convictions & table legs & making do

So, funny story.

Yesterday, I was vacuuming the rug underneath our dining room table. As I was vacuuming, I gently lifted the corner of the table and pulled it three or four inches towards me in order to get to the crumbs hidden beside the table leg. Then I pushed it back the other direction, vacuumed again, and put the table back in its original position.

This morning, I was roused out of bed by Jonathan hollering “E!” and the crying of our one-year-old. I ran downstairs, expecting an emergency. I saw that J’s hot tea was spilled on the floor but couldn’t figure out what was actually wrong. He was just sitting at the table, as far as I could tell. (I was kind of dazed and still sleepy.) “What happened?” I began to ask, as J said, “The table leg fell off!” And then I realized he wasn’t picking up our crying child because he was literally holding the table top in place to keep anything else from falling off of it, and the table leg was indeed lying on the floor.

Rewind.

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Yard Sales, Lost Houses, & When Zucchini Bread Is What You’ve Got

My neighbor Ashley and I organized a multi-family yard sale back in April, which took place in my yard, since it’s on a corner and is pretty spacious. Folks from church stopped by, folks we didn’t know stopped by, and our neighbors stopped by. An old man picked through my VHS collection because he thought it was an incredible deal that I was selling 4 for 25 cents each or 10 for $1. (Think about it.) I sold three giant boxes of books for dirt cheap to a woman whose son has a brain disease and reads voraciously all day. I let three shy little daughters of a non-English speaking mom into my house to use the bathroom. I learned that people are more likely to buy furniture–even old, icky furniture that we picked up years ago alongside the road (and blogged about it)–if you put a $3 price on it, rather than Free. For real.

I have been on a less-is-more trajectory for some time now, and it felt good to go through our house and ask honestly whether we needed particular items. The answer to “Could we make due without this?” is nearly always yes, by the way. In fact, sometimes I think I’d be happiest living in one of those 348 square feet apartments from the IKEA showroom.

And then sometimes I don’t.

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Stuff, What I’d Miss, and a Good Rule of Thumb

[It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here at Texas Schmexas, but in case you’ve forgotten what this is all about, the first two posts about the whole fifteen-hundred-pounds thing are here and here.]

So, fifteen-hundred pounds.

Let’s just say that it’s not very much. Instead of focusing in on just how much, let’s rephrase this in terms of one of those annoying ice-breaker questions you never get asked in real life: If your house were burning down, what would you want to grab before heading out the door?

After making sure your loved ones were safe first, of course.

In other words, what are you attached to? What would you really miss if you didn’t have it any more? What do you consider irreplaceable?

If I were packing only 1500 pounds of stuff, like my brother, or downsizing to live in 450 square feet, like my friend Rebekah, I think I’d try take my favorite cookbooks, my hand-me-down Pyrex bowls, my coffee grinder, and Grandma Wise’s green dishes. I’d be sure to bring my laptop, my Kindle, my vintage seventies leather jacket, and my slippers. I’d probably pack our board games, a hammer and nails, and a drill. Our nativity, probably. And lots of baby stuff that makes my life easier–a Pack&Play, food grinder, lots of footy pajamas. I might even pack the cloth diapers. I’m guessing I’d come up with a host of other seeming must-haves when faced with decision time.

But those aren’t things I’m really attached to–I just like ’em. I’d be kind of sad to have to replace some of them. The jacket. The dishes. The bowls. My More-with-Less with all the hand-written notes in it.

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The First Fifteen-Hundred-Pounds Post

[This is the second post in a series. You 
might want to start with the first one here.]

While exchanging Christmas presents with two lovely gals I’ve known since elementary school, the conversation turned to my brother’s recent move to Saudi Arabia. I told them that Stephen’s fifteen-hundred pounds of personal belongings–the weight allotted to him by the moving company–had recently arrived over there, and he had been transferred into a larger apartment in anticipation of his family’s arrival.

One of my friends was impressed that Stephen and his family were able to cut back so much. “Fifteen hundred pounds is not very much!” she said. “That’s crazy!”

I agreed. It is crazy.

But my other friend chipped in: “I don’t know. Their apartment over there is furnished, isn’t it? Other than clothing, what else do you need? Just clothing wouldn’t weigh fifteen hundred pounds, would it?”

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