Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New House, New Habits

Within a couple weeks, we'll be moving into a new house. The mere thought of that is truly mindboggling right now. Yes, I've done a lot of packing, so the reality should be setting in. But we still have a long way to go, including at least a couple days of pure hell to get through before we're in and settled and can begin to enjoy the good side of this craziness. I've actually been likening this experience to pregnancy lately, where you have an approaching, momentously life-changing experience coming up at a generally pre-determined date (and much like pregnancy, we still don't know our exact date yet). There's a lot of preparation and stress, and the climax of it all involves a day or two of absolute torture. Beyond that there's a lot of hard work, but eventually you settle in and can enjoy the fruits of your labor. And while I do look forward to doing the baby thing again someday, right now moving into a house is the much preferred of the two. I find it hard to say that, because I know how torturous moving has been in the past. Of course, those were smaller moves that didn't involve an abundance of baby stuff or extra details like movers. By the end of each of the four moves in my adult life--into my first apartment, into my second apartment a year later, into my third apartment two years later (post-wedding), and then into our house two years after that (4-1/2 years ago)--I know that I was at my limit, where I just couldn't bear one more trip back into the old place and was practically in tears trying to do the final scrub-down. By then you just want it over. And I'm sure this one will be no exception. Buying a house is so much more stressful than renting an apartment (though no security deposit to lose if your house isn't spotless when you leave!), and the bigger they get, the worse it is--more money, more stuff, more stress. Still, I'm really looking forward to it, for all of the reasons I've mentioned in previous posts.

Among the things I'm looking forward to is the ability to start fresh and get in some new, good habits. I may have touched on this previously, but it's really been on my mind a lot lately. I know that I've gotten in some ruts at our current house. I'm not sure if it's because of laziness, or necessity, or maybe just never realizing that a temporary solution was a bad one. I just know that the way I do certain things doesn't seem to be the most efficient, and I'm just to settled here to change my ways without a lot of effort. I feel like this move will be a great opportunity to improve. As a mom I need to find the most efficient, effective ways to do things, and all of this "figure it out as we go" stuff hasn't helped that cause. But in a new house, perhaps I'll get a fresh perspective and figure out how to do things differently.

I know that we didn't use our current house's space as efficiently as we probably should have. We had our fantastic basement bar with a big room for entertaining, but because it was so far from the rest of the house--yes, just down a flight of stairs, but it takes a good yell to be heard-- we probably didn't use it as much as we should. Heck, we really wanted that second bathroom for times when we both had to go, but in the end I really hated going down to use it because that bathroom tended to be teeming with little critters...and because we didn't use it that much, the motivation to clean it was low. I'm hoping that the setup of our new house will allow us to use all of our space better. You can see all three floors from the living room, so I hope nothing feels too far away to be useful. And hopefully since our basement is only partially underground, it won't be quite as cold or critter-filled.

Even household tasks can use some improvement. For example, for some reason I never got in the habit of using a laundry basket. To be fair, Craig does most of the laundry (he needs it more often), but since I've been doing Jacob's laundry every week since he was born, I've just always done what Craig does, and what we did in our apartment--load finished laundry back into our laundry bags and haul it back upstairs. Once we're in the new house, I want to get in the habit of using a basket instead. It's not that I can't do it now, of course, but why bother revamping now when I can just start fresh there?

As a whole I just feel like a new house is an opportunity to look around at each thing you own and say, "Ok, in a perfect world, where would the ideal spot be for this item?" I'm hoping that a new kitchen and different storage opportunities will help me use things more efficiently and save some time. Perhaps I can store certain things more conveniently in my new kitchen and therefore be more likely to use them. Having a large entry closet and linen closet will be nice as well, because those present opportunities I don't have now. A few days back I posted about reorganizing Jacob's closet. One of the things that's stored in a hanging organizer in there are his bath towels. I suppose it made sense back in the day, since there was no room in our current linen closet and all the baby stuff was in his room anyway. But now I'm thinking I'd rather use that space for other things and put his towels in the linen closet with all of our other towels. Little changes, but they can make a world of difference.

As I've been going through things to pack, I've noticed a handful of things in spots that just aren't that logical or that have ended up in a place where I'm less likely to use them. I assume they got there because at the time I didn't know where else to put them or didn't have room to put them where I wanted to. And of course, over time you forget they're there or don't want to make the effort to relocate them. You get used to where they are, use them when you have to, and just deal with where they happen to be at that point...and in our busy lives, never take the time to think it through and find a better way. And I hope this move gives us the opportunity to do that. Of course there's always the chance that we'll get there and be so desperate to get our lives out of this limbo phase that we'll be stashing things wherever we can. However, I'm taking at least a couple days off once we move to have some uninterrupted unpacking time. Jacob will be at daycare and I'll have the time (and hopefully the sanity) to just take my time and put things where they belong. I really want to think things through and not just put things back where they were before. It's a lot to think about but I think all of the effort will be worth it if it gives us a more organized, efficient house.

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