I have never considered myself a pack rat. However if you saw the amount of stuff I have removed from my house over the last week, you would probably beg to differ. Piles and boxes and shopping bags full of stuff. What has been so interesting to me is how easy it was to get rid of it all. I had no emotional attachment to any of it. So why did I keep it for years? I think the answer is two fold. The big one is space. If I have space to store stuff I am very likely to fill that space over time. The second aspect is usefulness. If something has a useful purpose I am likely to store it away for when I need it. I love to be able to create on a whim without purchasing supplies. So my basement has served me quite well.
Here's the big light bulb moment for me in the midst of my purge. A few days ago I was getting the opinion of a fellow parent who is an architect about a new front door for my house. During the conversation he mentioned to me that while house hunting he calculated that his family of four needed only 1200 square feet to live comfortable. I thought that was crazy! 1200 feet is nothing. How can a family of four live in that. Kids get big and they have lots of friends. As I came home and looked at all the space in my home after removing the unnecessary stuff I got it. What is the point of having a big house filled with stuff you don't use? One of the aspects of moving to Seattle that is so exciting for me is the house shopping part. This is my opportunity to get a much bigger house. Like twice as big and I wouldn’t have been apposed to three times as big.
Suddenly this morning, as I drank my cup of coffee and looked through the new listings our Realtor in Seattle sent, the houses didn't look as good to me. They have everything I specified weeks earlier. The big kitchens with the granite countertops and shiny stainless steel appliances, the massive empty bonus room, 3 bathrooms and 3 garage stalls suddenly don't look so appealing. These houses feel a little soulless. Yet my sweet little old house that I have made over time and time again and have been wishing away looks just about right. It lives really well. It has never failed to serve our needs.
Now, as I am making it over yet again with a new homeowner in mind I am missing my house. Because what we do when we sell a house is remove part of the current owners to make room for the new. I hope more than anything that a lovely freshly married young couple like Jon & I were will buy this sunny old house and make it home. That they will have babies in this house and love the sound of their chubby feet on its old maple floors. That they will grow and stretch and just be happy in this house. It’s a house that is good for that kind of thing.
Yesterday as we celebrated our 10 year anniversary (7 of which occurred in this house) we did lot’s of reminiscing about the old gal. What she looked like when we bought her. What she looks like now. How we live with lot’s of little imperfections until your ready to sell it. At which point you fix all the things that annoyed you while living in it. I have had several moments of “Why didn’t I do that years ago?” In the end I am sure we will buy a new home in the same fashion that we bought this one. We will walk in and both of us will get giddy. We will be swept away by the energy of the house. The house will pick us.