Piled Up ’til They Reach the Sky

I may have mentioned once or twice (a week, for a year) that we’re moving.

Which of course has required us to box up every single item we own. That is a fun thing to do. I would highly recommend it as a nice Saturday morning activity should you sometimes feel that life is just too happy and you need something to make you crazy.

We’re moving from about a 1000 square foot house into an apartment that, my best guess, is around 650-700 square feet (please, I have no idea. Spatial relations are clearly not my strong point).

This means that we have to get rid of a few things. And, oh, this brings me great joy. We sold about 50 books at the Half-Price bookstore. We’re selling Bart’s desk and chair, the Love Sac, several bookcases, our bar stools (which we bought for our apartment long ago and have sat unused for the last three years since our house did not actually have a bar), and a few other random things, like a laptop case that came free with Bart’s computer.

I just don’t like owning a lot of things (shoes excluded). I am very quick to get rid of things I don’t like or need or have room to store. I like stream-lined. I like uncluttered. I like open empty space. I am just not that sentimental. If something is broken, torn, no longer useful, or otherwise just junking up my life, I am more than happy to be rid of it. If we paid for something, but it no longer serves any function to me, I don’t care that we’re just donating it to Goodwill. The money we spent on it is not a good reason to keep something I do not want.

I get asked on occasion if I buy a ton of books and the answer is no. I do not. I can’t think of the last book I bought for myself (I buy a reasonable amount of books as gifts, but never for myself). I love using the library because, not only is it free, but when I’m done with it, I can return it. I don’t have to find shelf space for it. I don’t have to pack it and unpack it every time I move. I don’t have to dust it or worry about it for the next sixty years. Thank heavens for the library. And that’s pretty much how I feel about most things.

I’m reading a delightful little book my mom lent me called Things I Want My Daughters To Know. One of the chapters is called “Travel Heavy” and she talks about how she always overpacks and how you should too. And, well, I just can’t get behind that. Ack! Stuff! Stuff that you will invariably have to drag around, from the car to the airport to the hotel and then back again.

When my mom and I were in Boston recently, I incorrectly remembered what T station (and if we’re being honest, what line) we were supposed to get off at and we ended up walking, suitcases, purses, and backpacks in tow, over two miles to our hotel. Talk about a time you’re glad you didn’t “travel heavy.” (Also, talk about a time where you apologize a hundred times to your mother for being too dumb to have double-checked the location).

I am so excited to be living somewhere smaller, with less stuff. And maybe that makes me weird, but it also makes me happy. If I had a life motto, it would probably be, “Live Light.”

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  • Reply craftyashley August 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I loved our cozy little apartments pre-kids. We only had what we needed, and cleaning a 700 sq ft. apartment doesn't take all weekend. Now- our 3 bed, 1800 sq ft. house is packed to the rafters with crap, and I still have never had the opportunity to clean the thing completely. Always in shifts. It's annoying. Have a great time in Boston! I'm totally jealous.

  • Reply Kim August 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    I may be a huge dork, but I think I'm going to print out a sign that reads, "The money I spent on it is not a good reason to keep something I do not want." And I will think of you every time I see it.

    Thanks for inspiring me to go on a clutter-rampage tonight!

  • Reply Gretchen August 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I'm with Kim. My frugality always gets in the way of me getting rid of stuff. I'm always afraid I'll have to buy something like it down the road and I'll kick myself. I need to print one of those signs for myself.

    But I'm one of those crazies who believes in "packing heavy" when you can. (But only if you can carry all your own luggage in a pinch.)

    But the library, oh yes, I LOVE the library.

  • Reply Merrick August 4, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    AMEN. Hate stuff.

  • Reply Becca August 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Yay – I pride myself on being a light packer. Like to the point where I'm almost vain about it.

  • Reply Norby Family August 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    We packed our possessions up twice last year and unpacked twice, let me tell you, I'm not moving for at least 5 years.. If you don't like clutter what are you doing with your pre-release books? Could I suggest a give away? =)

  • Reply RA August 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I have converted from being an utter pack rat (I blame my dad) to being a guilty just-in-case-er. I have a hard time letting go of some things JUST IN CASE I need them sometime. But then, I am always prepared, so I think it has its pros and cons.

    One of the sites in my feed reader is Unclutterer. Have you heard of it? I think you might like it.

  • Reply La Petite Chic August 4, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    In our last move, Jon and I tried very hard to get rid of useless clutter. He's so much better about it than I am because I'm too sentimental for my own good!

  • Reply Chelsea August 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Wow congratulations! Can't wait to see new pictures of the new place.

