Clearing Space

There’s so much to do to get ready for the construction. We have to clear everything out of the first and second floors. There is also work being done in the basement, so much of that has to be accessible. And our piles of paper and other stuff in the attic/office space will have to make room for installation of a new solar light tube above the second floor bath. We, especially Meg, are getting some help from friends to sort and dispose of stuff that we don’t want to move back in with.

For us it’s not just the physical packing up and moving stuff. We’re taking this time as an opportunity to refresh our lives, to let go of some things anchoring us in the past and to create space in our lives for new things in the future. Almost everything we have is either a) useful, b) might be useful in the future, c) something we’re emotionally attached to, or d) just something we haven’t got around to getting rid of. We generally keep ‘a’ and dispose of ‘d’. I used to keep a lot of ‘b’ items, but that’s changing. For instance, I have accumulated lots of books, many of which I thought I’d read or reread when I had more time. They’ve sat on the shelves for years, but now they have been carted off to local youth-run used book store.

The ‘c’ category can be especially tricky. Since our son, Matthew, died nine years ago we have kept his book shelves intact. To me, it felt like I was having a conversation with him when I looked at his books.

Well, the books have to come down so we can paint. They will not be going back up. That’s part of clearing out the past and making space, not just for our home renovation, but also for new experiences. Of course we will always remember and love Matt. We just don’t need to keep his books.

Our contractor is Erik Rockwood. He’s a young man, a bit older than Matt would be if he were still with us. He works with his dad in the family business. We think he is unusual among contractors as he is very good about emailing us back whenever we have a question or concern. Except he didn’t think to tell me when he got the permit. He got it last Tuesday and didn’t tell me until I asked him about it on Friday. I had already reviewed my drawings with the building inspector and was told that the contractor could probably come in with the stamped drawings and get a permit “over the counter”, i.e. no extended review period. I passed that information on to Erik, so he likely thought there was little to be concerned about. Truth is, I was pretty confident. I was also anxious because things can go awry. It’s good to have the permit in hand.

As you can see, we’ve started packing.

We started moving furniture this weekend. Craig, Meg, and I moved a couple rugs, half our sectional couch (all there is room for in the apartment), a table, and chairs. We’ve scheduled the big move for Tuesday, April 16. We also have reserved a storage unit in a local self-storage facility and a U-Haul truck.

It is all coming together. One big piece that’s not quite settled- we don’t have a signed contract with our builder. We’ve spent a lot of time adjusting the scope of work, the schedule, and the pricing. We should have that wrapped up this coming week.

2 thoughts on “Clearing Space

  1. Sorting to clear space is incredibly time consuming and wrought with emotion. Decisions are tough. One hint I received in down-sizing for our big move was to consider photographing some of the things I was attached to emotionally and then letting them go. In the end I didn’t do it, but I thought I’d pass the idea along. I chuckled about category b, things that might be useful in the future. We’ve had lots of those, and still do in Maine. We don’t always remember that we have them or know where they are when they could be used. So far, we’ve mostly avoided that category in our new place. Wishing you all the best.

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  2. The opportunity to feel lighter! Much work and you are a team that is well-oiled. The design of the new kitchen and DR looks so open with a nice flow between spaces. So exciting! Look forward to hearing/reading more about the progress. Much love.

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