Thursday, July 26

Difficult But Liberating

When I was younger I moved a lot. Basically, as a consultant, I would work in a city for a year or so before moving on to the next assignment. I was used to fitting my life into a car and relocating it from one coast to another. One of my favorite anecdotes is the fact that the cast iron frying pan my grandmother had given me fit underneath the seat and in turn could be stuffed with small keepsakes. No inch was left unused.

Now I am moving again, but it has been years since the last time I moved. In fact, the last couple of times I moved it was within the same city so I didn't even have to pick and choose what I could take with me.

So, once again, because this move involves two lives moving into one home, I am reduced to eliminating the bulk of my minor posessions. It's difficult. Here is a bauble I bought while living in California. There is a souvenir from my trip to Australia. Look, a favorite sci-fi novel that I'd love to read again if I could. Chess peices and old record albums that my grandfather used to listen to.

Of course I'll find space for the special momentos, but there are so many other little things that are part of my life that won't make it. Clothes I don't wear very often or at all. Gifts I've never used. Kitchen items that aren't needed very often. Out of date career related text books. Furniture that won't fit. Decorative items. Collected notes, papers, magazines and records that don't have to be kept. Unused sporting goods.

Luckily, I have been through this before. I can only imagine what it is like for someone who has never had to deal with this type of issue to suddenly suffer a natural disaster like a flood. At least I can safeguard photos or other momentos and make sure they remain with me. Paring off a significant portion of your belongings is loss enough, but to have the choice be arbitrary would be a disaster.

On the plus side is the fact that after doing this you are liberated. You are freed from the memories that objects invoke. There is nothing wrong with the fact that items collect meaning, but when you clean out the clutter, removing the prompts that keep you thinking the same thoughts and memories, it frees your mind. You can look at the things around you with fresh eyes and see the world for the first time.

Okay, I've spent enough time writing this, I need to get to work sifting my belongings into treasured items that I can't part with and those items that have insinuated themselves into my life but that don't deserve any emotional attachment I may have for them.

Out with the unused computer games, unused spare pillows, organizers and shelves that have collected items that don't need to be kept. Out with the dishes that languish at the bottom of the cupboard. Out with the pots and pans that haven't seen the light of day in three years. Out with the microwave that caught fire and looks like it survived a war. Out with paperbacks I've already read two or three times. Out, out, out.

It's time to begin anew!

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Anonymous said...

Good luck. IF you cannot sell them at a garage sale you can still get a tax break. Donate them to Salvation Army or Goodwill and ask for a tax reciept. You can then deduct them from your taxes the money that you would have earned at a garage sale or planned to earn. You can do this if you do not take the standard deduction on your tax form. They will sell it and everyone wins including you!! Good luck on your MOVE!!! Annette

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I sound bossy, I am just saying if you want to donate it is a good way to lower your taxes and make money that way by supporting a good cause. Annette

Frugal Guy said...

Hey Annette, no worries, that sounds like good advice to me! Thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Sure and good luck to you may all of your dreams come true!!!Annette