“Who keeps two garbage bags of broken toys around? Apparently we do. :).”
It can no longer be denied. We are moving to California sometime this summer. If I have counted correctly, this makes our 11th move in 17 years of marriage. I’ve come up with several steps that make the entire process go more smoothly, and I thought I would share. I know you are probably thinking that five months is way to early to start preparing for a move. Think about this. I have had eight people living in this three bedroom townhouse for close to five years. We’ve accumulated stuff.
Take Stock of Your Stuff
I bet you have accumulated stuff since you moved last. Even one person on their own accumulates stuff. Extra stuff that you don’t need makes packing harder and it makes unpacking even worse. Broken, unused, unuseful stuff has no place in your new home. Part One is all about getting rid of stuff. The time to get rid of all this extra stuff is right now, before the painters arrive, before buyers start parading through your home, and before boxes start getting packed.
Get Started – Make Lists
The hardest part of this process is getting started, so I recommend making a list of the types of things you can sort and eliminate. We started with toys this weekend. Specifically, we started with baby toys. We gathered all of the baby toys into one place and started going through each item one by one. Toys in nice condition that are no longer played with we placed in a box for the local thrift store. Toys that were broken or missing parts and pieces we threw away, even if that toy still gets played with. Toys that are still played with and were in good condition we kept.
Get Rid of Stuff
We ended up with two garbage bags full of broken and poor toys to throw away. Can you believe that? The babies are two years old in March, and I have already gone through toys once to pass baby stuff on to my sister. Who keeps two garbage bags of broken toys around? Apparently we do. :).
We pulled out one large moving box full of toys to take to the thrift store. Nothing spectacular, but plenty of items the twins have outgrown that were just too good to throw away.
Put Away What You Keep
We ended up with one box of duplo legos, one small box of little people, two remote control cars and about ten other cars and trucks of various sizes, several puzzles, two drill sets, and a small assortment of stuffed animals that are mostly puppets in the keep box. Oh, and a large slide and rocking horse that don’t fit in the box. It is not a large selection of toys, but they have had more fun playing with that small collection in the last two days because everything is easily accessible now. Less is definitely more in this case.
Two-Day Challenge: Make a list of the types of stuff you have accumulated in your house. Pick one category of stuff (toys, clothes, games, books) or one sub-category (baby toys, children’s books, paper clutter, Dad’s clothes) and start separating your stuff into three categories. The things you must keep, the things that you can cheerfully give away, and the things no one else needs or wants.
Stay Committed to the Process
Your commitment to this process is the key here. If you don’t really want to get rid of anything, you are not going to benefit at all from this process. So be honest about what you use and don’t use. Don’t pick large area related categories (kitchen, bath, garage or closets) as we will tackle those difficult areas later. Stick to smaller categories and get a little done each day until you can mark some of that stuff off of your list.
Eventually your goal will be to take a hard look at all of the stuff in your home and to make an actual decision about each and every item. But you have to start with one small step at a time.