March 23, 2012

Adventures in Packing

The most frequently asked question we have received after announcing that we are moving to Ecuador is: "What will you do with your stuff?" Good question; here's an attempted answer:

I will never complain about packing when moving again. I hope.

Packing, as I had formerly known it, is the process of putting your possessions into boxes, trailers, or cars and relocating them. This process normally involves an unfulfilled vow to get rid of things you really don't need, declutter your life, and to finish in a finely tuned and organized fashion. The reality of this deep clean/organization effort is that after a few things are thrown away, sold at garage sales, or donated to Goodwill - there will still be several boxes packed with mismatched socks, electronic parts, sentimental trinkets (whether you remember the sentiment or not) and a myriad of things you really don't need but are worried that you might and don't want to spend money to replace them - so into a box they go!

This summarizes pretty well the goals and subsequent failings of my packing expeditions over the past 5 years of marriage. We have moved 6 times during the last 5 years so I've had opportunity to reflect!

This move is different. This time we are relocating to a place we have never been, we cannot take much with us and we don't know if/when we will move back. This time, I have to meet the idealistic packing goals. This time, I really do have to get rid of everything I do not need and finish in an organized fashion - and I only have 1 1/2 weeks left in which to do this. PANIC!

In theory, I would love to get rid of everything we own that does not immediately impact our goals/needs for moving to Ecuador. Why store what you don't need? I hate the idea of storage.

BUT...what if we only stay in Ecuador for 3-6 months? What if we stay for 10 years? What if we move back and don't have the basic necessities or money to buy them? Things like sheets, blankets, towels, and of course - Christmas decor?!? What do I do with the pottery place settings or nice cookware we got from loved ones for our wedding? What do we do with the nice sets of tools we have? They cost too much to replace, and if we ever move back, we know we'll need them! What do we do with boxes full of old letters, pictures, sentimental gifts, and childhood memorabilia?

We have sold the majority of our furniture, and will leave our appliances with the house we currently live in. We have sold my Explorer, and will sell Geoff's truck. We are re-homing our beloved bunny, Doc.  We have a huge garage sale/Goodwill donation pile that contains many items I would not be parting with if we were not making such a drastic move. I have sorted through everything we own at least 4 times, thoroughly, and I still feel disorganized.

We are keeping the Aspen log bed that we built together in Colorado. We are keeping our pottery and cookware. Though they have been thinned, we are keeping basic sentimental items like pictures, notes, childhood memorabilia...and of course Geoff's Lego sets. We are keeping a tote of basic linens; sets of towels, sheets, blankets, etc. along with a few other items would be too expensive to replace. We are keeping our mountain bikes, and my road bike.  These things will go to my parents house. Thank you!!!! We have loaded our favorite DVD's onto our external hard drive, and will store necessary papers and documents in online storage.

I still feel like we are keeping too much, but I'm not done packing so I'm sure the next filter will remove even more debris. All that to say, we are doing our best to get rid of what we don't need, and to be responsible stewards of gifts that were given to us and of belongings that may still serve purpose for us in the future. It's hard. We are short on time. Please pray for us!

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