You don’t realise how much you own until you have to pack it all into a van.
I’ve been “minimising” for a few months now. I can’t even say how it began but once I started listening to The Minimalists podcasts I was away. Bags and bags of stuff I no longer needed (and probably never needed) to the charity shop or the tip.
Yet despite my work to rid myself of cupboards of clutter (I thought I’d done pretty well) I wasn’t prepared for just how much stuff we still owned. I’d like to think that we own far less than average, and certainly this house move felt much easier and smoother than our previous move. But I found myself becoming frustrated with every additional box packed.
So much stuff.
And yet most of it really was things that we need, or that serves a purpose and yet cannot be said to be items that we love (I don’t believe even Marie Kondo can argue extension leads spark joy). Once the main bulk of stuff was packed we still had lots left and that’s where the real hard work began. Trying to figure out what we actually need and what is just surplus that doesn’t need to come with us. In truth it took several days, more trips to the charity shop and the tip and a lot of decisions to work through what remained.
And now on the other side I find myself taking a fresh look at items as I unpack them. Some simply don’t work in the new house, some things I got rid of that I wish I’d kept (over door hooks) and some things I know I should part with but I’m just not ready to yet.
It’s been a good lesson in how far I’ve come down this minimalist road. Here’s some thoughts:
1. Moving is hard work – OK so some minimalists live out of a suitcase and find moving from place to place a breeze but for those of us who are less nomadic moving is hard work even with less stuff.
2. You will reach a point where you’re surrounded by stuff you don’t know what to do with – I found the hardest stuff to work through were the items that serve a purpose but otherwise have no emotional hold – coat hangers, extension leads, cleaning equipment. Things that we need but don’t want. The fact is most households run on a baseline amount of stuff and whilst you might not want these things you probably do need them.
3. Moving is a great opportunity to declutter – yes I know that’s obvious but thinking “do I want to put time energy and money into moving this thing” really focuses the mind. I found it much easier to let go when I looked at items through this lens.
4. Don’t be overzealous in throwing things away – a hard one when you just want to be packed but think though what you might need in your new space. That doesn’t mean hold on to everything but if there is something that serves a purpose that your not sure about it may be worth moving it then working out if you need it in your new space.
5. Ditch the guilt – a lot of the stuff I got rid of went to the tip and I felt really guilty about adding to landfill but I also see it as an important lesson to be more conscious in future about what I allow into my home so that I can be less wasteful.
Above all be kind to yourself – moving is hard work after all!