Moving On: Separating Needs from Wants

2 Oct

Relocation has started. DSC01610 Or at least the things that need to be completed prior to moving have started. My sister and I made an offer on a house. Offer accepted after some back and to. OK. House inspection revealed radon. Several days of freaking, trying to decide to continue or NOT. Then a settling down, gathering of information, discussing radon mitigation with “experts.” So OK. Moving forward. It can be corrected. In fact, we discover, over 70% of homes in these mountains have some level of radon. I don’t like it, but it will be corrected. And then, I think, people have been living here for a long time–long before radon was ever tested. Living here. That’s the operative word. Living. Here.

We’re in a due diligence period. Another week before it expires. And what DD means is that at any time for any reason, we can back out of the offer to purchase contract. Until October 10th. The house under contract is nothing like I would ever have imagined moving into. It’s brick. I call it a rancher, but in fact that’s incorrect. It’s mid-century modern I’m informed. Hmmmm. A just ever so subtle hint of Frank Lloyd Wright-ism. Ever so slight. It’s open. Rooms flow into and out of each other. It’s located on a secluded street-of-sorts with only 2 other houses. In the woods, after a fashion. And it has lots of big drafty old aluminum windows. Windows that will be need to be replaced.

So during this due diligence period, we’re pricing windows. Pricing other things as well. Trying to make good choices and decisions. Keeping wants at bay. It’s not about that–not about wants. More about needs. Which brings up the more interesting part of this process. Determining essential needs.

I raise this question because I literally have tons of books. Well, maybe a ton of books. And I’ve schlepped them around for 40 years. Many of them I’ve never opened again in all that time. So why am I doing this? Boxes of books are heavy, and although this will be the first move ever where I’ve hired someone to move me, I’m still packing stuff. And I find that once things are in boxes, I hardly remember the contents. Could easily take everything in boxes to Habitat for Humanities Retail Store. Could easily never see any of this stuff again, and be really ok.

Books. Books AND artifacts. Pieces of memory bound up in material form. Do I need these things? I don’t think so. And that raises the question of just what it is really that I do need. The answer is surprising me. I need my scraps of cloth. I need a bowl. And a spoon. I need a coffee mug and a blanket. And of course, I need a coat and sweater. But multiples? Many multiples of each? Several coats? Many sweaters? When did this accumulation begin? When and more importantly, Why? I study pictures of refugees fleeing Syria, fleeing their homes. Fleeing with only what they can carry on their backs. And studying these pictures, I think, something is really out of balance here. That I have to rent a truck, probably a big truck, to transport my stuff down the road.

What if I just took what I could carry?  Thinking about this

And the kaleidoscope images, converted to pictures, affixed to unbleached 5 x 7 card blanks. For sale. $4. They will be in two spots in town and available here as well.




And underneath everything, the moving cloth is evolving. Holding me. Grounding. Leading.


There it is. Interestingly resting on top of this week’s Mountain Express. On its own.

18 Responses to “Moving On: Separating Needs from Wants”

  1. Liz October 2, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    Downsizing stuff is a wonderful feeling …
    And I absolutely love the “Art gone wild”


    • Patricia October 3, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      it is. and this is the second down size in 3 years. first, when i moved here from the farm in WV–moved and reduced a lot–and now this second time. i’m realizing how good it is to have visual clarity. but especially how good it feels to give stuff away to people who need and/or want it. that’s probably the best. thanks, Liz.


  2. nanacathy2 October 2, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Good luck with your move. You are so right well have far too much stuff.


    • Patricia October 3, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      hi there. thank you! i’ll probably move more than i can carry on my back, but i’m reducing the load. big time.


  3. Mo Crow October 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    you & your sister will make it such a beautiful space Patricia! Moving is always a good time for sorting out what you want &/or need to keep, I love how the process brings everything out & into the light


    • Patricia October 3, 2014 at 8:30 am #

      that’s the truth…”process brings everything out & into the light.” and so now i’m contacting friends. just gifted my mother’s sewing machine and cabinet to a dirt deva who had mentioned wanting to learn to sew. somehow i got down here with 3 machines. really?

      and lots of other stuff. pictures, a hoover cabinet, chairs. all going to people who NEED what i only wanted. need. yes. identifying that.


