A guest post by Josh Martin of Josh Martin Ink
I’ve bounced around a lot in my youth, moving from one place to the next. While each move comes with its share of challenges, they are also great reminders of how much stuff we’ve accumulated and a wakeup call to the need to purge and declutter. I’m planning on moving again in the not too distant future. I just know I’m going to be shocked at how much stuff I own once I start emptying the closets and drawers.
I remember my first real move on my own. I left my family home and moved into residence as a first-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. That move required no more than the hatchback and back seat of my Mom’s tiny, bright yellow Geo Metro. My clothes, a few personal effects and a plant for my room in Willison Hall.
My next move was in second year when I moved out of residence and into a house with five other roommates. A bit more involved this time. My clothes, more of my personal effects now that I had a bit more space, a bed and a desk. My plant, owing to the fact that I don’t have any semblance of a green thumb, was long dead by this point.
The year after that I moved down the street to another house. I had to beg the help of a couple friends but even so we were able to move all my stuff without a van. Besides a few odd looks I got as I marched down Marshall Street carrying my mattress on my head, the move went smoothly.
After graduation I went to Taiwan to teach English. It was a great opportunity to declutter since I wasn’t going to bring furniture and the such with me to Asia. I was down to a backpack and it felt great.
Returning to Canada the following year, I moved into an apartment and my possessions slowly crept up on me. I moved to my next place – still in the same neighbourhood – with the help of a few shopping carts. The move after that I needed to borrow my friend’s truck. And the one after that I needed to rent a cargo van.
Getting my first well-paying job in Toronto, I found myself a nice, big apartment. And with the big apartment came the “need” to fill it with furniture. By the time I moved again I needed a giant U-Haul. It took two trips and I even managed to crash it into a display of windshield washer fluid when I tried to gas it up.
Naturally, the more stuff I had, the harder and more expensive the moves became. How did I go from a shopping cart to needing a 20 foot U-Haul? And when I reflect on it, am I any happier now in my large, 2-bedroom apartment than I was living in my cramped room in University? I may not have had much, but I also never laughed so hard or had so much fun as I did in those days.
So if you’re planning a move soon, take some time to really wrestle with the clutter question. Plan ahead and see it as a great opportunity to declutter. Reconsider buying that big house, knowing that it will mean filling it with more stuff you don’t need. And see your new home as a fresh start to be disciplined about stemming the flow of accumulation.
As my next move approaches (and I know, I do move a lot), I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with my 22-year-old self and his trusty shopping cart.
Josh Martin is a humourist and blogger about simple living and making the most out of life. You can find more of his work at www.joshmartinink.com.
Today’s Declutter Item
Finally I think this is the last of the Snoopy Collection. Now if only I could say that about the baseball souvenirs and the craft supplies, but I am working on that.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
A lovely sunny day but not too hot.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast