Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My story of stuff

We're selling our condo. Which means we've spent the past three weeks decluttering, just like the folks at HGTV suggest. They have a point...when I start to think of this as someone else's future home, it just seems rude to leave my junk all over the place.

I'll tell you--nothing makes you realize your hidden pack-rat tendencies like preparing for a move. For example, I have suits I haven't worn in more than a decade. I don't want to wear them again--they were uncomfortable back then; I can only imagine what a day in them would be like now. But I save them because--say it with me!--What if I need them someday???

We have a blender, but we don't blend; a Pampered Chef gadget designed to stomp on veggies and cut them up, but our knives work just as well and are easier to clean; a pile of plastic plates and cups (who even knows where they came from?), but in the rare instance where I manage to cook something other folks might eat, real plates are clearly called for. Don't even get me started on the abandoned electronics that might work again someday, or the 72,496 plastic hangers I keep crammed into a bag in the basement.

My friend Opera Girl just moved. She told me, as we packed up her stuff, that she never realizes what she doesn't need until she moves into a new place--that her Goodwill drop is always after the move, rather than before. I can see her point. Who's to say I won't learn to love a blended smoothie in a plastic cup, as I suit up everyday to I craft brilliant prose on that electric typewriter? Stranger things have happened...

...but not that often.

Help me! What are your secrets for sorting, moving, and/or dealing with stuff?

14 comments:

JenKneeBee said...

I'm ruthless when I move. Anything that I haven't used in the last 6 months goes by the wayside because I can't stand the thought of packing and unpacking all that stuff. I can't even have friends over because they get all crazy about the stuff I'm getting rid of, but I'm not sure I'd recommend my style to most people.

~Virginia~ said...

moving is such a pain. but an excellent time to declutter. i end up pitching loads of stuff--like jenkneebee said "ruthless". you have to be or you just end up lugging junk from one place to another. good luck!

Stella said...

Yikes! Don't envy you that task, but I agree that "ruthless" is good. Rid yourself of the "stuff" that's no longer relevant and just taking up space. Lugging it from place to place like so much excess baggage can weigh you down ... remember Marley's Ghost from A Christmas Carol (chains and shackles, oh my!). Who wants to go through life like that?!!!

Paige Jennifer said...

Last July, in anticipation of an out of town guest, I cleaned my condo, which included going through my closet. And 'by going through' I mean, trying on multiple items, often at the same time, regardless of said items pairing properly.

I tucked all to-be discarded items in two Hefties and then a few days later, got word the guest wasn't coming. I let the bags sit. And sit, and sit and sit. Last week, I went through them again. For the first time since tying them closed. That's when I realized that I really missed nothing in the bags so I should certainly donate the entire lot. Whodda thunk laziness would be the answer to purging?!?!?

tootie said...

My husband and I are military, and I know firsthand what a pain it is to move. (We moved twice in our first year of marriage!)

I try to donate what we haven't used in the last year or so. And if my husband asks, "What if we need it someday?" I always reply, "We can buy a new one."

Very rarely have I ever had to buy something that I gave away.

Best of luck!!

The Dynamic Uno said...

I think I need to have most of you over when I move this summer! I tend to clean out as I'm tring to pack so that I can make a trip to Goodwill or something like that. I keep the pile of "stuff" by the door so that I can pick it up as I'm walking out-that way I can't "rescue" anything.

Good luck!

I'm also tagging you for this photo meme. Here's a link to the rules:
http://misadventuresofthedynamicuno.blogspot.com/2009/01/photo-tag.html

Sarakastic said...

I also have a bag of hangers in the basement so I'm not the best person to ask.

Liza said...

I would say if you haven't worn the clothes in over 3 years, you should donate them to Goodwill. I try to donate books I've read and don't plan on reading again to the library several times a year. My friends and I are having a huge yard sale this spring, so right now I'm in the process of going thru movies, books and other stuff for the sale.

Heidi said...

i am constantly in declutter mode (adam and i both have pack rat tendencies that we get from our respective parents - my father and his mother)

for clothes - if i haven't worn it in the past year or if it doesn't fit i throw it away (no i will NEVER fit into those size 0 jeans ever again.)

for other stuff - i ask myself have i used it? do i know what it is? generally if one or both answers is no...i ask adam what he thinks. (we usually end up keeping it because of said pack rat tendencies) I SWEAR I'M TRYING TO GET BETTER.

we're looking into moving up to CT in the next year....and omg. I dread the day we have to start packing. *shudder* Good luck with the move!!!

ramblin' girl said...

I too could use to have all of you help me out. I'm pretty sure there's a box that is still sealed up in my basement that made the move here over 9 years ago. Clearly I don't need anything in it. Just haven't gotten around to going through it or simply tossing the whole box, as the pack rat in me is certain there's sometihng important in there.

Swishy said...

I'm the girl who has three closets full of boxes from the move ... clearly not the one to ask :)

Anonymous said...

Really - you're not supposed to keep suits for a decade that you don't use? Nobody ever told me - I bet my suits from end-of-college interviews, complete with shoulder pads and double-breasting could compete with yours!

(Confession - last weekend, I cleared out 7 boxes of papers that I've moved 5 times!!!! You're not alone, my friend!)

Myowne said...

As I commented on Shauna Niequist's blog a couple months ago when she asked this in lieu of her own move, THROW EVERYTHING AWAY. (Well just the stuff you can live with out and can't be hauled off to Goodwill.) MOst of the stuff we keep (ike my mom's old magazines) have no worth to us or anybody else. I am actually moving today to a new house with her and it drives me nuts how much junk she has AND is keeping. You won't believe the amount of eye-rolling she experienced this week as I tried to help her pack.

Holly Kennedy said...

Given my experience with packing, unpacking and decluttering, if I ever move again I think I'll play sick and let the rest of the family deal with the toaster oven we never use, the patty stacker, etc.

(The older I get the more of a minimalist I become)

Good luck at your end!