The Story of Our Stuff

We arrived here a few weeks ago with 3 large suitcases of clothes, a carry on with some card games, coloring books and small toys, a few carseats (that have mostly gone unused in taxis), a laptop and an iPad.  Getting all this on and off planes whilst herding 4 small children was a feat of Herculean strength and Blessed Mother Teresa-esque patience.  But we made it. 

For a couple of weeks we longed for things that we didn’t have with us.  Toys, kitchen utensils.  Pillows.  But then we moved into our apartment- our new home- and we got some loaner furniture, a few pots and pans, etc.

A strange thing started to happen then.  I began to appreciate the simplicity of living without.  Without clutter.  Without distractions like TV.  Without a million tiny pieces of some child’s toy that no doubt brings my children hours of enjoyment but also brings me hours of organizing.  Just… without.

Yesterday some of it arrived.  Not our big shipment of furniture and clothes and toys, but a small one of the things we thought we would need sooner.  Blankets, booster seats, towels, a toolbox, and pillows. 

And you know what?  I don’t even want it.  Except the pillows… I’ll happily keep those.  I knew this would happen.  I had a feeling deep down in my soul that the moment stuff started to arrive, things would “go back to normal.”

I’m sorry to say, I don’t want normal.  Before moving here (especially the last few weeks before the move), “normal” was working my tail off to organize and clean.  It was frustrated and bored kids, a messy house, and tired parents.

Right about now you are thinking one of two things.  You are thinking that you, too, want a simpler existence.  An uncomplicated life.  Or you are thinking that I sound like a spoiled and ungrateful brat.  To the former, I say, “Good for you!.”  To the latter, I say, “You are probably right.”

Well, my dire predictions were correct.  Yesterday was not a peaceful day of homeschooling and walks outside.  It was hectic and full of kid fights over stuff and me cleaning and organizing, organizing and cleaning.  And that was the small shipment.  Heaven help us when the rest of it arrives in a few short weeks.

I guess the good news is that we gave away a huge chunk of what we owned before packing and shipping it here.  The bad news is… I can name on one hand the things I actually want to arrive.

They include:
Our California king bed (I’m convinced it is the comfiest bed in the world)
Our cold weather clothes (it’s truly Autumn here now with blustery days and chilly nights)
Pots, pans, and utensils
A select few toys

That’s it.  Oy.

So, what are the intangible things I do want?*  I want uncluttered space.  I want to be able to pick up my messy house in under 30 minutes.  I want to spend all my time homeschooling and none of my time cleaning.

Since our stuff is coming no matter what I post here, I guess I’ll make sure to enjoy my last few weeks of realtively uncluttered space.  Come Halloween it will will be nothing but a fond memory. 


  1. Thanks for this reminder, Micaela. I’m SO looking forward to when we get to move (it will be years, sadly), and I am forced to PURGE. Purging is my favorite part of moving.

    But because we won’t be moving for awhile, and we do have quite a cluttered space, maybe I can steal a little motivation from your story and work a little harder at it NOW. And should’t having a BABY be motivation enough?! Oy!

  2. I’ve been feeling the same way lately. I wish I could homeschool. With Celeste being at a public school, she’s asking for more things. Today we had an argument about her wanting a $20 metal clip with one feather in it! She kept begging for it and saying ALL the girls at school had them and why can’t she? Arg! I don’t even want to know what she’ll be like once she’s middle school. I’ve always had a hard time getting rid of stuff but it’s gotten so much worse now that she’s older and has a hard time parting with anything. I want to just throw everything out! I am definitely inspired by you. I will at least tackle my stuff. 🙂

  3. Nicole, I had FOUR kids and never conquered the clutter until I was forced to move. I really hope you can do it, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Just do what you can. Miss you!

    Beatrice, we miss you guys! I cleaned out the girls stuff when they were not around (sh!). I only gave away stuff I KNEW they wouldn’t miss. And THEN I had them help me by picking out stuff they were OK giving away. Give Celeste a hug from the girls.