It’s the first of the year and today we begin!
Here is ASSIGNMENT #1.
I know many of you are playing along with me, pretending to move when in actuality, you’re not. You’re just along for the ride. Which is awesome, because I really do think that this will be really helpful to you. And the more of you that participate, the more support/accountability I have!
So to participate in this challenge, you need to FULLY jump into the “pretending” that you are about to execute a major move. Not just across town where you can do it yourself by the truckload. I want you to put yourself in a situation where you have to think about how in the world would you make a major move with moving trucks and all that. Or, if you were in the position where you might have to downsize your home (since I’ve just done both, both of those scenarios work!). You are going to have to look at your home, your stuff and your LIFE with a fresh pair of eyes. A completely new perspective.
And since I will actually be moving and doing all this by the end of the month, I will be writing and talking about this with “moving language.” Of course, take from this whatever you can. I just don’t want to confuse anyone by going back and forth from “fake scenario A” and “fake scenario B”, so I will write in my own scenario/situation.
The first part of participating is FULLY CHANGING YOUR MINDSET. One thing I have learned, which I have also realized is very different from how many perceive this, is that when you have to pack up and move, and unpack and find places to put things, over and over and over and over and over and over (you get the idea), that your relationship with those things changes.
There is nothing wrong with stuff. And frankly, I’m the most sentimental person in my family. I’m the one who is into scrapbooking and preserving stories, and I am the one who is interested in family history, and I’m the one who attaches crazy sentimental value on many things. (which is much worse around Christmas time!)
However, when you have to move often in a limited time frame, you start to think differently about stuff. It becomes a chore. Then an irritation. Then a total pain in the backside. And one day you have a crazy flip out over an innocent stack of magazines, ripping them to shreds and trashing them, all while cursing the day you ever thought you’d actually read them. Or the time you realized you had over nine huge plastic bins of baby clothes. For ages 0-12 months. That because the seasons were flipped, your second child will probably never wear any of them. And you go berserk, creating a massive yard sale campaign to get rid of them all, and eventually just start mailing boxes of clothes to your unsuspecting pregnant friends, just so you don’t have to look at them anymore. Oh wait. That’s just me.
But you do create a very different perception to what is a) important/necessary for living (pots and pans, kids toys, sheets/towels, etc.) b) what’s fun to have and good for mental health (hobby items, scrapbooking stuff, etc.) c) what you need for emotional health and or has SIGNIFICANT sentimental/emotional value (holiday decorations, stuff needed for family traditions, and other items with sentimental value), and d) dead weight junk.
I do something very similar to this challenge every single time we move. (This will be my seventh time going through this process since I got married seven years ago.) And every single time I do this I am amazed by how much MORE stuff I get rid of. I swear, stuff breeds like rabbits or gremlins when you are not looking.
The first part of changing your mindset is looking at every single item in your house as a “stuff” that has to be moved. Whether you are limited by funds (how expensive it is to hire a moving truck) or by weight (you can only move a certain amount of weight, or only have a certain size container that you are allowed to fill) YOU NOW HAVE A LIMIT to how much “stuff” you can own, and move. That point is really important. THERE IS A LIMIT TO HOW MUCH STUFF YOU CAN HAVE (OR MOVE). In my case, we can move 7,000 pounds. Which sounds like a lot, but is not. And the closer we get to that mark, the less “cool things” I can go out and buy while I’m living in all these cool countries overseas. (P.S. Packing materials also count in that 7,000 pound limit, so you whatever amount of stuff you thought you could fit in that amount? Yeah, cut it down further.)
The second part of this challenge is a time limit. Most of the times I have done this on my own, I’ve given myself long stretches of time to go through and purge/organize – like six months, where I work on one little project a week. Not this time. This time I have less than one month, because I want the packers here the last week of January and we need to be fully out of the house with it ready for renters BEFORE FEBRUARY 1st. (Yes, we have packers/movers. In your own pretend scenario you might be filling that role yourself. Just realize that you might have to talk about yourself in the third person in that case!) So, for the sake of the challenge your time limit is ONE MONTH. We’ll be doing this the whole of January. However, I want that thought of time constraints running through your mind this whole month. Even if this is “pretend” for you, you must think about that countdown to February 1 to get it all completed. Not only is this to motivate you to keep going and not flake out, but also, having that kind of deadline is going to start to inform the decisions you have to make, which is a vital part of the process.
We will talk about prioritizing, sentimental value, purging, organization, and time issues more later on.
Step one: set up your detailed calendar for the month and create your plan. To do all of this in such time constraints as I’ve given us, you are going to have to be HYPER organized for the next 31 days. (This is not easy, even for me.) The best way I’ve found to handle this sort of thing is to have my calendar completely filled in with everything I need to do, down to the last detail. This will be something you will need on a constant, daily basis going forward to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, either with this challenge or the rest of “real life.” So, make sure you account for anything you might already have scheduled. Basically, be ready to go gung-ho!
B) TO-DO LISTS.
Step two: I will go into more insane detail in the future, but for today, start making lists. Of everything you personally need to do as part of this challenge. I find it helpful to categorize things. My own lists often end up several pages long, I won’t lie. But I also find it vital to write down every single little thing because I can’t afford for anything to fall through the cracks. My DH likes to create spreadsheets for himself, but personally I’m fine with a notebook and scratching things off. So make your list however you might like.
And what should be on this list? Well, remember, in your pretend scenario, you are about to make a major, life-changing move. (ie. moving across the country, etc.) So, what kind of stuff would that entail for you and your family? Sure, in real life you don’t need to go get copies of your kids’ school records and medical records to take with you, but as part of this exercise, I would encourage you to take 15 minutes today and brainstorm about ALL POSSIBILITIES. Because you might come with several things that would be very useful regardless. Like making sure you know where important family documents are at all times (kids’ shot records, birth certificates, etc) and that would lead you to writing down “create specific file for each person’s important documents” that you will do this month.
Once I do mine, I will give you guys examples of things that are on my list. And many of those topics will end up being future daily challenge assignments. But to get you started, in addition to the general organizational purge, collecting important documents, phone calls/appointments needed to be made, dealing with logistical side of the move, paperwork, those are sort of the topics I tend to start brainstorming and creating my lists around.
C) MINDLESS GET ‘ER DONE PROJECTS.
I know that tomorrow and on the next few days, there will be a lot of time where you will want to sit down and chill out in front of the TV. Bowl games, favorite shows you like to watch at night, etc. So, during this monthly challenge, I encourage you to take advantage of those times! As you go through this, make a to-do list of mindless items you can do while doing something else. Then, get everything you need for that particular chore, and put it all together right beside your couch. That way you will have everything together and ready to go, so you won’t have any excuses. I suggest having 3 “chores” ready to go at any time. Unfortunately, this month you don’t get the luxury of “downtime!” We’ll get all of that we want once the movers are gone! Don’t give yourself any chores that are going to require lots of brain power. Shredding, filing, organizing paperwork, dealing with receipts for taxes, etc are several ideas that I often do. And don’t hesitate to delegate things to other family members! DH can easily shred documents while watching a game, etc.
So that’s for today. Calendar prep, to-do lists, and prep Get ‘Er Done projects. Tomorrow’s assignment: we will start with organizing/sorting/purging food/pantry items. The next assignment after that will be creating “stations” prepping for the major purge/sort process. Just to get you prepared!