Thursday, August 1, 2013

The weight of all this stuff

It is only a couple weeks until our moving day, and I am knee deep the process of sorting, organizing cleaning out and packing... everything.

We've been here for over 8 years, and it is rather astonishing how much junk one family can amass in that time. It almost makes me feel a little ashamed. There is so much waste around me; things that sat useless for years, taking up space and weighing us down. We've already taken two loads of donations to our local St. Vincent de Paul store, and there is likely to be more. And don't even get me started on how much stuff we are simply throwing away. It makes my skin crawl, to think those bags of trash were strewn about my house. Granted, we're not talking fly infested, rotting food garbage. It is more like old, broken things that aren't worth donating. But still. How could we have produced this much stuff?

I feel the weight of these possessions, and have for quite some time. Knowing that a move was on the horizon brought the enormity of what we own into stark relief. I walk into any room in the house these days, and find myself making mental notes. "Do I want to move that?" Often the answer is no, and I'm hauling things into the garage left and right.

But how did we get so much? Why is it here? We're not huge shoppers (except for maybe Legos... and books, but books don't count). Some things are items we've had for years and no longer need, but perhaps were useful once. Others are things given to us that we can live without, or things we thought we wanted that have fallen into disuse; clothes that don't fit quite right, extra sets of sheets for a bed we no longer have, many things that seemed like we might want to have "someday" so we kept them around. It is easy to do that when you have space, and aren't moving.

The truth is, at least in part, that I'm kind of lazy and tend towards procrastination. I tuck things away to deal with "later." But later didn't come until we decided we needed to move, and now later is most certainly here. And I have eight years of junk to sift through.

I'd love to say that, going forward, I will be more mindful of what we bring into our house; that I'll be willing to part with things we don't need and bless others with them. I don't know how true that is, in reality. It is a lesson in letting go, of the things that weigh us down, and I'm glad we've been forced to go through this process. In the future I need to think about the usefulness of the things we buy and bring home. Maybe we can begin to live a little more simply and not let the urge to buy and store and amass so many things overtake us.

We shall see.

In the meantime, the process continues. I'll keep tackling rooms, cupboards, closets and shelves and weed out what we don't need. Hopefully as we unpack in the new house, I won't be left wishing I would have downsized more.

Except for books. They still don't count.

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