Home Again

Benny the Brave at "home"
Well, we’re home now. This house in Clearwater isn’t supposed to be home anymore, but it’s difficult to loose the habit of calling it that.  We have an offer on the house, for less than the amount of the mortgage, and we’re waiting to hear from the bank whether they will accept it as payment in full. So, until they see fit to assign a negotiator and render a decision, it’s still our house.  Somewhere to park Benny with electricity, not to mention a full kitchen and two bathrooms! The rest of the rooms are mostly empty, which turns out to be the perfect set up for us.  This is as child-proof as houses get!

So we’re spending as much time as we can with family, though our parents and my sister all work and are busy so it’s mostly one or two evenings a week.  Never enough!

We’ve decided to stay through Thanksgiving so that we can spend that holiday all together as a family since we won’t be around for Christmas.  When David first suggested this I was shocked. Three months?! It took us so long to get going and now after less than three months of travel we’re supposed to take a break for three months?

But that also gives us time to prepare for the next leg of our journey.

While we’re “home” David is working construction three days a week.  Unfortunately, this is just like it was before and I have to fight against the returning sensation of desperation to change our life.  This time it’s temporary, and optional.  But I don’t like his being away from us for so much of our lives, and I don’t like the way my kids get short-changed by my inability to give them all the attention they need at once because I am, however hard I try to be more, just one parent.

Annabelle is very hands on.  She can be quite solitary, and is not clingy, but she needs constant supervision to keep her and the things around her safe from her climbing, pulling, tearing, and otherwise exploring of the world.  She also needs hugs when she (frequently) bumps her knee or her noggin, and she needs cuddling when it’s been a long day and her personal powerful tensions are running high, and she needs to be put on the potty, and have diapers put on and taken off her, and she often wants shoes put on, or socks, or jackets, or random clothes, or a doll wrapped on her, or a glass of milk, or to be provided with food or put into or taken out of the bath, or to be yanked out of the path of oncoming traffic.

She’s one, and she’s just dependant!

And Cassidy, of course, is an infant.  So hands-on should go without saying.  And I don’t wish either one of them was different, or easier, I just wish that our lives were arranged in a way that facilitated all the many needs of my children in such a way as they could follow their age-appropriate behaviors to their hearts content.

Ada IS self-sufficient to an extent, but I still must make sure she is eating and sleeping and hugging and resting enough that she stays pleasant and sensible, else I regret it in a powerful way.  And I want more time to spend with her that is usually tied up juggling the little ones.

So, I know, quit complaining.  My lot is the lot of many a mother of multiple children.  I could have had one or two children and stopped there.  I could send them to school, or daycare.  I’m the one choosing to be home with three young children.  Yes, it’s true.

It’s like this: I don’t think my kids are less fortunate than others, but I do want more for them.  I envision a really, really safe place, with lots of inherent activities of interesting natures, and I envision both their daddy and I there to spend time and the world with them.  And this is segueing into an entirely ‘nother post I intend to write about my vision.  For now, sufficient to say I don’t like sending David away to work every day as I feel it compromises my children’s quality of life, not to mention his and mine.  We are happier together J

Getting back on track, while we’re in Clearwater David will be working three days a week making money.  Two days a week he will dedicate to music, booking his tour across the southwest and up the west coast (our trip set to begin in early December), booking and playing local gigs, writing newsletters to his mailing list, updating websites, etc.

Evenings and weekends are to be kept free for family time, and in all honestly this will be tons more leisure time than we have on the road.  That, too, is another post.

While we’re here I plan to:

  • Catch up on all the blog posts I haven’t written for the trip we just finished.
  • Look into getting some advertising for this blog.
  • Launch a facebook page for Free Range Dreams where I can post a picture and update every day.
  • Order winter inventory for my Wrap Your Baby business.
  • Look into advertising for the Wrap Your Baby blog.
  • Set up Quickbooks to keep track of Wrap Your Baby business.
  • Announce winners for a Wrap Your Baby photo contest that has been running for over a month now.
  • Use the photo submissions to create an educational wrap video (not RAP video).
  • Contact the Bureau of Land Management about land where RVers are allowed to dry camp free.

