how to have a dunging-out date

*Decide to leave the country for nine months.
*Wait until the last minute, like a couple weeks before you move out. This way procrastination is not an option.
*Get child care for an entire weekend—three nights and two days, bam. You don’t need little people indulging in full-blown meltdowns over every broken shoe, bent thumb tack, and torn-up book that gets tossed.

*Stay focused and work together. When your wife crumbles to the sofa in despair, pull her off it. When your husband gets too snarky, make him eggs.
*Be brutal. GET. RID. OF. EVERYTHING. When in doubt over whether or not to toss a map, manual, or book, yell, I can find this information on line! Or, Guess what, dodo brain? I can buy another one later! If you can’t bear to part with a box of drink umbrellas that you bought in Chinatown, pack it up and shove it into the attic. (But you should probably just get rid of them. If you ever find yourself in dire need of umbrellas for the fancy alcoholic drinks you don’t make, remember, there’s this thing called…AMAZON!)

*Trash the house. Empty drawers, closets, and cupboards. The messier the house gets, the more effective you are.
*Constantly berate yourself for any packrat tendencies. For example, “I can’t believe I let this broken piece of crap exist in my house!” Or, “Why in the world did I ever buy this crap?” It is important to use the word “crap” (or something similar, ehem) to the point of excess.
*Yell a lot. This is a great way to maintain momentum. War whoops are required. High fives are good.

*Burn, baby, burn! Turn that 30-gallon trashcan of papers to ashes. There is no going back, wheee!
*Reserve the evenings for pizza, Bailey’s-spiked hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, and obscene amounts of Netflix.
*Exhale. Admire all the empty. Notice how light you feel. (You may need to tie concrete blocks around your ankles to keep from floating away.)

This same time, years previous: chocolate-dipped candied orange rinds, walnut balls


  • KTdid

    Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh…this makes me weak in the knees and crazy in the head! After never moving and using the "shove it into the attic" trick for over thirty years, I can't tell you how I long for your kind of courage!

  • Anonymous

    Apparently you never tied yourself down because I see you way up there in the sky, floating so high!

    It would feel good to know that you'll get to enjoy the emptiness for the next few weeks and that for at least the next nine months none of the clutter will work it's way back into your home. I am inspired! I want to be so light I float! Vicki

  • Anonymous

    Why exactly do you have to clean your entire house when you are leaving it? The crap isn't going to reproduce while you are away. Just curious.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Another family is moving in. They will be using our furniture, but we need to clear out closets, desks, cupboards, and drawers so they can put their stuff in them.

      I'm not complaining—it's truly an ideal situation. Can you imagine what it'd be like if we had to put all our furniture in storage, too?!

  • Ellies Wonder

    Andy and I are moving to a 400 square foot apartment in California on Saturday. We had already packed everything, but since getting this super tiny apartment we have decided we need to get rid of more. I totally understand what you are going through. It feels great to purge! 🙂 Looks like you guys are making great progress too.

  • the domestic fringe

    I don't envy you. That's exactly why I hate moving. I much rather allow my crap to exist in peace than to sort, toss, and put away. Best wishes to you. I hope the Netflix helped.

  • Valerie

    My husband and I are also getting ready to leave for a longer-term service assignment abroad. I think I will make him (the pack-rat between us) read this post for some…shall we say…inspiration? (The fire idea may perk up his ears.)

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