  • Reply lacie tidwell August 4, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I'm with Ashley- I loved our little 850 sq ft apartment we had prior to Hailyn- it was cozy and sweet and a little love nest for just us- no visitors- there's no room! and moving- it sucks! I de-junk too- I can't stand holding on to things- I even re-sold my wedding dress on ebay. that's right- my MARRIAGE is sentimental to me- not the dress. I needed the closet space and lets be honest, Hailyn is not going to wear it (And I do not know how nor want to learn how to make blessing outfits from my wedding dress- I'm just not that clever!) have fun in Boston!

  • Reply Saskia August 4, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    It's interesting that you don't like owning your books. I love the library too, but more for the sense of endless possibilities it gives me (so many books to read! which one to read first?!). I have a lot of books, and it makes me very happy to look around my room and see all my "friends" there. I'm not very material in other ways (when I studied abroad, all my stuff fitted in two suitcases, and the only thing I missed were my books. And some shoes, I'll admit to that).

  • Reply Karina August 4, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Steve is looking for a nicer office chair. How much is yours? And is it a good one?

  • Reply Kristy August 5, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Oh, how I love you…

  • Reply Jenny August 5, 2009 at 1:49 am

    It's a great concept on paper (screen), and I'm working on it. I, however, am too practical and frugal to part with "stuff" so easily. You could be a positive influence here on the east coast!

  • Reply J. Shumway August 5, 2009 at 4:52 am

    I'm the same way. Moving every year or so will do that to a person!

  • Reply Miss Cupcake August 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Boston is one of my favorite cities; probably because I grew up in New England. I came across this article today about food there and thought I'd share:

    Boston Food Guide.

    Happy packing!

  • Reply smillett August 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Big houses are definitely overrated. Add this to my list of "Things I Wish I'd Know Sooner." During our last move five years ago we opened up several mystery boxes that turned out to be little time capsules. One had all of the table decorations from our wedding reception. After fifteen years, I was finally able to let go…much to my husband's relief. In another was a framed poster that hung in my room during my college years at BYU. What can I say? I'm a recovering sentimentalist.

  • Reply Jess August 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    It sounds so nice to get rid of all that stuff. We got rid of boxes and boxes and boxes of crap when we moved, and it was so LIBERATING. Of course, now we have a house that is heinously under-furnished. But whatever.

  • Reply Melissa August 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I feel the same way. My dog sitter asked me what I do for fun, since I don't have knitting accessories, books, gaming equipment, and other paraphernalia sitting around my home. I tried explaining how I like simple things and lack of clutter. Actually I'm planning on downsizing this year from a 1100 square foot place to 700. My only dilemma is where to store my X-mas decorations, which I do collect.

  • Reply Lisa August 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    When we bought our house I actually wanted something smaller so we wouldn't have to keep all the iffy furniture. I lost. So our basement, which is supposed to be a play area/sewing room, is full of crappy stuff. Our storage area is full of baby stuff, which I refuse to get rid of but also is not stuff that stacks neatly. I ALMOST wish we would move so I'd have to purge.

  • Reply Mrs. Hass-Bark August 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    We just moved into a bigger place because the hubs and I were crammed into a one-bedroom apartment I had lived in by myself before our wedding. Even though we had to purchase some new furniture (I need a home office since I'm about to go into dissertation phase), we still managed to get rid of boxes and boxes of stuff.

    I am completely paranoid about junk. I hate it. I can count on one hand the times I have regretted throwing something out. Wait, no I can't. I can't think of a single time. I don't have a problem throwing anything out: cooking gadgets, pictures, books, etc. It's not that I'm not sentimental at all, I just don't want my house full of stuff.

    For me, there is nothing more exhilarating than dropping things off at Goodwill. Goodbye, junk!

  • Reply Mad Hadder August 8, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Oh heavens. What a timely post. I just returned from a week in NJ where I helped on a CREW of friends who had to remove the contents of a home of a recently deceased woman whom we all knew. Picture what you might accumulate if you lived in the same place for 35 years and never threw ANYTHING away. Then double that and then triple that. I found a box of T-shirts that read "What If the Hokey Pokey IS What It's All About?" T-shirts in every size and color. Random but apparently worth storing. I DO collect books, though. You never know what you're going to need in the middle of the night. And also kitchen gadgets because they are just too cool for school. Just wait until you have a baby! Prepare for DOUBLE stuff!!!!!

  • Reply Miriam August 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    We accumulate like crazy while we're in a place, but when a move happens things start getting chucked pretty fast. I'm becoming a bit distressed that it's been 5 years since our last move, and none in sight. Not sure I know how to throw out without moving!!! the motivation just isn't there.

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