But you may have noticed that my evenings and weekends are reserved for leisure.  Hard to argue with, but difficult to reconcile with all I need to get done when you consider that the rest of my time is spent with a seven year old, one year old, and five month old.  And really, there’s more to the to-do list:

  • Change RV insurance carriers.
  • Change banks (ours just instituted monthly fees and fees for debit usage).
  • Get Benny a mechanical check-up and tune-up.
  • Paint Benny to get him looking two decades younger.
  • Re-organize our things inside Benny so that it works better.
  • Have Ada do a communication course at our church.
  • Have me do a time-management course at our church (yeah, I could use that).
  • Dentist appointments for me and for Ada.

And three months begins to sound like a very short span of time.  If only David wasn’t spending five days a week away from us!

Ada

Photobucket

She’ll be seven years old in just one month and she is the most kind, thoughtful, sweet and caring girl I could have hoped for. When I ask her if she will get my sandals, hold my purse, or hold her brother, she responds with a sweet, “Of course!”

Annabelle adores her sister and chats with her and calls to her constantly, and Ada is nearly always willing to answer her, play with her, or read to her. In fact, she loves having Annabelle as a playmate and spends a lot of her time describing to me the very detailed make-believe that the two of them are engaged in, what roles they are playing, how their outfits are appropriate, etc.

Ada’s world is better than ours because it is so heavily decorated with imagination. Her fantasies are charming and important to her. They came with her when we left the home for the motorhome.

You know how noteworthy people, when they relate their childhood stories, always say of their extraordinary childhoods that they just thought it was normal because it was all they knew? Well, I have a new theory that kids will think what they are doing is normal, even if they have known something else. Ada lived in the same house her whole life until now, but this fulltime RV business hasn’t tripped her up in the least. I think that at her age, she is still living in the NOW. Whatever is happening now is normal, even if it never happened before and it’s not happening to anyone else.

Maybe it’s because a young child’s world is so often out of their control. What is a mundane trip to the bank for me, comes out of the blue when I announce we’re going, and suddenly she’s swept up in putting away books, putting on shoes, and getting in her booster seat. Just like when I announce it’s time to get out and see Niagara Falls. What seemed obvious and predictable to me isn’t to her because I don’t always remember to share my plans and thoughts with her. So in a way, unpredictable is normal.

Ada has been looking forward to our getting on the road, and now she is enjoying the millions of stars in the black night on the Catskills, the Tansies on a Vermont roadside, the people we are visiting and those we are meeting everywhere, and every yellow car we see on the way. She is writing letters to friends and family about the highlights, which are never the ones I expect, and she is planning with eager anticipation a reunion with her best friend again when we go through Florida.

Cassidy

Ah child of countless trees, ah child of boundless seas…

Photobucket

Cassidy always struck me as a little Buddah baby and that impression remains now that he’s growing up. I can’t pinpoint what it is. It’s not that he doesn’t cry, because he does. But his general disposition is jolly and easy going and he seems to have such a peaceful center. We could use a little peace around here after high-strung number one, and dictator-of-the-universe number two.

Cassidy does not enjoy his carseat. None of our babies have. I hate them myself. Something about strapping down a helpless, crying person just doesn’t set well with me, call me a hippie though you will.

But he usually falls asleep quickly once we are underway, so there is a relief from the awfulness of not going to your crying baby. In fact, he’s an all around quick going-to-sleeper. He’s found his fingers and sucking them soothes him. I was big on ecological breastfeeding with Annabelle, but in my current life I can only appreciate a self-soother.

He’s also my first baby who recognizes nighttime. It always made sense to me that a baby might not be naturally predisposed to recognize nighttime as any different than daytime (especially in our indoor and electric light culture), so I was surprised when Cassidy fell into a pattern of sleep around 9pm, and persisted in sleep so deeply that he didn’t mind my putting him down (a rarity in his early days), but continued to sleep soundly for many hours. This was very handy at home when I was the only parent trying to parent three kids to sleep at once!

He wakes less at night than my prior babies, and when he’s done nursing he just goes back to sleep, though during daylight hours he is a very light sleeper (unless the engine is running and we’re speeding down the interstate). But somehow I don’t live in fear of his waking like I sometimes have of other babies, because he often wakes to a pleasantly quiet alert state and if he does need more sleep, he slips back into it easily.

He does like being held, which you can hardly resent when he’s such a pleasure to hold and beams joyously at you when you pick him up. And besides it is his right as an infant to be in arms as often as we can manage. So after waking, he chills a bit, then starts complaining and if you don’t hop to, you get a real wail to pick him up.

Cassidy particularly enjoys lying outside naked and wiggling all his parts joyfully up at the sun and the trees.

