On Moving

My first post, written just over two years ago, was about moving. I had just sold my house, left my job of a dozen years, and launched Less Equals More. It was a time of transitions; too many to count. I downsized my already small amount of possessions into a studio apartment while launching a business about downsizing. A little life imitating art, of sorts. 

I had the advantage of moving in town so could bring items like my full spice jars and oils, some of the maybe’s I wasn’t quite read to address, and stock of items like tea lights. This gave me time to put off sorting through some of the minutiae and also not be wasteful. Now I’m moving out of state so must address it all fully. My Honda Civic is the strict volume of what I can bring. Even after paring down a bit more over the past two years and selling all my furniture, it’s going to be a tight squeeze and long drive from Washington, DC to Austin, Texas.

I weigh the cost and benefit of packing relatively inexpensive generic items versus buying then again upon arrival: a fire extinguisher, a step stool (at 5’2”, it’s practically a necessity), and part of my glass jar collection (an integral part of a zero waste kitchen). There are also items I want to keep but may need to wait on: a memory box of letters, a stand mixer, and a ceiling-hung bronze lantern given to me by a close friend. I’m not a fan of storage, except in very particular circumstances, so anything I leave behind must be temporary and picked up on the next visit.

It’s funny to give material items this much attention. But I spent the time addressing each item the way I’d advise my clients. I focused on resale, donation, and giveaways for items I no longer want so they will be used again, and properly disposed of anything that needed disposing. I took a discerning look through items like photos, keeping only the ones I really want, rather than holding onto the two organized photo boxes wholesale. I only kept one box in the end.

Admittedly, some moments sorting through my already sorted possessions felt harder than expected, like I had an emotional delay button that was finally turned off. I promised myself I’d remember, really remember, the tougher moments of this exercise, to draw upon when working closely with clients: pottery I wheeled in 2001 that didn’t make the cut, only taking part of the tea cup/saucer set that my grandma passed down to me, and a beautiful drape that I haven’t used in two years but is just so darned pretty and reminds me of setting up my first home. The emotions and memories items hold are fascinating. 

Moving tends to be catalyst for possession re-evaluation. All the feelings and status quo’s are shaken up. It’s a tender moment and, for many, a justification to finally spend time on getting rid of things.  Our lives change more than we think from year to year and moving, or other times of transition, shines the light on this truth. While downsizing without the pressure of a move is ideal, taking the time to address the things you can typically ignore allows new perspectives to emerge and a bit more freedom to manifest.

I can’t wait to hit the road. My car will be heavy, but I’ll feel much lighter.