Who ARE These People?!?!
Andrew and I rented a large U-haul truck last weekend to move all of our belongings out of storage and into our new rental house. Mentally, I figured, piece of cake. Besides we had gotten rid of more than half of our belongings before moving out of our old house. How much stuff could we really have? Wow, was I ever naïve about what I was in for.
Faced with a storage unit filled to the brim with our belongings, I went weak at the knees and crumpled emotionally. Were it not for Andrew to support me and find the humor in the situation, I am sure I would have left the whole storage unit open with a large FREE sign in front of it. Keep in mind, I already had everything I needed in order to be perfectly satisfied and happy. It all fit into a pop-up tent trailer. The contents of the storage unit before me were superfluous as far as I was concerned.
As we moved each box out of storage and into the truck, I felt a sense of burden deepening. Rather than feeling happy to be reunited with our belongings, I felt the heaviness that comes with ownership of an endless stream of items that aren’t in fact remotely necessary in life. For example, we pulled out nearly twelve boxes labeled “Kitchen VITAL.” These were the kitchen items I had set aside in anticipation of our re-entry into the U.S. As I peeked into each box I laughed at each item I saw because for the life of me, I could not see how they were ‘vital.’ Twelve boxes!
The process felt endless. At one point I literally had the thought, “Who ARE these people that packed up these things?!” I was infuriated by them and in that moment I realized how huge the transformation from our Baja adventure had been. The people that packed up the storage unit were not the same people that were now unpacking it.
To be clear, I am happy to have our large furniture again. I love the pieces we have bought over the years. They are lovely to look at, practical, and the defining elements that essentially decorate our space. However, what I object to immensely is the ridiculous number of boxes filled with things that are completely unnecessary.
The good news is I believe I’ve found the perfect solution for dealing with this situation. The truly essential items (forks, knives, cooking pans, toothbrushes, etc.) have been placed in the house. Everything else is in the 2 car garage in boxes. Rather than unpacking everything, the deal is that we can only pull something out of the boxes if we find that we need it in the house. The key here is that if we were to start unpacking each box, it would be too easy for us to justify having it in the house because we’d be making decisions from a place of habit. I find my decision making process to be influenced heavily by my past conditioning.
Here’s the kicker. In 7 days, I’ve pulled just 2 items out of the garage to bring into the house; a pair of boots and an extra pot. In the meantime, our kitchen cabinets are 3/4 empty because we haven’t loaded the shelves with all of the things we once thought to be so ‘vital.’ Our bathroom cabinets are just as empty. Our clothing closet is actually the linen closet because we have realized that all we need and want are 3 pairs of pants, about 5 shirts, a few sweaters and undergarments. I can guarantee that if we had brought the boxes from storage straight into the house that we would have at least twice as much in the house as we have now.
In all of this, we are doing it because we want to. It doesn’t in any way feel like a sacrifice or burden. The only actual burden is that huge pile of boxes of ‘vital’ items in the garage that will need to be dealt with at some point soon. I love living in a house that feels uncluttered and simple. It creates more space and time for me to do the things that I really want to do.