Ada often goes to be with Cassidy when I’ve left him wiggling on the bed, and I find her holding or hugging him, or telling him the names of his toes. When he cries she picks him up and sings to him. Sometimes I catch Annabelle’s having climbed onto him without anyone’s noticing, and she pokes and prods and grabs with real hearty affection, and I pull her off in anticipation of screams of pain only to find that he is grinning widely in enjoyment. I can count on one hand the number of times he has laughed out loud and the most recent time was when his sisters both congregated around him on the bed to take turns blowing raspberries on his tiny tummy, and then Annabelle threw a cotton wipe onto his face and Ada pulled it off and he laughed, and both of the girls did, too. I delight in their delight of each other.

And for him, there hasn’t been much adjustment to make to our nomadic life…he’s living in the same arms he was back home, surrounded by all the same voices, and really, we’ve been living in this motorhome since before he was born, even if it was in one spot.

Annabelle

Photobucket

Annabelle was eighteen months old when we left, was adjusting to being a big sister, and starting to talk. A couple of weeks into our adventure I decided to wean her. She was having a really rough time sharing nursing with our new baby and there was a lot of screaming and thrashing involved when I wanted to finish nursing Cassidy before nursing her. It seemed to me that it would be easier for her to accept never nursing, rather than sometimes nursing with no prediction of when she would be allowed to and when the baby would bump her from that esteemed position.

So the next time she asked to nurse I told her that our baby only eats mommy’s milk, but Annabelle gets to eat all sorts of delicious things, naming several of her favorites. So, I told her, we were going to let the baby do the nursing, and instead of nursing she and I would do hugs, and kisses, cuddling, and this little piggy. We’d read books and tickle each other.

I didn’t expect this to have much affect right away, but I wanted to start the discussion and gradually distract her more and more away from nursing. Instead, she accepted what I told her and turned her attention to something else. So we didn’t nurse that time, and the next time she asked, we had the same conversation, and she accepted it, and we haven’t nursed since.

That’s right, cold turkey, tear free weaning! I was shocked.

She was already not nursing to sleep at night—she had taken to nursing almost to sleep, then suddenly shaking herself wide awake and ready to play. So removing nursing from our night time routine was actually helpful. It was like cutting out her midnight caffeine drink.

She wasn’t nursing down for naps either because she had developed the habit of falling asleep while driving.  So that wasn’t a problem.

Nursing as a heal-all is always nice, but Annabelle had become accustomed to going to David when she was hurt or upset, as I usually had a baby in my arms and on my breast. Or else she would let me hug her against me and the nursing baby. We had already stopped using nursing to heal all.

Annabelle is extremely hale and strong and eats a large and varied diet, so while my milk has beneficial qualities that cannot be replaced by anything else on earth, I was not concerned with her nutritional needs being met, and I felt happy with the benefits she had already gleaned from our nursing relationship.

Maybe because I already have another nursling, I did not mourn the end of this part of our relationship at all. The only twinge of regret I may have felt was for the tandem nursing relationship I had expected Annabelle and Cassidy to have as tandem nurslings. However, their relationship is already strong and adorable and full of love, so I can let that go.

Annabelle is a complete daddy’s girl, in part due to the fact of having become a big sister at so young an age (although she and her daddy were close from the beginning). The timing was not ideal in many ways, but at the same time, I cannot believe it is anything but perfect because it is what it is, and we all have so much love and gain so much joy from the fact of each other member in our family that there can be no concern that our situation or any of our decisions is less than exactly what they should be, even if they are different from the choices my peers would make in a similar situation.

And here I want to give a shout out to my peers without whose love I might not be so comfortable in myself and my choices and instincts (waves to peers).

The only time when Annabelle’s having weaned was inconvenient was several weeks later when she was sick for the first time since weaning. Cassidy got a very mild cold that didn’t bother him, and I think that it was the breastmilk that got him through it so easily. Annabelle was sick for a whole week and felt miserable with a high fever, cough, and vomiting. But she got through and is back to her all-too-energetic self!

Energetically dissassembling all our pens (and sometimes dropping them down the AC vents in the dashboard, I finally figured out), emptying every wipe out of the drawer of wipes, spooning yogurt into her mouth, and other places, emptying the glove compartment, ripping the toilet paper holder from the wall (screws and all)…Annabelle is a handful!

She accepts each new place matter of factly and without apparent surprise and with the same eagerness to get out and go. She enjoys playing with Ada in the RV, or gong on excursions in all the new places. She mostly wants to be put down to get into mischief and resists getting picked up, unless it’s inconvenient, and then she needs to be in arms right away.

