Suitcases, Sofas, and Simplicity

Good morning, dear Reader! Today I woke up in the great state of Massachusetts, where I’ve been staying for the last few days. I lived here in Monson and East Longmeadow back in 2006-2007, but I had forgotten just how lovely it can be. The weather here in Salem – a bit nippy down by the waterfront – is not too terribly cold or hot. Just right. I’m visiting a friend I’ve mentioned before in my posts, and today we will meet a real live witch.

Today’s post was really inspired by my suitcase. On Sunday, I arrived in New England with my little carry-on roller bag and a backpack. I’ve learned a lot about my ‘dressing habits’ while traveling over the years. Honestly, I probably could have gotten away with an even smaller bag – but I didn’t have one. Still, I get that if I had planned anything ‘fancy’ I may have needed to pack more, but honestly, my girl friend is pretty down to Earth, and also, I am never going to see the other folks I encounter ever again, so who really cares if I only packed two pairs of pants for four days? (I did, oddly, pack nine pairs of undies. I tend to do this. I don’t know why.)

When I get back to Missouri, I will start selling off items and getting rid of what no longer serves me. As I’ve mentioned, I consider myself a rational minimalist. However, there are still so many ‘little’ things that have crept into my space – even though I did significantly reduce household crap in January 2021 doing the 30 Day Challenge. I may just resign to the fact that I have to constantly stay on top of this sort of thing. I collect the weirdest things without even knowing I’m collecting them: empty glass jars, notebooks, magic markers.. It’s dumbfounding, really. Anywho…

A recent comment on a blog post from a distant cousin in Norway got me really thinking about how I can continue to keep things simple when I get to a new place. I’ve come up with a few tips that maybe you might find helpful as I examine my own set of beliefs around keeping and discarding.

So…grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s talk about simplicity.

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…) And to be clear…very little that I own sparks joy.
  2. Can it easily be replaced later if missed? (If yes, I toss it into the Goodwill box. If not, I pack it.)

Now, some would argue that saying “No” to question #1 would immediately dictate a quick trip to the nearest non-profit thrift store. Even after reading the great little book entitled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” years ago, not all items (for me, at least) fall into the black/white Does-It-Spark-Joy? (Yes/no) arena. I mean, can batteries really spark joy? I suppose they can…if placed in the right kind of toy {Ahem}. I do, however, finally understand that one can, indeed, have too many glass Ball jars. 

Also, I admitted recently to a close friend that I still have a little PTSD around starting something new – whether it’s a relationship, job, or new living quarters. I’ve moved five times since 2015, never really putting down roots in any of those locations – picking up needed items at thrift stores or off Facebook Marketplace and slapping some chalkpaint on most of it. It’s hard to get out of “fight or flight” mode and trust the Universe when you’ve been in survival mode for so long. I want to exhale. I really, really do. But, I’ve said this before: I’m a work in progress. It is what it is.

At times I find myself standing in front of certain items…like my microwave, for example…asking, “Should I keep this…just in case?” even though I know most of the places now have built-in microwaves. It’s not just the microwave, though. It’s been a lot of things. And just in case of…what exactly? I’m in awe at how brave and yet scared I am at this point in my life. Honestly, back in 2015, when I wrote this post…I never had that ‘just in case the world burns to the fucking ground‘ mentality. I used to just say, “Fuck it. I don’t want this anymore.” and I’d just get rid of it. So, this new feeling…this ‘I’m a little pensive. I don’t know if I can let this item go’ feeling…it’s an acquired illness, so to speak. So yes…definitely something juicy to discuss in therapy. My therapist will love this.

The bottom line is that I really don’t want any of this shit anymore except for one or two pieces of significant furniture from my childhood and four handmade quilts. The rest of it provides absolutely no joy at all. So, I say all that to say…I have a really decent sofa and a twin-size bed for sale. Also, a new 18′ above ground INTEX pool for anyone brave enough to come to get it. Stay tuned for a massive garage sale.

I’m going to close this out with – you guessed it – a song. There is Samuel Adams beer to drink, Lobstah and Chowdah to consume. Tarot cards to be read and Witch Trial reenactments to watch. I’ll catch you next week, dear Reader. 

PS…if you liked this post and thought “I can’t wait to share this on social media!” then please…go right ahead. Please and thank you.

5 thoughts on “Suitcases, Sofas, and Simplicity

  1. It can be hard to let go! It is so cathartic though!!I have cleaned out so much the last few years. Literally filled a huge trailer and half a dumpster (granted some was from remodeling but out with the old…). I too look forward to this garage sale.

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