While I was pregnant with Caroline, Collin and I found out that we had to move; the owners of the house we had been renting wanted to sell. Even though the thought of rental hunting at eight months pregnant made me a nervous wreck, it would end up being a cosmic blessing.
Let’s just say that our landlords had not really been interested in being landlords, so to be free of them was a great relief. We also ended up finding a place for a lower monthly rent and in the most perfect location near my older kids’ schools.
The new home was A LOT smaller, though, so it would really force us to start paring down. At the time, I was reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up at the suggestion of a few friends.
The book’s philosophy on decluttering helped us go from shelves upon shelves of books to just the essentials (You’re welcome The Last Bookstore). We figured that if we REALLY wanted to read one of our books again, we could check it out of the library. (Did you know they still have those?!)
We also cut our vinyl record collection down from maybe a thousand to just one hundred (You’re welcome The Record Parlour.) Instead of focusing on having massive collections, we shifted the focus to those items that brought us the most joy to listen to or read.
At first, we started getting rid of stuff out of necessity. We were losing a couple hundred square feet (an entire bedroom) AND welcoming a new baby (and all the accompanying gear). How could we make such a small space as functional as possible? We had to get creative, or at least get on Pinterest, amirite?
I was a pinning fool! I created a board called “Small Spaces” to get some inspiration for our new cozy little sardine tin. I even called on my amazing interior designer friend, Christine, for some tips and tricks of the trade.
In the end, I think we did a pretty good job of keeping only multiuse pieces. For example, our big IKEA Kallax shelves served as storage and a partition between the living room and a makeshift office. The sofa had a pull-out bed and the ottoman had built-in storage and tops flipped over into trays for food and drinks.
By this point, we were ready! We were settled into our new home and let the baby know that she could come at ANY time. Of course, she preferred to be fashionably late, arriving a cool four days after her due date.
No big deal, though. I contracted awake around 3ish a.m., got to the hospital around 3:20ish a.m., told the nurse we weren’t messing around at about 4-something-ish a.m., she told me to wait, I said “NOPE,” they grabbed some guy in a white coat from the hallway, and Caroline came barreling out into his arms at 5:10 a.m. It’s a tale as old as time.
From the moment your baby enters the world, time stops. Right? Or maybe it’s more like a zero gravity situation, where you can’t quite gain a footing, everything is up in the air, and you don’t know what’s going on or if you’ll ever feel normal again.
The days following Caroline’s birth were a blur. Okay, I’ll be real with you. The WEEKS following her birth were a mess. It was an agonizing, painful, emotional, isolating, and vulnerable time for me.
It hurt to walk. I was exhausted. I was emotionally drained. I felt like a breastfeeding failure. My anxiety was through the roof. I let unopened emails collect in the hundreds. I barely left the house.
The only thing that got me through those first few months (in addition to my beautiful new baby, amazing husband, helpful children, and supportive family and friends) was TV.
In order to stay awake at night through feeding sessions and fill my reclusive days, I’d binge-watch shows and marathon movies. I got through every episode of Friends, breezed through Millionaire Matchmaker, Top Chef, and Project Runway, and streamed random indie movies and documentaries.
One afternoon I settled in for a viewing of “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.” It sounded vaguely interesting and I was already in a minimizing state of mind, thanks to Marie, so I went for it.
This little film would end up having such a profound influence on, not only, the way I viewed things and spaces, but also relationships with people and time. It would be the catalyst for a major energetic shift in my life.
To be continued…