Sunday, July 21, 2013

Letting Go

Eight more nights. Eight more nights of sleeping in this apartment, typing from this couch, listening to the whir of this old washing machine. I can't wait.

We will be moving into a house. A real house, no shared walls. Windows on all sides. A yard, a driveway, a fence. All the things we've never had. With the new home, we've been blessed with new (to us) furniture; couches and a dining room set among other things. 

I am terrified.

Why? Well, I'm not exactly a good housewife. I'm a pretty lousy one, at best. I have little to no idea how to decorate a home, how to make a place look....well, like anyone would want to live in it. See, we have been in survival mode for years and years now. I've never considered anyplace that we lived to be a real home

In case you didn't already know, this is our past home history:
-Married while in college and lived in what was essentially the "family" apartments on campus. Tiny. We furnished and decorated like college students, which is to say minimally and poorly.
-Hit rough times and moved in with my parents for almost two years.
-Spent several months basically couch surfing...essentially, we were homeless.
-Amazing friends took us in. We lived in their unfinished basement for almost a year.
-Back to the apartments at the university.
-Moved up in the world into where we live now- a two bedroom apartment. Furnished with whatever free furniture acquired over the years.

So, for a while, we've just been happy to have a safe place to lay our heads. We've never had enough room for all of our stuff. We've always had more kids than our space could reasonably hold. And these kids come with so many therapist recommended toys and therapy related tools. Add in our addiction to books and my business products, and we are bursting at the seams. So somewhere along the way, I gave up. The mess always won, so why really fight it? Yeah, I sweep the floors (that I can see) and wipe the counters (some days), but overall I just kind of manage the mess, not conquer it. 
*Sorry Mom, I know this must be killing you to read*

I've known for a while that I have a problem with possessions. It goes hand in hand with my obsession with money. Almost everything I own was given to me. When you are poor and everyone knows it, people tend to give you things. And trust me, I am grateful. But, here lies my problem: It doesn't matter that I don't like jeans with holes in them- they fit me and someone gave them to me for free and I can't afford to go shopping. So, I end up with a closet bursting with clothes that I, at best, like okay, and at worst, don't hate too much. But I can't get rid of anything because I can't afford to replace it if I ever miss it! Go through this same mental song and dance with kitchen wares, kid toys, books, and just about any other item you might find in your home. I've had a tight grip on all of this stuff because I might need it. Or, sometimes, I held on because it fit some expectation I had. As though by possessing a certain toy, my children would show some new magical interest in imaginary play, or by owning an array of cookbooks, I would become a competent cook. 

So, I'm letting go. I'm shedding the drawers full of clothes that only "kind of" fit me. (As an aside: Prepare to see me wearing the same outfits. A lot.) I'm lugging away bins of toys that came highly recommended but have only been chewed up, lined up, or thrown. And the impractical items held onto for some imaginary future need? Gone. 

I feel lighter already.

I'm ready to step into a new home and not immediately clutter up the kitchen counters and dining room table. I'm ready to find a place for every thing. I'm ready to have a home I'm proud of. And bit by bit, I want to work towards replacing things that I loathe but hold on to out of necessity, like our not even close to full set of dishes or our threadbare sheets. I'm ready for my home to not be a place that so obviously stresses out my children and myself. I want to create a haven for our anxiety ridden spectrum family.

I know this won't solve all my homemaking problems. I still will be seriously lacking in practical storage. I still have zero home decorating skills (and a zero budget to decorate on.) And I still have three messy children that always come with plenty of stuff. But this is a start, a step in the right direction.

Goodbye stuff. I won't miss you.

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