Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take or Toss?

It's Sunday and the kids are cleaning their rooms. My husband is cleaning toilets...yes!!...and I'm getting ready to vacuum.

It's easy to clean, (not fun, but easy enough) but not so easy to organize and de-clutter. How can we get rid of more things? If we do head off into the sunset with the Foreign Service, where do we put all the stuff? I know there are lists about what to pack that we can utilize once we need to. But, still, how do I continue to save things that are important? Or maybe they really aren't important. Maybe my view of what's important is wrong.

I save kid's artwork. The good stuff, anyway. I get rid of worksheets. I save report cards. I love books. My kids love books. I have too many shampoos and face creams. My kids have lots of legos. I mean big time. I have framed artwork hung up that I like. I have lots of my own art supplies. Paints, canvases, brushes. We have bikes, scooters, soccer balls and basketballs. We have a bird feeder, birdbath and a grill. I have a clock from 1800 that was my grandfather's. I don't think I'd trust movers with it, but I love it.

It seems there should be some sort of criteria to meet in order for the stuff to be granted "Take" or "Toss" status. Or "Store", "Take" or "Toss".

Maybe a flow chart. For example, If you answered yes to question A, then proceed to question B. If the answer to B is always or sometimes, the item falls into "Take" category. Hmm

And that's not even getting into the whole weight thing. Who knows how much all our stuff weighs?


Crystal said...

It is IMPOSSIBLE to estimate how much all your stuff weighs. I totally can feel your pain. Over a year ago, before we knew for sure that the Foreign Service was going to want us, we cleaned, organized, de-cluttered, and placed MANY items in rubbermaid plastic containers in our basement. It continued through the spring and summer as we knew this was the next step.

We used colored duct tape to indentify most items. Orange for permenant storage, Yellow for the slow boat or HHE and blue for UAB or the faster stuff. We worked so hard. The day cam it most of our stuff went into storage in Virginia during my husband's traning time in D.C. We had one access to it a few weeks before we flew out to post. We again went through every item!!! We labeled clearly and had the movers label paperwork clearly.

Finally the day cam inKuwait for me to greet our large containers. The packers began to unload and I started to notice a trend. Antiques I wanted in permanent storage, plastic containers of keepsakes and my husband's football card collection all started making there way off the truck. I was SHOCKED!!!!! They mixed up two large containers and we have to send back our permanent storage items and await important things like dishes, untensils and kitchen towels!!!

I wish I could help you avoid this, but I will say this keep all paperwork from anyone that moves you. Keep an inverntory list and pray hard~

Foreign Service, here we come! said...

Thanks for your comments and your words of wisdom. I really appreciate hearing advice and helpful tips (and words of caution) about the whole process. It is crazy. I guess I need to relinquish control a bit. argh! :-)

Anonymous said...

Take pictures of what you are storing in each box with some kind of labeling system. That way on the inventory when they say "dishes" you know it is the sunday best dishes as opposed to the every day dishes.

There are also some inventory programs free online that will help you keep track of all your items and where they need to go. Or you could just do what i did on my lastest move (not fs related) and wrote literally everything on the boxes before the movers came. I could tell at a glance what it was and where it needed to go.

I know with the FS stuff you can't pack breakable items yourself and still have them insured but if you pack your own UAB and non breakables most movers will look inside the boxes and then still insure them (as long as they are not taped shut.) You can verify this when the movers come ahead of time to look at the house and whay they have to do. That way you can keep a close count of what you have and what boxes it is in at least for the first couple moves and know clearly what is in the boxes in storage and where those boxes are.

and the colored tape was a god send when i moved accross the country.

love the blog by the way!

Shannon said...

OK I am reading through older posts finally, the kids are in bed and I am relaxing.

Stuff, I know all about having lots of stuff. 4 boys and two cats add up to a whole lotta stuff. We manage to come in under weight (I have no idea how but we do) of course we are really close to the limit. Two of the boys brought their bunk beds, we have a digital piano, everyone has a bike-the youngest has two and a trike, someone has a scooter. We have most of the kid's nicer pieces of art, some vanished in shipping, hopefully they are in storage. We have oriental rugs, dishes, pots, pans, enough toys to stock a day care and books books books. That is just some of the stuff we drag with us.

In storage we have the grandparents special dishes, the bulk of my cast iron collection, my rock and fossil collection (note: collect something other than cast iron and rocks!) tombstones from an old pet cemetery -don't ask! A huge 1800's wardrobe and the 1920's oak ladies dressing table. My husband's tools, large furniture, and a whole lotta other stuff.

I guess what I am trying to say is you can make it work with out sacrificing too much of what is really important and some stuff that you are not comfortable sending all over the place can sit quietly in storage waiting for you.