Getting rid of stuff

If I was moving, would I move this?

We were talking about purging our belongings and this is a question our friend uses when deciding what to get rid of or keep. We had both been using the Kon Mari method taken from a book a co-worker lent me last spring, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.”

I started getting rid of things in the summer (okay, I’ve been getting rid of things for years, but this was a new round brought on from reading the book). Most things went to Love Inc in Delano and some things were sold on facebook garage sale sites and craigslist.

Kon Mari focuses on keeping things that spark joy. I like they way she suggests tidying, which I call purging. She would say getting rid of things is not the goal, but only keeping what you truly love, is. I, however, LOVE the feeling of getting rid of things.

Our travel backpacks we both had from the late 90’s when we traveled through Europe (during the exact same months, but we wouldn’t meet for six more years)? Sold to a man who was planning a backpacking trip with his son.

A very pretty pottery bowl set my Mom gave us (ahem, while I was helping her purge) but we barely used? Sold to a kind woman in the Sam’s Club parking lot.

I grew up with my parents hosting parties and serving lemonade in a giant punch bowl, and depending on the crowd, also floating a baby ruth bar in it (my parents were Young Life kids and Youth Leaders, ie, they were Cool). My brain made the association early in life that punch bowl = fun party. But we had used it just twice. Donated.

The big things are easier for me. The sentimental stuff, or as I’ve called it since I was a kid, “semi-mental” I’m saving for last. Kon Mari recommends it this way so you’ve had good practice of deciding what sparks joy.

Because words are one of my favorite things, I’ve kept printed out emails from when Andy and I were dating (it was how communication was done in 2005), boxes of cards and letters from family and friends, and photos, eesh. Photos may be the hardest for me.

I read an article from a person practicing the Kon Mari method and she turned all her wedding pics upside down. Then as she flipped them up one by one (I’m picturing a game of Memory here) she would pay attention to how she felt when she saw it. If it (to totally overuse this phrase) “sparked joy” she kept it, if not, she tossed it. Ugh. I get a little pit in my stomach just thinking about throwing pictures away, but I will, eventually. Also, how will I do this with digital? I don’t want to think about it yet.

So now I’m trying to find a place to start on next. I’ve attacked my clothes like nobody’s business, then we went through books. We’ve gone through the kitchen and pantry. Paperwork was purged so much that I sold our file cabinet on craigslist this fall. The guy was like, “Where do you keep your papers now?” “Um, in just a few folders.” (I’m pretty confident he thought I was nuts.) We went through the bathroom cabinets and the front hall and linen closets. Maybe that’s why I’m dragging my feet- maybe sentimental is next!

I’ll poke around some things and see if I can get going. If I start making progress I’ll share about it here. I know, this is edge of your seat, life-changing kind of stuff. But it’s probably not a bad thing to keep asking, “If I was moving, would I move this?”


3 thoughts on “Getting rid of stuff

  1. Very wise to begin the process BEFORE you are moving!! I’m doing it all at one time — UGH! But it is very true — I’m looking at things differently. It’s about joy, it’s about need. It’s about my willingness to pack and unpack something. It’s even about paying to have it moved. Personally, I can’t wait to get into my new home, unpack less and find joy in everything that surrounds me! Go for it, Missi — you can do it!!


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