She is quick to protest, and loud, and can be quite dramatic, but she is secretly easy going and reasonable and relatively easy to sooth and restore to good spirits or to gain cooperation from.

She sleeps head to foot with Ada in their bed, but usually wakes at some point in the night and one of us (David) has to get up and cuddle her back to sleep, or else we’re too tired to get up and she climbs into our bed which is way too crowded. It’s full size, and so are we, with two adults and a baby already!

So how is she adjusting to fulltime RVing?  She is happy and thriving, and getting more attention from her parents than they had at “home” so for Annabelle, life is good!

One week to takeoff!

Counting Down!

  • Roof vent cover replaced.
  • Roof painted (twice) with sealant.
  • Benny checked out with mechanic.
  • Benny checked out again with electrical mechanic.
  • Birth certificates acquired for everyone.
  • Passport sent for.
  • Drivers license renewed.
  • Car sold.
  • Work van sold.
  • Utilities canceled as of 17 June.

Still to do:

  • pack every last thing in Benny except for…
  • things taken to charity thrift store and…
  • things stored with friends and family.
  • Give away pantry items that don’t fit in Benny.
  • Clean house.
  • Test roof for leaks.
  • Replace spare tire.
  • Fix kids’ window.
  • Replace one light fixture with fan/light combo.
  • Change oil.
  • Find vegetable oil to fill both tanks to capacity.
  • Install toilet lock and oven lock for Annabelle’s benefit!
  • Get box made to fit on hitch haul with veggie oil tank.
  • Pack tools in box.
  • Post things for sale on Craigslist and if they don’t sell by next week…
  • Add things to pile for charity.
  • Find farms to stay at en route.
  • Plan visits with friends along route.
  • Locate state and national parks and forests to camp in.
  • Locate good, cheap RV parks to stay in once a week for recharging batteries and dumping tanks.
  • Identify attractions to see along route.
  • Find books to read with Ada about the places we’ll be visiting.
  • Send posters and other promotional material to venues.
  • Continue booking shows farther North and then along return route.
  • Get PA speakers fixed.
  • Install Quickbooks on laptop and set up two businesses.
  • Copy CDs onto computer and store CDs.
  • Scan copies of birth certificates and other documents into computer and…
  • sell scanner.
  • Transfer contents of computer to laptop and…
  • Sell computer.
  • Change address of LLC.
  • Register new address with City of Clearwater, bank, and other business entities.
  • File change of address with post office.
  • Supply parents with several postage paid envelopes to send us our mail in monthly.
  • Pay insurance and phone/internet up through October.
  • Bring beloved kitty Throckmorton to new (wonderful) family—our dear friends who will love and feed her until we come back for her.

Why is my second list so much longer? And only a week left—yikes!

Everything but the kitchen sink!

This is our last week.  Way too much to do.  I’m waiting for David to get home from his last day of work (!) and then I’m hoping he can post a bunch of stuff on Craigslist WHILE watching the kids so I can make dinner and simultaneously pack our kitchen into Benny.

Our Kitchen in the house
A picture of our kitchen from this one time when it was clean.

Once I’ve packed our kitchen into Benny, I’ll know what’s left.  Pantry items will be donated to our parents or thrown away.  Fridge items will stay in the fridge until we leave, and then anything left will probably be thrown away.  I hope to use it all.  Dishes, pans and containers that don’t go in Benny will be donated.

Theoretically I could get the whole kitchen done tonight (I’ve been working on it for months, so it’s not THAT impressive), but only if David comes home soon because it’s almost 6pm at 8pm, I start getting kids to bed . . .

It’s a . . . baby!

Sorry to have been silent for so long. You may have guessed, but I had a baby! That was more than two weeks ago, and it’s taken me this long to have any thought to spare for blogging!

But while blogging was on hiatus, our free range dreams were not. We’re closer than ever to the getting on the road!

First, here’s where you can find the birth story. I posted it on my other blog for consistency because my previous two birth stories are already there. Let me just briefly note here that we had a wonderful homebirth and a wonderful baby and I’m amazed every day that life is so good and wondrous!

