We are a family of five, living in a four bedroom house, with an attic and a basement and we are moving.
Three weeks ago we ordered a dumpster, in an effort to purge before packing, knowing full well that we had stuff to get rid of that could neither be donated nor sold. We filled it – to the top. Now granted we had a little help from some eager neighbors who saw this as a prime opportunity to purge a few items themselves (they asked, we told them “go for it”) but 90% of that dumpster was all us and the stuff we had accumulated over the years. Now I knew we owned a lot, but I was honestly taken aback at the actually amount of stuff we’d squirreled away. Our cathartic purge was also coupled with multiple multiple donations of items to charities that could be reused (i.e. baby clothes, kids clothes, toys, household items, etc.). Still, it was eye opening to see just how much stuff we had, that was literally just taking up space. Of course these were those items that “I just might need again one day.” However, looking at all the items I’d both junked and set aside for donation, I couldn’t help but feel both guilty and disgusted with myself. I felt guilty that I had hung onto so much stuff over the years that could potentially have been used by others, but was instead just sitting around collecting dust; and disgusted with myself that it took moving for me to be able to part with things. It was a very eye-opening and humbling moment for me.
The dumpster got hauled away almost two weeks ago and I am still purging and donating as I pack. I am currently operating under the guise that if I haven’t used it in the last 6 months then it’s time to part with it; and if I haven’t worn it in the last 6 months I probably won’t ever wear it again. I am also trying to impart on my kids that when you outgrown stuff it’s okay to pass it on to someone else so as to minimize emotional attachments to irrelevant items. I don’t want them to feel as if they can’t part with things and I feel it’s important for them to give to those who haven’t been as fortunate as they have. Granted certain items will have sentimental value and that’s a different story, but in general they need to be able to let go of stuff that they no longer need or use. Even with this mantra I am still amazed at the amount of stuff I have packed and overwhelmed by the stuff that still needs to be packed. We move in just about a month and I still have a long way to go – and that’s a story for another time…..