Moving is a great opportunity to shed and start fresh. It’s also one of the most stressful things a human can endeavor. It’s physical, mental, emotional and psychological. Not to mention costly. I decided in my recent move that everything, including my furniture, was going to fit into one small U-haul truck. And- that I’m not going to move again- ever. Well, for at least a year.
Then began a major purge. My, how we accumulate – and I barely shop! I’m like a magnet; people love to give me stuff. And I enjoy going to clothing swaps, where I sometimes leave with more than what I came with. Hence, 365 days later, I’ve got more than I actually need. I’m not hiring movers- I’m doing this myself, with a little help from my friends, which ultimately helps me be more relentless when deciding what to take with me.
Little by little, category by category, I begin to shed. It is the year of the snake after all, very appropriate. I start with books; they are the heaviest. I have not touched the giant dictionary or thesaurus so they are the first to go. I scan my library and sense that only 10% are ones that I actually love, reference, or really will read one day. The rest were cute gifts or ambitious illusions. There’s only so much time in a day and I don’t read that much anymore. Plus there’s always the library or kindle.
I move onto clothes. If I haven’t worn it in the last year, am I really going to wear it now? My “project” bin of clothes to repair (and never did) is the first to go. Then, I think about my style today. Given it changes daily; I don’t dress as hippie as I used to. Honoring that shift, I let go of the long skirts and dresses that no longer represent me. I release the clothes too that aren’t as comfortable or don’t fit as well. And if I own two similar pieces, I only keep the favorite one. I do the same with jewelry and accessories.
When it comes time for the kitchen, I keep in mind that I’m going from living solo to living with housemates. There will already be dishes and such there. So again, I keep my favorites and most valuable pieces and let the rest go. I figure once I move into the kitchen I can release even more as well, depending on what they have. As for furniture, I keep only my heirloom secretary desk that was grandma’s, a couple lamps and favorites; and decided it was time for a new bed and desk. I’m only moving into a bedroom, not a whole house.
I practice these methods throughout my home with all categories over the next few weeks, sometimes taking 10 minutes, other times when I have it, a few hours. Then I have a yard sale and make about $100, selling mostly small items. I post for sale on Craigslist a handful of the most valuable things (computer, music gear) that didn’t sell and place the remains on the curb for the taking.
By the time I’m done purging, I’ve reduced my belongings by at least half! We get everything into the U-haul. Well, if I’m being completely honest, I take a couple more trips with my car. Upon move in, I decide I to get rid of at least 25% more, acknowledging that accumulation and practicing the revolving door strategy (see previous blog) is a lifelong process. As things come in, things must go out. Unless I have a mansion or want to open a museum. And even then!
This type of moving strategy, which touches upon aspects of minimalism, invites us to remain open to releasing fear, doubt, shame or judgement. It asks that we get very honest with ourselves, while still having room to dream. It means having an abundant mindset, trusting that as things go, things will return. It helps to remember that we each enter this world free of stuff- and leave the same way. It’s only while we’re here on earth that we attach to objects and find our identity in them. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. But if it becomes unmanageable- or it’s time to move- you might think thrice! Take it from me. The moving queen.