With that out of the way, I can plunge ahead with our plans to get on the road. Here’s how things are developing:

  • David’s CD was released in April and he had his CD Release Party (hopefully I’ll get a chance to blog about that here soon)
  • We’ve officially decided to tour up the east coast (from Florida to Maine)
  • David gave notice that he will be leaving his job in the next three to six weeks

Benny needs:

  • a roof vent cover replaced (ours broke, and now we have to put a garbage bag over the opening when it rains—tre ghetto!)
  • a funny sound investigated and resolved
  • a fan to blow on the kids while we’re driving (and ideally one we can use when we’re parked, too, but not plugged in)
  • duvet covers(!) for the beds instead of the two-piece sheet/comforter set up we have now—for ease of making beds and converting the kids bed into benches for car seats!
  • A metal box built on the back to hold the 55 gallon drum we have acquired for storing MORE VEGGIE OIL (yay) and tools that David can use to make us some money while on the road
  • Oh, and it would be awfully nice if we could get the fan over the range fixed too.
  • propane detector installed
  • light bulbs switched out for LED
  • leak in storage compartment fixed so we can, you know, store stuff in it
  • water filter for drinking water

Benny’s so cool—I love him!

Other:

  • move completely into RV (which means figuring out where everything fits…and what just doesn’t)
  • empty house (which involves storage, selling things, and calling Goodwill)
  • rent or sell house (but we’ve got a property manager coming on board this month and this falls to him now)
  • buy PA for gigging that actually fits in our available storage
  • change address for my baby wrap business
  • change address with the post office
  • cancel all subscriptions (including Netflix)
  • arrange for mail forwarding (a la David’s parents, mostly)
  • book tour and plan route (in progress—and more fun than most of the chores on the list)
  • sell David’s work van
  • pay insurance on Benny for year
  • prepay phone/internet service
  • find smaller bread machine

Sadly, solar panels are not going to be purchased prior to our departure. We just can’t keep waiting to go, so we’re going and if we find a way to get solar panels we will, but we’re going regardless!

Our plan is to go up and then back down the east coast for a few months, possibly returning to see family and friends in Florida in September for Ada’s seventh birthday. Then we’ll want to head west, but planning that would be getting ahead of ourselves. One thing (or the hundred things listed above) at a time, you know?

More soon, Diana

Taking a big breath…and letting go.

house under the oaks

The stress of trying to arrange for an estate sale was too much for me, so I let it go and have been giving our things away.  I’ve found that there is a greater benefit to this decision than I knew:

We’re letting go of the an accumulation stage of our lives.  We’re saying, “Nah, we don’t need things,” and, “That IS beautiful–I’m glad I got to see it but I don’t need to own it.”  We’re saying, “I don’t need more than five outfits–it’s easier to keep up with laundry this way.”

Selling our possessions is still granting them too much importance.  It is letting them continue to loom large in our lives, hearts, and pocketbooks.  It is still living life in accordance with ownership.

Giving them away is much more in the spirit of this great endeavor we are embarking upon.  Giving them away says that possessions are useful to those who use them, and we begrudge them to no one.  It says that we are open to things (material and ideological) flowing in and out of our lives unhindered by sometimes-irrational emotional ties.

I also figure the karma is bound to prepare us for a life of needing and using little, and relying on being able to conjure up what we do need as we need it.   Letting our things go out into the world, creates a world where things can flow to and from us more easily.  Being less greedy makes it possible for us to have things more easily.

Practically speaking?  We have lots of expenses to cover in preparation for this trip.  Wouldn’t selling our things help get our solar array?  Yes.  But it’s not worth it.  We will just have to get our solar array without hoarding and haggling.

I’m struggling now to figure out how to apply this newfound release (and relaxation) to our house.  Debt is always a complicating factor, and that’s the problem with the house–we owe as much, or more than, it’s worth.  How do we release the house when it is tied to obligation?  We looked into selling it, but it doesn’t seem like we can get enough to pay it off.  So we’re looking into renting it, which is not our preference because we want to be cut free from the ownership of it.  We want to not be collecting money from it, and paying money out on it.  We want to not know or care if something broke, or even whether the trees are fruiting.  We have other things to rest our attentions and intentions upon now and we’re ready for a different game.

Yet, the debt, and the house remain.  It is a beautiful house, that I would dearly regret letting go if I wasn’t so excited about letting go.  We got married on the lawn surrounded by the people dearest to us.  Our daughters were born in the house.  We built half the house ourselves, painted fanciful murals and details, tiled imaginative and personal mosaics, planted blooming vines that have flourished…

And now that I am finding it so easy to let go, I can appreciate the house, and the memories, without any urge to hold onto the physical markers of those things.  I have my husband, my marriage, and my children.  The place where wonderful things happened–and whether or not we keep it–is not nearly so relevant to the wonderful things themselves as it used to seem.

