I think I have a lot of time before we move, but I'm realizing quickly that is an illusion.
I leave for Spain the week the kids go back to school and return on Friday, February 16th. The window washers and house cleaner will come that next Monday, the 19th. We will finish staging on Tuesday and pictures for the website are being taken on Wednesday. House will officially be on the market on Thursday, March 1st. Because of my upcoming trip, the work we are going to do in the house, and the timeline for listing the house for sale, we will spend all Winter Break going through each item in our house.
I come from a long line of Savers. I am one of those people that have either an emotional attachment to everything I've ever seen or a worry that I will need something I currently own one day in the nebulous future. My mother is like this too, and I'm pretty sure that her mother was as well. For example, my 76-year-old Mom has a golf-ball sized gray lump on the counter in her bathroom. It has no distinguishable shape or smell and yet it is one of her favorite possessions because, at one time (71 years ago), it was an angel made from soap that her father bought her.
My parent's basement is not much better. My folks like to laugh and call the family tradition of passing the boxed contents of the basement from one generation to the next the "Smith* Curse" (*not their real last name). At least we keep a sense of humor about it too.
This is all to give you some insight into how challenging this process has been for me.
And now I am the end of my runway with only 31 days until I leave for my class. Thirty-one days (that's it!) to assess 50 years of stuff and determine whether I keep or toss something.
There are basically 4 groups of items: those that we are keeping in short-term storage (until we get settled in our flat in Valencia), those that we are keeping in long-term storage (until we buy our next place), things we will get rid of when we sell/move (beds/furniture/things for staging), and things we are getting rid of now, either through donations or trash.
I began in the easiest room in the house, one with almost nothing in it, the powder room on the main floor of our house. I cleared out all the stuff under the sink (given the number of hand soaps I found, I'm thinking that this may be genetic), the curio cabinet, the medicine cabinet and the countertop. There were several items that got packed for long-term storage and even more that went into the donations bin.
I then moved to the den. Again, this is a room without too much bric-a-brac, except for the built-in shelves on either side of the fireplace. I put everything on the coffee table and side tables into donations, and then removed all the items from the built-ins, dusted them, dusted the shelves and set them on the coffee table to assess their status.
Some of it was easy, but the majority of the items sit there waiting for me to decide to keep or toss. Most items fall into the sentimental category, not the someday category. And that is where I get stopped, every time.
I have no idea what to do with the huge picture albums, the small framed photos, the never-used coffee set that I love that my parents bought in Turkey (but is marked Portugal), the 4 wine cups that I use for Shabbat. Do I really need 9 sets of candlesticks--no, but how do I get rid of any one of them? I've decided that I will give a set to my oldest and I will set aside 2 of the other pairs for my younger sons. I will give a set to my Mom and that leaves me with 5 sets. Three pairs will go into short-term storage, and two pairs will make the flight in my luggage, along with the wine cups.
C keeps telling me that if I have any doubts, then I should keep these items. For now, that works, but when the boxes outgrow the storage space, it will be a different story.
I'm working on channeling my inner Marie Kondo and plan on more successes soon--given how short the timeframe is, I'm counting on it!