A little overwhelmed, I must say

So a few years ago my husband and I lost our house to foreclosure. We’d been living “up in the hills” as everyone calls it, in a small rural town with two stores, four gas pumps and a pizza parlor. We loved our house. We had five acres, twenty six pygmy goats, three horses, and even an emu. We loved our house and land so much that we actually got married (for the second time) in the back pasture behind the beautiful barn.

We loved it, we lost it, we moved on.

When we moved “off the hill”, I was heartbroken. Honestly. We’d signed a bad loan, for good reasons, so the foreclosure didn’t strike the same internal chord with us that it seems to have hit so many others who’ve lost their homes. We never felt angry with the lenders or that the situation was unfair. But, that didn’t mean we were happy with it, not at all…we just accepted it, but it still hurt, a lot. When we left we both decided we’d never live on the hill again, and never wanted to try to buy another house. We’d be renters in town and be content.

Life changed for us six months ago when my mother in law passed away. Now, as a result of that, it’s about to change again.

One thing that has to be said about that woman was that, as amazing and incredible and intelligent as she was, she was definitely human and had human flaws. As a child of the Great Depression she developed a seriously astounding pack rat habit in her older years. Although we were all aware that she was sick, no one was convinced she was going to pass away, not even the doctors. Everyone kept expecting her to get better. So we put off going through her things and sorting them out because we were waiting for her to feel better so we could all do it together. That’s not the way it worked out, and now my father in law is stuck dealing with a stuffed house, beyond stuffed shop, and sheds and yards and a green room…it’s all very overwhelming. Nothing my mom had could really be considered trash; she didn’t save garbage (for the most part) but she did save everything else.

Now, my dad needs to sell what he can sell, including the shop and house, to start over in a fresh place. But he can’t deal with everything that’s there on his own. It’s very tempting to bag it all up and throw it away, but the thing is, there is plenty of useful, needed stuff there. We need to sort it with the family, give them what they can use, donate what we can, and throw away what we have to. To do all of that is going to take time and energy. But when we’re driving half an hour each way to get up there to help him, then rushing back home after a long day to take care of our own house, there isn’t enough time or energy left to deal with anything properly. So we made the decision to give up our house (which is a rental, and which I am glad about leaving before winter, honestly) to stay with my father in law long enough to get rid of everything up there. The ultimate goal is for us to find a house to buy together, but for the moment I can’t even begin to think of that…it’s very, very overwhelming.

So we are moving into an overly furnished house…to clean it out and empty it…to move again eventually.

Overwhelming? Temporarily insane? They both apply to this situation!

There are benefits, one of the main ones being that since we are leaving this rental, my two sisters have decided to move into it and our landlord is thrilled. That means that I don’t have to pack up my kitchen to move it into an already overly equipped one…since neither of my sisters have very much in the way of furniture or practical things, I’ll be able to walk away with only my favorite and needed personal things. That in itself is scary! I have started over with nothing three times in my life, and for some reason, this feels like another time. Maybe because it’s not my own stuff I’ll be surrounded by? I’m determined to keep the things that are most dear to me, and will be getting a storage if I have to, since eventually we will be moving to a bigger house and I’ll have room to spread out; on the other hand, I’m looking at this as a chance to shed anything that’s unnecessary or in the way. I’m enjoying the prospect of a fresh start!

What about you? If you could pick up tomorrow and move with only the things you love, what would you take? How much of what you deal with every day, from clothes to dishes to decoration, is stuff you just keep shuffling around because it’s there? I am going to try my best to only take what I love and let everything else go…is there room for you to do that in your life as well?