Keeping Life Simple


This weekend marks what I’ve come to call my time here in Missouri as “one of my last weekends to pack”. I started packing about a month ago when we first got a contract on the house. Some would consider that very organized and motivated, but I find the sooner I start packing, the more likely I am to pack items I really should discard. Now that I’m down to the wire, I’m being a bit more selective. I am half-tempted to go through my previously packed boxes just to see if I packed anything I really don’t need or something that truly doesn’t help me through the transition (more on this in a few….).

Keeping it simple, for me, in these last few weeks includes asking myself two questions as I pack:

  1. Does it spark joy? (If yes, I keep it. If no, I ask myself…)
  2. Can it easily be replaced later if missed? (If yes, I toss it into the Goodwill box. If no, I pack it. After all, Goodwill exists in my second-life.)

Now, some would argue that saying “No” to question #1 would immediately dictate a quick trip to the nearest non-profit thrift store, But, even after reading the great little book entitled “The LIfe-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, not all items (for me, at least) fall into the black/white Does-It-Spark-Joy? (Yes/no) arena. Some things –  like batteries, scissors, glue, a new pack of construction paper, etc – fall into the “Um-Not-Necessarily-Joy-But-I-Don’t-Want-To-Have-To-Replace-It-Right-Away” grey area. I do have my limits, though. It has to be something I use nearly every day (not some Paul Mitchell hair gel I bought a year ago and never used). Most of these items are used to entertain my son – so I guess, if narrowed down – yes, these items do spark joy.

So, back to that first point I promised to get to in paragraph one. Some items spark joy…but also represent old patterns or mindsets I need to release in order to transition easily into the future (To heal? *Shrug*. Some might say.) For example, I work for a non-profit and for nearly a year I’ve traveled all over the country to various offices in different states. In each location I often received a t-shirt as a parting gift. (Fifteen t-shirts in all. Hardly a minimalist wardrobe). While each of those shirts spark joy because I met some really incredible, hard-working folks…I need to part with those shirts in order to move on. I can’t be hanging out in a shirt that represents the past (at times, an irritating and hurtful past.)

Additionally, I have a beautiful set of white dishware that I really like. These dishes are functional, practical, and I absolutely value them. But, I also bought them during a tremulous period in my life: I had separated from my first husband and needed dishes in my new apartment. I wanted out of the ‘different dishware for every holiday’ lifestyle. But now, I look at them sometimes and actually think “I bought those when my (first) marriage failed.” Instead of representing a time of independence and personal growth, I easily revert back to the feeling of failure. Time for those dishes, and their failure-ridden energy, to find a new home. Which means the opportunity to find new dishes that mesh with my new lifestyle is presented! I really like THESE except I don’t need or want 12 of them.  Match those plates with these bowls and I believe I’ve married fashion and function splendidly without straying off course.

The hardest items to donate, sell, or toss are the items I’ve purchased for my son. I did finally reconcile getting rid of his steel, red Radio Flyer Dual Deck tricycle, rationalizing in my mind that 1) he doesn’t seem to like it so, apparently, it doesn’t bring him joy and 2) by the time summer rolls around again, he’ll be too big for it. I, however, will not part with his steel red Radio Flyer wagon, which he received as a gift on his first birthday from a neighbor. I can’t think about parting with it without tearing up. Besides, I load it up and take it (and my son) to the farmer’s market. It serves double duty…and, sniff sniff…some would say it brings both of us joy. So, we’ll keep it, thank you very much.

The bottom line is that if this stuff I’m packing doesn’t fit in a 5 X 12 trailer hitched to a Saturn Vue filled to the brim, then it most likely can’t make the trip unless I want to pay out the wah-zoo for more moving space from U-Haul (which I do not).

If you have any tips for moving out of state, I’m up for any ideas. I consider myself a master at parting ways with things that have lost their spark, but to be frank, I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment. New job, new home, new state, new driver’s license. It’s all a bit much for me.

So, what say you? Anyone? Anyone?

One thought on “Keeping Life Simple

  1. Purge, purge, purge. Your instincts are right on, but you can be even more aggressive about it. Goodwill is lucky to have your support!

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