The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Starting the sorting process

Barn cleanout

When I first learned that Mayans traditionally burned down all their houses and started fresh every 52 years, it sounded crazy. But after eleven years on our farm...I can see the point. Since we're only able to drive across our floodplain a few times a year, we tend to prioritize mechanized hauling to bring in heavy items and bring out household garbage. Which means our barn is full of useful items that are nonetheless no longer useful to us.

After some thought, Mark and I have resolved to leave most of it behind...which feels astonishingly freeing. Still, we'll bring down resale value if we ignore the clutter entirely. So we'll be spending the next few weeks sorting. A burn pile outside for flammables that are unlikely to help anybody, an area of probably-unuseful-but-we-don't-have-a-way-to-haul-it-out stuff, a more neatly stacked zone of farm friendly items, a shelf of light but high-dollar goods that are worth selling before we go, borrowed items to return, and finally the stuff we actually intend to bring with us.

After two hours of sorting, we made it through about 10% of the barn. The only thing I'll be keeping out of that area is business receipts for tax purposes, while Mark is starting to compile the most useful hardware and tools as his contribution. It looks like we'll really be able to slim down enough to make the move! (I wasn't so sure....)

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Maybe the new farm owner can keep some of the useful farm stuff? I bet you already thought of that though?

I love what you say about the Mayans. Didn't know that one.

Comment by Maggie Wed Jul 5 08:40:12 2017
Do you remember when you got out of college and you had no real possessions to clutter up your life? Now you're trying to figure out where all this stuff came from! Welcome to adulthood! :)
Comment by Nayan Wed Jul 5 11:35:29 2017
If left unchecked, stuff expands to fill all available space.
Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jul 5 16:23:07 2017
Interesting that you mention leaving useful items behind. When I bought my place a few years ago the house and all the outbuildings were full, I mean FULL--of all the previous owners' junk. But I really couldn't complain, because in with the junk were so many useful items, from furniture to a good wheelbarrow, farm tools--you name it--things I didn't even know I needed. Now I don't know how I would have managed without some of this stuff!
Comment by Jennifer Quinn Sun Jul 16 15:28:45 2017

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