The last time I prepared to move, I was an eager, twenty-three-year-old with a station wagon’s worth of belongings. Two decades later, I need a large moving truck and a four-person crew.
Moving is tough. Gathering boxes, packing our belongings, and lugging heavy containers around the house is back-breaking work.
As I yank piles of possessions out from every corner of my house, I stand in utter amazement at everything we’ve accumulated over the years. Despite convincing myself to stop buying stuff, there is still a sizeable mound looming in front of me. I consider myself a minimalist, but we still own way more than we need.
General Rules for Purging
After two months of packing, I created a new list for purging:
- What goes on sale today will go on sale tomorrow. Stocking up on clothes, toys, and household supplies is generally unnecessary.
- Storage areas in your house are a trap. If I have to tuck something away in a dark corner of my home, I may never retrieve it. From this point forward, I will stow seasonal items but consider getting rid of everything else. If I love something, I will bring it into the light where I can enjoy it.
- Books are a colossal waste of money for me. I will borrow books from the library so I can return them.
- I will not be afraid to purge. If I desperately miss something, I can rebuy it.
- Stocking up on pantry staples is unnecessary. Rule #1 applies to food too. If I let the pantry get too crowded, I lose track of what’s in there.
- I never want to own another filing cabinet. Except for a few special love notes from my husband, everything can be scanned and recycled.
- Unwanted gifts take up unnecessary physical and mental space. I will no longer keep stuff just because a loved friend or family member gave it to me.
- It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two to decide if I want to keep something. If I have to ponder the decision too long, I should get rid of it.
- Having more money often means owning more stuff. When I embrace simplicity, I can follow my dreams without the need to earn so much.
- Living with less is good for my soul and my wallet.
Appreciation for All That We Own
There was a time in my life when I weighed every single financial decision.
- Which dishes cost the least?
- Could I afford to buy new candles for my living room?
- What if I get rid of something and can’t afford to buy a new one?
The weight of those decisions no longer looms before me. I can now pull out my wallet without anxiety or fear of paying our monthly credit card bills.
Under different financial circumstances, I wouldn’t callously choose to throw out something I might need one day. I wouldn’t decide that I could rebuy an item on eBay.
As a twenty-three-year-old moving into this house, I would’ve laughed at these rules. To my ears, they would’ve sounded utterly absurd.
But as the stacks of packed boxes grow, I am appreciative of all that we own. I am thankful for healthy savings accounts that allow me to release the weight of my physical burdens. I am grateful.