There are boxes in Janelle’s empty bedroom. There are boxes and random belongings strewn accross her guest bedroom. There are doodads in her bathroom that need sorting. There is a “to donate” pile in the living room. And there is a “to sell” stack in the garage. I have two more days to widdle down my belongings and I am already crying about it.
“Good grief” is right.
I am crying because in a 15 day period I have packed up and moved my belongings to storage, quit my job, trained my replacement at work, donated/sold/thrown away/burned half of my stuff, applied for and procurred a job in a different state, said “Goodbye” to some incredible people (and some great places), stuffed the remaining belongings into my 2009 Honda Accord (aka The Blueberry) and I am about to drive 400+ miles.
And I am done. So. Incredibly. Done.
I was ballin’ at my “Purge Party” last Saturday. I was getting rid of crap left and right. I took things to consignement. I sold stuff to friends. I hauled books and magazines to Half-Priced Books. It had to go and it had to go fast. That was all there was to it.
But at the same time it was a sad situation. I was brimming over with tears. Any person who has chosen to live a minimalist lifestyle will tell you that getting rid of stuff is only a very very small part of the equation. Stuff comes into our lives for a reason whether it’s a shirt, a text message, or a relationship. And all that “stuff” comes with memories and history and baggage. I admit it. I had to resist the urge to drive to Goodwill to buy back all my stuff. And the only explanation I can give is that by giving it up my stuff I am saying that I am okay with the massive changes happening in my life. And I’m not okay with them. Take it from someone who knows: Getting rid of things is painful and getting rid of things without addressing the heart issue is pointless.
Two days later and the remaining belongings are spread out on a blanket in Janelle’s driveway. It’s late evening Friday, April 14th after working my last day at the office and I’m pacing around the driveway on the verge of a (small? Large.) meltdown. We had successfully gotten all of the boxes and items into my car and then… we discovered that we had miss one…two…three? ARRRRRRGH.
It was then that I realized that there are TWO stages to managing stuff in your life (and this applies to socks, boogers, books, tape rolls, relationships, emails, apps, dog hairs, and eyeliner pens).
First: Decide what stuff you WANT in your life and what stuff you DO NOT WANT in your life.
It seems like one should stop there, right?
But it was in that moment when I was pacing around Janelle’s driveway with my palm pressed to my forehead that I realized there is yet another step that must take place in stuff management.
Then: Decide HOW MUCH stuff you want in your life.
As I paced around and around The Blueberry (my Honda) I knew all too well that what would not fit simply would not fit. There would be no trailer on the back. No turtle on the top. If it fits then it ships. No more and no less.
So to all stuff owners (minimalists or non) first decide what you want in your life and THEN decide how much. And don’t judge if so-and-so decides they can only handle two pairs of pants or what’s-her-name who tolerates 100 books or John Doe who houses only a couch and a TV in his living room. They have all decided for themselves HOW MUCH their lives can hold.
In other news, my adventurous brother accepted a job in Hawaii last week and flew out with only a small suitcase and a carry-on. Ah, traveling light.
It’s Fri-yay, y’all. Enjoy it!