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February 21, 2011

Saturday, we took a load of books to Half Price Books, including the first few art-related books.  I was okay with that, probably because the books I took in the first trip weren’t ones I was strongly attached to.  Except my Frank Frazetta.  It was a soft back, and I probably bought it used, but I’ve had it for many years, and Frazetta was a favorite.  But it was time to let go.

We circled the shopping center and drove along the back where the loading docks are.  We made a quick stop while I did a little dumpster diving, coming up with some good boxes to help with organizing the decluttering process.  Then we went to the storage yard and spent some time with the RV.  We had parked it after bringing it back from the dealer, and then went into two weeks of icy weather.  I knew I had not disconnected the batteries, and we hadn’t been back to it for about three weeks.  There was a big sigh of relief when I turned the key and it started right up.  Got the generator started, but it only ran for a few minutes, and then it died.  Not a good feeling, but yesterday, I was reading RV info, and realized the generator shuts off when the gas tank gets down to a quarter tank, which is where it was.

We spent nearly three hours going through the interior.  The motorhome was clean when we took delivery, but just like moving into a house, we like to do our own cleaning, just to feel comfortable.  We wiped down walls, cabinets inside and out, every surface we could get to.  Went home smelling like PineSol, but we knew the place was now truly clean and ready to be stocked.  We took two cube shaped ottomans over, and after stepping around them the whole time, we decided they’re just too big.  We would come to hate them, I’m afraid.  So they will come back out.

Today is proving to be difficult.  I’m putting things into boxes according to category, to make things easier when it comes time to get rid of it all.  We’re hoping to use an estate sale company for that.  We haven’t contacted them yet, but we’re hoping we can just let them take it all and get the most they can for it.  Yes, we could try other methods, but some of the traditional methods won’t work very well.  We live in a gated townhome complex, and garage sales are forbidden.  (Trust me, it’s not that exclusive, but it does have a gate.)  Craig’s List doesn’t seem practical for the same reason: too many strangers coming in off the street.  We don’t want to have problems with the Homeowner’s Association at this stage.  We could take a trailer load to the local First Monday Trade Days, but we still have furniture, and a lot of other “stuff”.  We don’t have enough trailers or enough time.  If we can make the estate sale thing work, it would really free us up both mentally and physically.  And… a certain amount of furniture has to stay in the house so we can a) live here until the place sells; and b) stage it properly for sale.  We’re hoping we can work all that out so when the house sells, someone can just come and take the furniture away.

But for now… today… for the first time… there’s a sense of it all being a bit overwhelming.  Up to now, I’ve taken a “one space at a time” approach: clean out the credenza in the office, the file cabinets, deal with paper, etc.  Today, I seem to be wandering back and forth from one room to another.  The boxes make it easy to organize: games in this box, photo albums in that one, knick-knacks in another.  Stuffed animals… toys, books… picture frames… well, you get the idea.  Trouble is, now that there’s a box for “A”, when I go into another room, I see an “A”, and bring it back to put in the box.  It’s all just kind of random.  And then there are the Treasures.  Little things, not particularly expensive.  In fact, most of it is cheap stuff.  But it was on a shelf in my mother’s home, or on shelves in my own homes my entire adult life.  It’s meaningless to anyone but me.  Some of it has been in closets or in boxes for years, but it has memories attached to it.  The memory may only be that it was something familiar, occasionally put on a shelf, occasionally put away in boxes, but it was familiar.

I’ve packed belongings in boxes more times than I can even count, but it was always because we were moving.  This is nowhere near the same.  This is saying goodby.  This is lump in the throat stuff.  There will only be room for a small handful of small treasures, just to make sure it feels like home.  If we can create the lifestyle we envision, we may never live in a brick-and-mortar house again.  Maybe a small apartment someday at the most.  This stuff has to go.  It’s baggage.  I know it.  I accept it.  In order for us to truly feel free when we head out, we need to travel light.

I’ll get it done, of course.  But it isn’t quite as easy as one might think.

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