The best advice I ever ignored

When I left college and moved into my first house, the seller gave me some parting advice: Start getting rid of stuff now.

He was heading to Florida after nearly 30 years and was overwhelmed at how much he'd accumulated. Even with garage sales and kids coming to town to take some of it, he still had more than he knew what to do with.

Of course, I was young (and stupid) and paid no heed. 14 years later, I am paying for my mistake.

As I pack up to move to a new home with Kurt, I am shocked at how much stuff I've acquired. When it's spread throughout the house, it doesn't seem like much, but consolidated into boxes, it reaches absurd proportions.

And I'm only one person! And not even a shopper! I can't image how much a family of four must have to deal with if they're ever crazy enough to move.

The problem isn't so much the boxing up and hauling off (although that's no fun), it's the deciding. Do I want to keep this? Is it worth moving? I know I haven't used this in five years, but someday it might be handy! Would Goodwill even take this?


The upshot of this experience is that the bar has been raised for me to buy something in the future. Stuff is clearly the enemy, and I want no more of it than I truly need.

Maybe someday I can tell this to a young person buying my home. No doubt they'll pay no attention.

Photo by mpopp


BlondesPoopMascara.blogspot.com said...

SO true! Gladly we learned this pre-kids and very very rarely buy anything new without purging something old. Garages sales, Craigs List, give to friends, etc, etc. PURGE, people! Thanks for the post. -Mr. Blonde

Trin said...

Your title was a little misleading - I initially thought it was the best advice you ignored and regretted it. Or maybe it's just how I'm reading it.

Either way, I totally sympathize. I recently moved (yay!). I used a local company called Frogbox and rented 25 plastic boxes. I somehow managed to cram all my junk into those 25 boxes but moving is such a production... Sigh. Wish I could live out of a backpack. But then I wouldn't have my computer.

eggwolio said...

I know where you are coming from on so many levels. I moved(back) to Texas from the Chicago area almost three years ago after spending three years in a townhome with the girl I had planned to marry. I was unprepared for the move because of a lot of factors, but the biggest was an inability to grasp the concept of giving up the life I had built there. Moving weekend came and consisted of all of my friends frantically throwing things in boxes in an unorganized fashion. I've lived in four places since then, and most of those boxes have never been unpacked. I don't think of myself as materialistic, but I'm so heavily anchored by sentimentality that I can't just part with them and look the other way, I need to go through them. I have no clue what's in each one, but the ones I open are a mishmash of memories that I struggle to let go of. Other than my cats, the things in these boxes are the only thing I've been able to really count on the past three years, and that's stupid. I've made a pact with myself that I will not be moving again until every box has been emptied, even if some are just filled back up. It's a slow and painful process that cripples me more than it should.

I have no idea why I just decided to treat your blog like my own, but hey, at least it related to your post and wasn't a total out of the blue tangent, right? Right.

Rebecca said...

BPM ~ Thanks! Better to learn this lesson sooner than later.

Trin ~ Platic tubs are THE BEST. The whole thing makes me think George Clooney's character in 'Up in the Air' was onto something (but only about stuff, not people).

Eggwolio ~ Ha! My blog is your blog. I know what you mean about sentimentality. I have a few tubs of things that have no value other than the memories they evoke. Good luck sorting through everything!

Craig Miyamoto said...

Isn't it just amazing how stuff left on its own multiplies exponentially as the years pass? People abhor an empty space (like the top of a coffee table, for example). I've thrown away tons of stuff and still have more than enough to stoke a fire for a decade should the need come to that.