved but we don’t have to haul around the actual thing. Oh well…my 2 cents.

  4. In the past few months, I have made cannoli — because I have cannoli tubes — and coquilles St. Jacques — because I had the clam shells — and I cannot bare to get rid of them. Editing can be tough! Good luck.

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