Monday, July 25, 2016
Why Is It So Hard to Part with Our Possessions?
For the past two weeks, I've been trying to declutter my house. Actually no, I'm trying to do something a bit more drastic than that. What I'm really aiming for is to completely minimize my life by unloading as much of my material possessions as possible so that it'll be easier for me to be more mobile. When I needed to find a new home last year, I almost chose a tiny studio apartment because the larger spaces I was viewing were out of my price range. While the idea of giving up hosting opportunities made me sad, a part of me was looking forward to getting rid of crap I'd accumulated over the years. I don't consider myself a hoarder, but I have my piles of things I've been too sentimental to part ways with. Things like old school papers, art projects, every letter my friends and I have sent to each other, craft supplies, all my childhood diaries, etc. Mind you, these are things I only look through once every couple of years, but every time I do, I'm so grateful I still have them.
When I eventually signed a lease for a one-bedroom apartment, everything came with me and here I am a year later, looking around wondering what's the point of all this stuff I've acquired. It feels more like a home when I fill a place with my things, but I know I don't need most of it. I know this because I can't remember the last time I ever touched that book I thought I'd be all the better for having read. Clothes in my closet still have tags, waiting for the day I can fill it out just right. Do I need 50 pairs of underwear? No. And what about all those tops when my actual rotation only consists of about 10 choices? I'll amass art supplies to nurture whatever hobby I've taken up for the season and then add them to the growing collection when I move on to something else. I've heard a tip that suggests if you haven't touched, used, or worn it in the past year, chuck it. Only when I tried to do that, it was much harder than I thought it would be. I went into the mission thinking it'll be a piece of cake. How much could it possibly mean to me if I've never cared to use it? I even had visions of being able to fit all the things most important to me in this world in one suitcase. I could up and leave whenever I pleased completely unburdened by my earthly possessions! Huzzah!
Yeah, okay, lady.
What really ended up happening was I started picking through my clothes and telling myself, "Oh! But so-and-so gave this to you and you tailored it and everything. Surely, this will be the summer you wear it?" Or "But if you throw this out, one day you'll end up wanting to wear something just like this and then look, you'll have to spend time and money to find it all over again. You don't want to be wasteful now do you? Do you??"
Eventually I ended up hacking my clothes pile at least in half if not more, but I'm still not satisfied. I can do better. If I'm struggling with parting with an item, I'll ask myself, "What's more important to you? Keeping this in your life or living abroad?"
But then wanting to part ways with clothes, books, and furniture isn't even the biggest challenge. It's actually going through the task of getting them out of my house. So far, I've participated in a neighborhood flea market that was a total bust unless we go by the number of plastic hangers I managed to sell to one lady. I've started listing books on eBay just to learn how the site works and Craigslist is currently housing my ads for furniture and household items. I'll probably hate myself once I get rid of the storage before I've sold the things I stored inside them, but I just want to plow through. My goal is to spend the next couple of months unloading as much as possible...and then move on.
I've only been in this current apartment for a year, and while the beginning was a rough start that made me reconsider my decision every night for three months, eventually I settled into it and started feeling a bit more comfortable in this new space. Inside, I created a colorful little haven in the hopes of separating me from its crappy surroundings and management. I didn't have a housewarming party until six months into my lease, that's how long it took for me to want to invite friends over. Now, it's as if we're right back to June/July 2015 and I just can't handle the endless string of maintenance issues that go unfixed. This isn't home, this is Chateau Shithole. And while last year I was much too stubborn to call it quits so soon after moving in (and how badly I wanted to move on from my last situation), this time I'm throwing my hands up and saying you win, apartment 1J. It was fine attempt on my part., but now I want out.
Have you tried to minimize your life? How'd you go about getting rid of your things? Donate? Sell? I'll probably do a combo of those, but would love any suggestions you might have before I say screw it and leave it all in a pile on the street.