Preparing for an Uncertain Future

No, I’m not suggesting that we should all become preppers. It’s a good idea to be prepared for whatever kind of natural disaster your area is prone to, but I don’t think it pays to mortgage your present for a merely possible future.

I have, however, been preparing for a change this past month. At the beginning of February it seemed distinctly possible that by the time the month was out we would have moved to a house half the size of the one we currently live in. And while that didn’t happen, I still needed to prepare in case it did.

Bernkastel BW 1
Cue a major pruning. So major, in fact, that I gave up the idea of writing for the month (apart from keeping up with the blog, obviously) and didn’t bother with trying to keep a purge list, because it would have taken too long. The downside of that is that I have trouble remembering everything that has left our house (a sure sign that we had too much stuff).

There was a whole boxful of kitchen things, including the sole survivor of my first ever set of wineglasses (the other three leapt to a glittering end during the first Canterbury earthquake); there were more books, some cassette tapes and CDs, a variety of clothing (some so worn that it had to be binned), and half a recycling bin’s worth of stuff I’d been keeping in my desk. Also a whole bunch of what might be described as general stuff.

I’ve also been working on my stash of unfinished projects – important for peace of mind, freed-up space, and maintaining my Finishing-Person reputation. The crazy quilt was finished last year, it is true, but that still left me with the rose quilt (a project even older than the crazy quilt, if my memory serves me correctly at this distance), a pair of half-knitted gloves, a block quilt to be assembled, a cardigan to be knitted from recycled wool, and a large backlog of mending.

StateLibQld 1 92432 Interior view of a woman mending clothes, ca. 1910
During February I made progress on the rose quilt, finished the gloves, and did most of the mending – there’s just one more waistband to be done and it’ll be finished. I am pleased with my progress, but also horrified at how much work there still is to be done. The Grand Purge is now mostly finished, and I’m back to writing (or rather rewriting) in March, but chaos, as ever, still lurks on the horizon.

Chaos, you ask? In a post-purge household? Well, yes. While we didn’t end up moving into the half-the-size house, we may find ourselves three weeks from a move at any time. This is exciting, but also somewhat stressful, particularly since we have no idea what size house we’ll end up moving to, and therefore whether or not a further Grand Purge will be required to fit. Because as much as we’ve got rid of, there’s always more that could be pared away. Like the rest of life, our simplicity is a work in progress – but the progress is feeling good.

Going Halves

Half a house, Union Beach, NJ
Here’s an interesting thought exercise: Look around at the space you live in. If you had to fit yourself and all your belongings into a space half as big, what would you keep and what would you let go?