Decluttering

So I’ve been pretty busy the past couple weeks, not just struggling with my mental illness, but also trying to go through my stuff and figure out what I want to take with me and what I don’t.

I think I mentioned in my intro post that I’m planning to move to Germany. And that’s still true, but since I still haven’t gotten a job there (which is necessary for me to get a visa, which I need to get an apartment and stuff), and my lease in my current apartment ends on July 28th, I’ve been preparing to move.

As a 30-year-old adult, I have a lot of stuff. Not just the stuff that I’ve accumulated over the years, but a fair bit of stuff from my childhood that my mother made me take (she’s not a sentimental person at all, basically she said “get your junk out of my house”). And I do like stuff. I have the tendency to buy anything that tickles my fancy, including things I have no real use for. And once I have it, I want to keep it. Even if I have no use for it. This is partly because, as a child, I always felt like my mother was taking my things away. Every time I turned around, she was getting rid of my toys, my stuffed animals, my clothes, my furniture. It seemed like we couldn’t go six months without her taking a box to Goodwill. I was so mad every time, but she seemed to have no pity.

Of course, the reason she was always getting rid of my stuff was because I had TONS of it, and we moved many times when I was a kid. I think we’d lived in more than ten different houses (mostly rentals) by the time I was ten years old. And since my father was busy being a doctor, and my brothers and I were kids, all the packing fell on my mom’s shoulders. So yeah, over time she got pretty ruthless about getting rid of things. If I hadn’t played with a toy in over six months, she wanted it gone. There were exceptions, of course, I was allowed my collection of Barbies and my special stuffed animals and my blankie, because I still used them regularly, but everything else came and went. So when I became an adult and got my first apartment, I pretty quickly started collecting things I didn’t really need. And it took a few moves (including the harrowing year where I was stuck in a bedbug-infested building and couldn’t break my lease) before I began to realize just what my mother had been dealing with all those years. I had enough stuff to fill a midsize U-haul truck, and I was living alone with my cat. How much stuff did two adults and three children have? Way too fucking much, I’m sure (which also explains how my favorite teddy bear went missing for 3 years, and only when my mom unpacked an abandoned box in the basement in anticipation of the next move did she find him).

The thing is, even though I’ve started purging during every move, I still end up collecting stuff. It isn’t even a conscious thing for me, most of the time. A lot of stuff is just “oh, I might use that eventually” but then I pack it away and when I need it I have no idea where it is (or even forget I have it), and so I end buying a new one. While going through a bin of things I’d never unpacked from my last move, I found seven sets of stationary. I haven’t written a letter in years (although I do like hand-writing letters). I found a whole box of pens and pencils and markers that I definitely could’ve used for school.

But this time, because of my plans to move overseas, I’m forcing myself to be much more ruthless than before. If it’s something I can buy elsewhere, it goes. If it’s something I haven’t used in a year, it goes. If it serves no discernible purpose and isn’t worth anything, it goes. Kitchen stuff that I can replace easily (plates and bowls and silverware) are going. My Rock Band set for XBox 360 is definitely going (I haven’t used it in years). My board games that I never play (as opposed to the ones I play regularly) are definitely out. I’ve had friends who have been coming by and helping me, reinforcing the purging by asking me if I really NEED such and such (the answer is usually no). And I’ve mostly paid them for their services by giving them anything they want that goes into the “no” pile. 😉 I cut my yarn stash in half and gave the overflow to a friend who crochets. Most of the stationary went to another friend who’s an artist. Most of my furniture is already spoken for as well (and some of it has already been taken, I’m down to only one bookcase).

Everything that’s left is going in a yard sale I’m having tomorrow. I created a Facebook event and invited everyone I know in the area (which ended up being over 40 people), and I’m gonna put up signs at the end of my street to point more my way. I have friends who are going to help me with set up and take down and taking money and stuff (I even have a cash box, I bought it for a bake sale last year). I still have a lot to do before I’m ready for tomorrow, but the yard sale doesn’t start until 10 and my friend is coming at 8:30, so I think between us we’ll manage to get everything done that I don’t manage before I go to bed tonight. 😉 And once it’s over, everything that’s left will get loaded into my car and taken to Goodwill to be donated.

The goal, by the time I move out, is to only have enough stuff (including clothes and cats) to fit in two cars (my stepdad’s SUV and my sedan). So that when I do get a job in Germany, I have less to ship over there (including clothes and cats). I’m not totally sure what I’ll do in the meantime (I’m moving into my mom’s place for a month while I try to find a job, hopefully it’ll only be a month because my two cats and her cat and dog is a lot of animals for a small house), but I’ll deal with it when I get there.

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