Like many people, I accumulated a lot of stuff over my twenties. Gifts from family and friends, aspirational things I thought I needed while trying to work out who I was, things I kept for fear of needing them at some stage in the future. Mostly functional things, as didn’t have the slack in my budget to allow me to think I could have non-functional things.
The weight of this stuff was apparent every time I moved house (6 times in 9 years). By the time I moved into a place in Newtown in 2007 I’d already realised that I wanted a lighter life, but the process of letting stuff go was difficult, as I’m sure many people have found.
Luckily the perfect solution came along: move halfway around the world! An impetus, a catalyst. I decided to reduce my belongings to only what was entirely necessary, or that had a very special significance.
It wasn’t easy, and took a lot of emotional, physical and mental effort. At the stage I had to get rid of some of the more essential items, I was surprised at how much it affected me to give up the rugs that had been on my floor through 3 moves. I realised they were the first things to go down when I did move, and created a sense of homein a new space. Something that had become very, very important to me. Seeing my belongings in the house of a dear friend who needed furniture and kitchen items was also strange, but good. A perfect example of reciprocity.
In the end I moved here with 19 boxes (most of those were archive sized boxes) and 3 suitcases. That’s it. It’s wonderful 🙂
We’re going to be moving again soon, and I’m starting to prepare myself for the mad packing sessions to come. However, I keep happily reminding myself that I no longer have 2.5 lives worth of stuff, more like 0.5 a life’s worth. Most of the things in the house we currently live in do not belong to either Jed of myself, as they are accumulations from previous occupants of the house. So they will remain, if our flatmate wants them, or will need to be re-housed (hooray freecycle!).
It’s nice to relish in this feeling.
This post was inspired by recent thoughts, but also a blog post I just came across: How to let go of possessions as it reminded me of the process I went through to get rid of my stuff to worthy homes. I worked in sustainable waste policy, just hiring a skip to send to the tip was not an option.