Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Home is Where Your Heart Is

We've been homeless for five years. Not homeless really...just house-less, and we love it! When our kids all moved out we were ready for a smaller place, a nest as Dee calls it. We moved into our apartment March 21, 2002. But first we had to distribute our stuff.

I walked through our house and listed everything we, clocks, art, collectibles...and sent the list to all 7 of our kids. They each ranked the items and put stars by things they really wanted. It was interesting, because some of our most treasured pieces weren't sought after, while others held unique memories for several kids. Some of them needed beds and furniture, others wanted linens or dishes, somebody spoke for the snow blower, another asked for the barbecue, and one family requested the toboggans. When all the lists were returned, I divided things up on paper and let everybody know what they'd be getting. I put stickers on the things we kept so when we make our "final move" they will go to their proper homes.

We had a huge collection of books, so one Sunday night we arranged a conference call with all the kids in different states, connected to the kids gathered in our living room. We held an auction over the phone. Each couple had 500 points and they bid against each other for the books or collections they wanted. It was really fun, and interesting to see what everybody chose.

Over a couple of days we packed and labeled boxes, decided what would fit into our new place (which was about 1/4 the size of our house) and then planned our cross-country deliveries. The local kids all helped by hauling their acquisitions away. Then they moved the keepers to our apartment, and took the rest to DI. We rented a Penske moving van and packed it according to our route, then took off for Ohio, Boston and PA, distributing the goods along the way.

It was a great adventure and we loved the whole downsizing process.

We congratulate ourselves every time it snows, blows or grows. No grass to cut, no leaves to rake, no walks to shovel, no pipes to thaw, no spouts to clean, no sprinklers to fix. We're living a "been there, done that" kind of life.

Our family was blessed to have homes with space for 7 kids to grow and learn. We had yards with hills for climbing and sleigh riding, driveways for bikes and basketball hoops, and lots of rooms to learn how to clean. It's just the 2 of us now, empty-nesters, but we do love our nest!


kelly said...

I always love this story. I think it is such a fun way to divvy up "the goods." I bet it was fun seeing who picked what etc. Were there any fights for a paticular item?

Travelin'Oma said...

There were things that several kids all wanted, but I made sure each kid got some of their top choices. I don't think there were any fights. Because we weren't dead yet, it was all still ours, and was a gift. If there had been any gigantic fights over anything I would have given it to DI and solved it that way!

mama jo said...

i also loved this story...reminds me of doing that sort of thing at mom's and dad''s great that you have the guts to cut back and live a simpler type life...i'm not sure i could do that yet...

Susan said...

Wow...that is a GREAT memory. We did this with my Grandmother not long was such a precious time.

Have a great day!!

:-) Susan