Holding On To What Matters.

There is no denying it: the moving process is a nightmare.  No matter how early you start, how many boxes you stockpile, or how organized you think you are, those last few days will inevitably make you want to rip your hair out.  Living in limbo is nobody’s idea of a good time.

I think it’s safe to say I’m becoming a professional mover, given my moving history over the past ten years, and the fact that I have packed and moved myself each and every time.  And after all that moving, I think I’ve come to my “mover’s epiphany.”

The material stuff is NOT important. 

Closets piled high, stuff from the 6th grade, boxes that have been under beds so long that we don’t even know what’s in them anymore.  So often we hold onto this junk because we just “can’t deal with it” and don’t want to face actually doing something about it.  I am totally guilty as a member of this club.

But after carting useless crap across state lines one too many times, I have finally decided to face it and stop ignoring it.  So I started my moving process two weeks early, giving me enough time to pack the things we love and want, and to purge the things we no longer need.

I started in the dreaded guest room – a room where, first of all, we don’t even leave the door open.  That’s how unimportant the room is.  It’s also the landing zone for most of my personal post-college belongings.  The first thing I started going through was an old card box.  As I started to fish through them, and memories came flooding back, I realized the cards were totally NOT important.

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It didn’t matter that my grandma sent me a card on my 24th birthday and told me that she loved me.  What mattered was that my grandma loved me.  And it didn’t matter that someone thanked me for a wedding gift I had given several years ago, what mattered was that each time they use their toaster, they think of me!  Into the trash bag they went…

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Next up, the office!  I found my old wedding planning notebook, complete with table diagrams, seating arrangements, and DJ playlists.  It was fun to look through for a few minutes, and then they got tossed.  The seating arrangement did NOT matter – what mattered was that we had 100 people that loved us there to celebrate on our big day.  No one remembers where they sat. 

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Continuing along those same lines, I opened the box that I had been avoiding the longest, a box that made me cringe – my wedding bouquet…

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We left for our honeymoon at 6am the morning after our wedding, and in the madness of the post-wedding cleanup, I never thought to consider what I wanted to do with my flowers.  So while we were off enjoying the Caribbean, my bouquet hung out in a jar of water getting slimy and moldy – as it still remains today.  

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Wouldn’t I prefer to remember my gorgeous flowers they way that they looked on that special day?  Perhaps like this…

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Or like this…

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keepsakes and special memories, and there are still lots of things I hold on to.  But at this point in my life, they need to be things that truly make my life better, not just things I’m holding on to because I feel bad throwing them away.  And did it hurt to toss my beloved peonies?

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I will admit it, yes, a little.  But now that the trash has been taken out, do I still care?  NO.  My mom made my bouquet for me with nothing but heart and love.  And I carried it down the aisle towards Casey on the most special day of my life.  And those memories are enough to let me walk with it one last time, and then move on…

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For this move to DC next week, we are doing a major downsize.  I think it is a total blessing in disguise, because it has forced us to really take a look at what we’re bringing with us.  For each item I question, I try to really consider:  is this something we use?  Does it make our lives better or easier?  Or do I kind of cringe when I think about still having it?

We have been together almost 5 years now, so a lot of our stuff is still the merged leftovers fr
om our initial move-in.  Furniture that doesn’t really match, a couch we’ve been sitting on for 5 years, and other things that just aren’t really our style anymore.  Enter the wonderful world of CRAIGSLIST.  If you list it, they will come – seriously.

But they key is to start early.  For the past two weeks, I have listed over half of our furniture (old junk we didn’t want anymore), various decorative items, sports equipment – you name it.  One week out, I’ve sold most of our big ticket items, and a ton of small stuff too.  And you know what that is, friends?

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That is cold, hard cash.  To the tune of over $1,000!  And what I didn’t sell got carted off to Goodwill in a packed SUV this afternoon.  Honestly though, the cash is just an added bonus.  The real benefit is that I have gotten rid of things I didn’t want anymore, and I don’t have to feel guilty about not keeping them. 

My beautiful old antique bed from my childhood was no longer my style, but I felt guilty admitting it and getting rid of it.  After a teary phone call to my mom, I ended up selling it on Craigslist to a woman who couldn’t wait to give it to her granddaughter.  It felt so good to know that my bed has a second life to a new little girl who will love it!

And I don’t have to feel bad about not wanting the four giant trash bags of clothes that are too big or not my style anymore, because I took them to Goodwill today so that someone less fortunate can enjoy them.

Wading through the piles of bubble wrap and boxes, I realized this time that what doesn’t matter to me, just might matter to someone else.  So I’ve sold or given those things away, and now I’m left with only the things and people that make me happy.

Oh yeah, and $1,000 to go buy a new couch.