Whenever I help someone move, I usually end up in the back of the moving van, directing the boxes and couches and awkwardly shaped coffee tables into place. There’s a certain way to do it, you see. The big things go in first, the nooks and crannies get filled, the pillows and cushions keep the breakables apart, and the light stuff goes on top. And, inevitably, once the moving van is full, the owner who is moving can be heard to say something like, “Why do we have so much stuff?”.
My wife and I are going to be moving soon, and I don’t want to be that guy. Just a weekend or two ago, I helped a buddy move and when he said something along those lines, I started thinking. You see, I’m a bit of a pack rat, but I’m willing to change.
I’m proud to report that–with my wife’s help–I freed up one full five-shelf-bookcase worth of books, and cut our CD collection in half. I have eyes on my clothing horde next (my wife found a plastic bin filled with t-shirts that I didn’t even realize I still had and haven’t worn in at least three years).
There was a poorly received Will Ferrell movie a few years back (one of his more serious roles) called “Everything Must Go” that comes to mind. In the film, Ferrell’s character, Nick, is fired due to his drinking problem and comes home to a lawn full of his belongings because his wife threw him out, also because of the drinking problem. When a cop friend of his informs him that city laws require that lawns must be relatively junk free unless that junk is part of a yard sale, Nick decides to sell it all. As each item is sold, Nick is bound less and less to the person that he was when he got fired and kicked out. And in the process of selling his stuff, he strikes up relationships with some of his neighbors.
My wife hated the movie, but I saw it as a good allegory for starting anew. I’m not saying that my wife and I are getting rid of everything (or that either of us have serious drinking problems), but I think that a bit of a purge is a healthy move. After all, this world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through. And when it comes to moving stuff from one house to another, a lot less stuff means a much easier move.
When I end up packing the moving van for my stuff, maybe I won’t even have to be much of a Tetris master to fit it all. Anyway, that’s the goal.