As most people already know, the Powell family is on the move again. This seems to be a pattern: once we have a kid, we pack up and move. When Lily was about 5 months old we quit our jobs, had the Army pack up our apartment, and moved halfway across the country from Kansas to Washington. Now, we are even going to top this by packing ourselves up and moving halfway across the globe with our 2-year old and a 2-month old baby (this will hopefully be the last of those moves, I'm not going to do it again!).
In preparation for said move, we drastically have to reduce our belongings. Most of our furniture has already been claimed by friends (we'd rather see our furniture go to people we know will cherish it rather than sell it to just anyone), Richard has someone interested in his car, most of his books are sold (I know the sacrifice you made, my heart, and I love you even more for it!), a few boxes full already on their way to Germany. Now, it was my turn to reduce my personal belongings. When we cleaned out Lily's closet, that has served as storage space for the last two years, I found several shoe boxes full of old letters, postcards, and other odds and ends. I decided that I would fit everything that's really important in these boxes into my "personal box", a small cardboard box with just random stuff and memorabilia that I keep in my nightstand.
This task sent me down memory lane last night. I found gems like a birthday card I received for my 6th birthday (that was 20 years ago!!!), old letters from my best friends, a ton of postcards I've received over the years from all over the world, the first Valentine's card Richard gave to me, etc. I sorted through cards we have received for our wedding, Lily's birth, the holidays, and so on. Making the decision on what goes and what stays was extremely difficult, to a degree that it made me feel like a hoarder. But in the end, I had to make my cuts, mostly based on how close I still am with the sender. I kept all correspondence with my best friend, but got rid of said card for my 6th birthday. I thought at some point that it would be neat to be able to show it to my daughters at some point, but then wondered whether they would even care to see a card their mom received from a distant relative who died long before they were born. But I kept all the cards we received for their birth and the birthdays, just to be able to show them one day how much they meant to people they might not even remember any more. Many people we have come to be close to here will stop staying in touch, some have already started, while others have become virtually family, so that they will always be part of our lives, no matter how far we live apart. I think this will be a good lesson for our girls to learn some day. Today, it was time for a second round of cuts, getting rid of envelopes that take up space, and revising some decisions from yesterday. I can proudly say, that everything fits in the little box now (does that mean I'm a recovering hoarder?), and the trash containers downstairs are a little fuller than they were before (just to prevent me getting up at 3 a.m. and again revising some decisions, I've taken a huge box of trash out at 10:30 p.m.; wonder what the neighbors thought...).
Looking at the little box next to me on the couch makes me a little sad right now, but I also feel very much relieved, as I always do after much-needed decluttering, as if I can see clearer, and I feel a little bit lighter too.. The coming days and weeks still hold plenty of sorting and decision-making in store for all of us, with some decisions being easy, others extremely difficult. But in the end it is all worth it, since it leads us to our new life in Germany, with endless opportunities for all of us.