Purge Before you Pack

When we moved to Fort Collins six years ago, we put everything we owned into our car and drove 16 hours from California. Since then, we acquired a few more items (including a dog).  We’ve also been throwing out a few more items, mainly in anticipation of the move.

The great thing about moving is purging.  I love throwing things away.  There’s a freedom in empty space.  (I highly encourage everyone to watch the Minimalism documentary on Netflix).

Break up with your stuff

There is so much stuff that we hoard that we don’t use or need and we keep it for what purpose? The only joy we get from it is when we donate it.  It’s time for some spring cleaning.

Things you need to ask yourself when you are going through your items:

  1. Does this item serve a purpose in my life?
  2. Is this item useful and convenient to me? Is it saving me time?
  3. Do I get joy out of this item?
  4. Is this item in good condition? (seriously, how much stuff do we keep that’s broken, ripped, etc?)
  5. Do I have another item that does the same thing?

mathonthemove how to purge before packing

How/What to Toss:

  1.  Start in one room.  Focus on one area of your home and go through that room corner by corner, drawer by drawer.
  2. Pare down your supplies. Do you need 5 sets of scissors, 50 pens? Probably not.
  3. Backup all your music/discs, etc onto an external hard drive.
  4. Donate books to your library (unless they are Harry Potter books. Those can stay).
  5. Check your medicine cabinet and bathroom for expired goods. Toss makeups/hair products, etc. that are expired, unused.
  6. YOUR CLOSET! Oh my goodness, your closet.  So many people look at their closet and then pass out, run away, cry, hide, etc. Project 333 will save your life.  This is what my closet looks like:   you can learn more about my love for Project 333 in my Throw it all Away post (are you seeing a theme here? Because I am!).purge before you pack

When we clean out, we are physically cleaning and donating items to people in need, serving our community and doing good.  But we are also cleaning out and creating space in our homes and lives for other things.  Things like relationships, conversations, peacefulness, contentment with ourselves and a feeling of peace with our situation.  The less things we have the more time we have to spend on things that really matter.


Do you have a hard time cleaning or getting rid of things?  What are your tricks for staying organized?

Stressful Schedules in Grad School

I haven’t seen my husband in a month.  He’s been around here and there, but for the most part, we are like separate entities, ships in the night, waving at each other from afar.



grad student schedule mathonthemoveblog

I can practically hear the echo.

Separate Timelines

Let me give you the rundown of a grad student’s schedule:

  • March 13: Spring break starts. “Yay!” you might say.  “NO!!!!” Says the grad student.  This triggers the massive push to complete dissertation.  He has 3 weeks to complete it.

grad student schedule mathonthemoveblog academics

  • March 14: Skype interview
  • March 16-19: Math conference.
  • (And when he returns, he is greeted by family friends visiting from out of state.  Less time for him to get work done, but hopefully he gets to relax a bit.)
  • March 20-24: Colleague from another college is visiting.
  • March 24: Skype interview
  • March 24-27: I am gone for a work conference. 
  • March 28: Skype interview
  • March 29-30:  Math talk at Princeton
  • March 31: Skype interview
  • April 3: Birthday!!!!  He said “I’m too busy, let’s ignore my birthday until after I graduate.”
  • April 4: Skype interview
  • April 6: Turn in dissertation
  • April 6-13: Germany
  • April 14: Skype interview
  • April 16-18: On-campus interview
  • April 18-19: On-campus interview
  • April 20: Defense
  • April 20-24: Friend visits from out of state.

It is Done

Josh officially submitted his dissertation and passed his defense, he has a PhD.  He can graduate.  He is a doctor, just not the useful kind (as I like to joke).

academic grad student schedule stress mathonthemoveblog lotr

What’s Next

We’ve survived a crazy season and we can take a deep breath, but only for a moment.  We just need to gather enough air to swim to the same boat so we can be together, journey on, and decide where we’re going next.  Sometimes I think this is a little bit crazy.

“What are you doing this summer?”


“Oh, where are you going?”

“We don’t know yet.”


We get a lot of looks.  But there’s not a lot we can do about it right now anyway, and it’s not really our decision to make.  Whatever we decide, whatever God decides for us, we will do together,  waving at the passersby as we drive to our new destination.

I don’t have Facebook.

Yes, I am well aware that I don’t have facebook.  It’s not the end of the world.  I figured if you wanted to keep tabs on what we were doing in the world, where we ended up moving, where we were scamping (I’ll cover that in an other post), you’ll have to work for it.

(Insert diatribe on the pitfalls of social media and the timesuck of Facebook and how it’s the death of modern society here.)

Here’s my 3 reasons for creating this blog:

  1.  To provide a resource for postdocs/grad families.
  2.  To give you an insider’s perspective of life in academia (it’s not as thrilling as you might think).
  3. Gives me something to do.

So join me!  Give yourself something to do besides roll your eyes at people on the internet (who knows, that might still happen on here!)  I promise to keep you in the loop and give you an insider’s look.  No paperwork, thesis, or deadlines required.