As I prepare to move to another state and am slowly packing boxes, I am amazed at all the “stuff” I have. My mom put it best when she asked me the other day “You used to be able to pack your life into two suitcases. What happened?” As I stand back and look at my things, I realize that a lot of it holds memories for me – of friends, places visited, things I’ve collected to remind me of ‘that one time’… And some of the items are from my missionary complex of “it’s still good” or “it is/was free” or “it’s not that much out of style” or “it might be useful in the future, etc…
Before I move somewhere I purge my belongings. Coming back to the US, I purge again as I bring some new things with me, and a lot of things are now out of date or have lost their temporary sentimental value. Yet I still feel like I have a lot of “stuff” in my childhood bedroom that holds all that I own. Some people may think that a 33-year-old fitting all her earthly possessions in a small bedroom is pretty impressive, yet despite having saved items for that “one day I’ll have my own house”, I still wish I could downsize.
Some things I just can’t get rid of, such as my 435+ book collection, and before you ask – yes, I do have an e-reader (and I’m not counting the e-books). If you’re a book nerd (aka book dragon) you understand! I’m packing about 70+ books to take with me this time compared to the one physical book I allow myself to pack when moving overseas. 🙂
As I ponder through the “why” – Why can’t I move with just a little? Why do I have this amount of stuff? Why do I hang on to this or that? – I think part of it goes into a materialistic way of having roots. By having these things I have something that I come back to when I’m returning from overseas, because I don’t have a place that’s “mine” or a family with whom to return. When I have to say goodbye to so many dear friends, taking a material gift or remembrance of them (or their country) helps me process and later remember them. Sometimes I think it’s the “that could be useful in the future” and the creative repurposing overseas mentality which gets me in trouble. And honestly? I think sometimes the constant getting rid of possessions and packing to the barest of minimums makes me unreasonably cling to things that should have long ago been let go.
As the Tiny House Movement has swept through the country, I find it resonating with me. A place that’s permanent, small, and can be all my own while having the freedom to up and move. Granted, part of that is scary considering I need roots and not the mobility it offers! But the simplistic, minimalistic lifestyle it offers as well as having a home to call all my own is something that part of me craves.
Watching an episode of Tiny House Nation is what brought on my most recent closet purge (as well as this post). The show helps me to evaluate what is necessary, what is sentimental, and how can I creatively reduce what I have or minimize the bulk.
What are the tips and tricks you’ve found to help you reduce your possessions and let go? What are the “must haves” you always move with?