While I contemplate how to release the house, debt and all, I invite anyone looking for a love-filled family home to consider buying or renting ours, seen here: http://www.wrapyourbaby.com/house/details.html

And anyone who has advice or words of encouragement–always welcome!  Please comment with your insight.  I could use some right now.

Progress!

Getting rid of stuff–or dekludging, as we call it–happened to an actual perceivable degree this weekend.  You see, Sunday was my birthday and what did I want?  LESS stuff!  My darling husband obliged by taking a day off from the giant mess of things we always have to get done, and just sorted and boxed things instead.

dekludging

Then he took stuff to charity.  I should have counted the boxes.  At least two big boxes, several littler ones, and random objects like a stool, a rug, a box fan, a globe…all gone!

I want to run with this momentum.  If I can get a couple more boxes filled, I can have someone pick them up, and maybe take some furniture too.

We’ve been reluctant to get rid of things like the couch until we’re really moved out, because why not leave the creature comforts until we’re done with them.  But I’m beginning to realize that we’ll never be moved out until we do get rid of them!  I want to give away the couch, our big livingroom chair, and an old beat up but cool organ.  We’ll see if I go through with it.

I have some things boxed up that I foolishly boxed in our plastic lidded boxes.  Well, we may need to keep the boxes, though I want to give away their contents.  Good planning, right?  So I have a box of Christmas ornaments to re-box, and a box of kitchen items.

I decided I would be fine not toting Christmas decorations around (or storing them).  I thought, what a nice tradition it will be to make new ornaments with the kids each year.  Popcorn strands and cranberry garlands, orange slice ornaments, paper snowflakes…

I still love that idea, a way to fill up our Decembers with productive Christmas activity.  But we also discovered that we have some ornaments we just don’t want to give up.  Things made by David and his sister as children.  Some passed down from my grandmother.  And some ornaments gifted by my mother or which we got ourselves over the past seven years since we became a family that commemorate various times or occasions of our life together.  So we have a small box of Christmas ornaments to store and the rest are outa here!

The Things That Own You

The world has to learn that the actual pleasure derived from material things is of rather low quality on the whole and less even in quantity than it looks to those who have not tried it.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes

stuff piled up to go

Wow, I’ve had a rough week.  I feel positively weighed down by the stuff in this house, and everyday I make huge efforts towards getting rid of it and it hardly seems to make a dent.

And I wondered, why is this so hard?  Shouldn’t I feel lighter everyday that the weight of my possessions is lighter?  Shouldn’t this exercise leave me feeling buoyant and free?

Do you know what I think the problem is?  I think the things are clinging to me.  I have no problem letting them go, but they are not so easy to convince.  In embarking on this plan to eliminate the stuff, I have opened up a can of worms.  I am up to my elbows in things I don’t want, and whereas their weight has been sitting on the floor of my closets up until the present, now their weight is in my arms and on my shoulders.  I feel like the Shell Silverstein character: ah, heck, it’s up to my neck!

I think this is the natural resistance of chaos to simplicity.  I think I have to stay strong and keep my saber swinging to and fro through the thick jungle of it all until suddenly I will find myself in a peaceful meadow and the job will be done.

One decision I’ve made to help myself in this task is to forgo the estate sale.  We’re going the goodwill route (as in, you provide a big truck, and we will give you all our things).  For me, at this point in my life and times (and pregnancy), the effort of getting rid of things without getting them out of the house, while placing value on them (in the form of price stickers), and getting them cleaned up and sorted, without my kids breaking, removing, or playing with them, was just an impossibility.  Do you know how much easier it is to say, “I don’t need this, I don’t need this, I don’t need this…” as you toss things higgeldy-piggeldy into a cardboard box?

There are some big ticket items that we plan to sell on Craigslist because it’s hard not to try to recoup something out of this mess, especially when we haven’t bought the solar panels for our motorhome yet!

And the biggest task lying in wait for me is paperwork:  filing cabinets full, baskets brimming over, piles and stacks, and random particles that have drifted down to form a blanket of forms, envelopes, reminders, invitations, coupons, receipts and records on the floor.

For inspiration, here are some people’s ideas and suggestions in dealing with the dilemna of stuff:

100 things challenge

insight from a minimalist