Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Urge to Purge

First, a quick aside on yesterday's semi-ranty 5 favorites: if you had a natural childbirth, I don't hate you. I actually think you're amazing, and I'm a little bit in awe of you. I just don't want to read stories about how 'all women were made to do this' and 'this is my one shot as a woman to unite my sufferings to the Cross of Christ.' It just isn't any good for me. And that's all I was saying.

My two bff's have pushed out half a dozen natural wonders between the two of them with nary a drip of narcotics to speak of...and I stand in awe. But having ridden in a couple of bucking backlabor rodeos myself, I can now confidently say that, unless a future child o' mine decides to debut in a moving vehicle, there is nothing that can stand between this woman and her spinal block. Nothing. And I've run 5 half marathons and had a cavity drilled without novocaine. So I guess there are just different kinds of pain that different bodies can handle.

Mmmkay, moving forward. We're packing. And last night while lying in bed awake awake awake until the heat finally broke close to midnight, Dave and I were discussing the logistics of next week's immigration flight and it occurred to us that schepping a double stroller, 8 suitcases, a hiking backpack, 3 carryon items and a computer bag through 4 airports is going to be really, really painful. And expensive.

My goal, then, is to pare our nomadic inventory down even further, and I'm happy to report that after a few hours generously gifted to me by Timmy the Sheep and Pimpa the stupid looking dog (Italian cartoons are the worst. The worst.) we're 2 entire suitcases of junk lighter.

I've successfully culled the boys' wardrobe down to about 20 pieces per child, which, honestly, still seems like a lot of clothes for two little people. That includes summer and winter wardrobe options, and one heavy jacket per kid. And like 3 pairs of shoes apiece. Yes, it will mean more frequent laundry, but such nice tidy little loads. I think I could conceivably launder their entire wardrobe in 2 washes now, which feels amazing.

I accidentally added 10 lbs of crucifixes, rosaries, and various religious kitsch to our chattel with my frantic shopping spree yesterday morning, so now I'm trying to justify having 4 separate icons of the Holy Family, and still hoping to score an authentic Fontanini nativity creche sometime this weekend. Because who lives in Italy and doesn't own a nativity set? It's practically a crime, I tell you.

Also on the chopping block after this morning's re-evaluation: picture frames, every single toy my children own except for 2 stuffed animals apiece, too-small shoes (sorry, little brother, if that's you in there) and various adult clothing items that made me pause longer than 3 seconds in considering their value.

I basically have 3 criteria for determining whether something stays or goes:

1. Do I love it/does it make me happy? A little subjective, yes, but what's more subjective than choosing an outfit in the morning? I find this works especially well with clothes, both for me and the kids. I might have tossed away a few pairs of perfectly good cords this morning from their stash...but I never dressed them in those pairs. And so even though they were a great brand/in decent shape/perfectly serviceable...they were just taking up space. Use it or lose it.

2. Can I easily replace this? This is especially helpful to me when I'm wavering between stay or go for some piece of something or other purchased from Target, etc. If it was cheap and easy to find in the first place, then why not let it go and pick another one up later, if it is truly missed? When packing for a move, I find it helpful to consider whether I'd buy the item in question a second time, which is essentially what you are doing when you're paying to ship or transport something you own. So IKEA picture frames, Target canvas storage bins, thrifted little boy's winter pants? Gone, gone, and gone.

3. Am I holding on to this for emotional reasons? I think this is more applicable for women who, unlike me, aren't heartless robots bent on world domination (thanks Jen for the alternate MB site recommendation), but I will still find myself hanging on to something simply for the memories it evokes, as I'm sure even Vladimir Putin does from time to time.

But in this semi-nomadic life we're leading right now, memories travel light and free, while filthy-yet-adorable Peter Rabbit pull toys do not. So, (sob) Peter, I'm afraid you'll find the Eternal City to be your appropriate final resting place.
Ours is just identical. Except for being encrusted with filth and disease and without a hint of plush left in his fur coat.
So there you have it. Packing for dummies who fear airport transfers and extra baggage fees.

Happiest of Thursdays mamas, be you natural birthing hippies, housekeeping queens, licensed interior decorators, or run of the mill slobs with the sheen of a week's worth of crappily-prepared meals glistening on the trays of your IKEA high chairs.

The internet is big enough for all of us, and I salute you.


  1. Can you ship any of it ahead of you? It's probably expensive but I bet it would be suuuuch a relief just to have a few carry-ons!

  2. This is awesome. I may be stealing your trifecta of purging rules this weekend as I tackle my closet. (I'm thinking I don't really need sentimental, ill fitting clothing items from college haha). No thank you on the unmedicated births, too ;)

  3. I admire you... and my husband should too!

    I have serious problems letting go of stuff... I am still amazed how I moved from Colombia to Colorado and I still own several pieces of clothing from when I was younger (like college younger). The husband is no better than me and he has high school stuff…seriously?? I have been dying to get rid of it, but I got such a backlash last time that I have been letting it go.

    Until… last Sunday when Fr. Alvaro gave him as penance to do an act of charity. I took advantage of this opportunity and very subtly suggested to donate stuff he doesn’t use. It took him all afternoon, but we have a big pile 

    In unrelated news… we are going to Italy for our belated honeymoon!

    Are you coming back to St. Mary's?

  4. Shipping is wonderful! But any completely non-replaceables still take with you. Because there's still a slight chance it wouldn't make it (just like luggage of course!). And find that nativity scene!! I found one I made of silk and clay in Naples from when I was living in Italy and it stays out year round. I love it that much!!

  5. GIRLFRIEND. Nothing worse than implying if you don't natural (without drugs) birth your child, then your child wasn't born in the way Jesus intended. Drives me bat sh-- crazy. Preach.

  6. I'm sure it's a nice feeling to have a medication-free birth, but it's not like anyone gets a medal for it. Bring on the epidurals! Oh, and good luck with the packing! ;)

  7. Getting rid of stuff is freeing. We've moved around a lot, and I actually like it because it forces us to purge.

  8. I'm completely in awe of your ability to purge. I'm the worst when it comes to getting rid of things i don't need or don't use.
    But I have to ask -- is Georg going to survive this? I'll pay whatever it costs to mail him to me! : )

  9. I concur on the shipping ahead if possible and if not...the US of A is filled aplenty with thrift stores to replenish your stores o' stuff! that said, you are a rock star, don't think I could manage it.

  10. This blows my mind. I cannot imagine your nomadic lifestyle right now.

  11. That second to last paragraph may be the greatest thing I've ever read.


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