  4. grace October 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Art gone wild. the Moving cloth…on it’s Own. VERY interesting to me the co-Incidence.

    “Living…that’s the operative word” …. “things” won’t be perfect, just as your most recent
    living was also not “perfect”, but you lived and lived well…as you will live in the Frank Lloyd
    ish place and live well. love that…a hint of Frank Lloyd Wright…nice.
    i guess the question might be ….Does the new place accomplish the reasons for this
    whole thing? To combine your lives and allow both of you a kind of spaciousness of being?

    and freeing of the Multiples might leave enough space to keep some of the one of a kinds.

    i love all this.
    the cards are GRAND


    • Patricia October 3, 2014 at 8:36 am #

      first, i blush at the frank lloyd reference. it takes a lot of stretching to make that association. and then the “perfect” piece. i’m moving into a space where i’m seeing that what happens and what comes my way, and how i react to all of that, may not be what i would WANT to call perfect, but probably is, in fact, perfect. these lessons. these opportunities to see the holes in my bucket.

      this–this more– is all what needs to happen. right now i only have an inkling of that–that i need this for whatever reason but i’m certain it will become clearer with time.

      and i love that thought–the “spaciousness of being.” seems it’s accessible anywhere, anytime. depending upon ….?

      love to you–big love


  5. Marti October 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Your first night in your new home, that first deep breath, the first candle lit, the first meal, the first grandson sleepover, the first seeds planted: a new beginning or maybe just an ongoing clearing and clarity. Blessings to you and all who will dwell with you in your new home.


    • Patricia October 3, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      we’re probably about a month out from the first lit candle on cranesway. don’t you love that street name? so many firsts awaiting us. first, had to sell this house. done. first, well, the list goes on and one but they’re happening. i REALLY appreciate your blessings. deeply appreciate your blessings. and sending them back your way. much love Marti.


  6. Dana October 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Patricia, I can’t believe I haven’t clicked through to your blog before this! I love your writing and the things that occupy your mind are really important to me too. Yay. A find.
    Moving is such a crucible. All kinds of stuff gets separated out. I recently moved and struggled mightily with my collection of books. They are a security blanket for me and an expression of self, but golly, what a load. I got rid of many, some of which I now regret, but most of which were unnecessary. And, as you say so well, discerning what is really necessary in your life (and why) is the crux of the problem. I know you will curate your possessions mindfully in time and I wish you and your sister (how lovely that you are so close) a home together that molds itself to your needs, your hopes and your spirit. Bienvenu.


    • grace October 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

      see? Dana????her you are. Just earlier you were over at your studio,
      but now, we are Here.
      how good is THAT?????? like, Really


      • Patricia October 6, 2014 at 6:21 am #

        love you Grace


      • Dana October 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

        You’re right Grace. This is curiously wonderful.


    • Patricia October 6, 2014 at 6:21 am #

      Dana! welcome here. welcome. love how you’ve framed the moving experience–“a crucible.” and the idea of things being culled. i’m in major culling-out mode right now. major–even finding that i need to stop myself. slow down. but there’s the sense of wanting to pare down to just the absolute basic items. still thinking–just a spoon and a bowl to hold needle and cloth.

      so glad you’re here to share your own insights.


      • Dana October 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

        Your urge to return to essentials is probably the right course for you now and this is the perfect time to let go. I think your spiritual resonance criteria is excellent.


  7. deemallon October 5, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    Cranesway is lovely! Best of luck and discernment as you pack/unpack begin again in a new space… I have used the four pile method for awhile and find it works: Keep, Give away, Throw Away, Undecided. And I share your ambivalence about books. Just today thinking: need to pack some up and stow them in the attic. But why? Why stow them?


    • Patricia October 6, 2014 at 6:26 am #

      hi Dee. loved your Charleston posts.

      here’s my current method– perhaps it’s too strident, but it seems to be working:

      does it have deep, resonating,spiritual import? if not–it’s gone. amazing how quickly things are flying out of here!


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