I was cleaning, condensing, and preparing for a move. I’d been in my home with my three children for 10 years. In the last three years my boyfriend had joined the mix and his 21 year old son stayed for short stints here and there. Tommy was currently staying.
I was moving into a girlfriend’s open basement. I had room for a few of my favorite things (actually, quite a few) but no room for fluff. Reducing to half my household content was the goal.
I had a staging area in the garage. As the closets got cleaned and cleared, every item was placed into boxes and piles: trash, goodwill/arc, Tommy’s pile, Jeff’s (my ex) pile, kid piles (Kaiti, Kyle, Justin), long-term storage, and immediate access pile.
Tommy had been bouncing back and forth between Colorado Springs, Monument, Denver, and Fort Collins. He traveled light and most of his things he’d left in storage—in my garage. His pile was growing. He was looking forward to a steady home-base in the Springs and was collecting his things when I showed up to help him sort.
I was lamenting on how easy it was for him to simply grab a few items and go. If only I were so unencumbered! I was sorting through ten years of memorabilia.
As Tommy was deciding what to take with him, I requested “If you don’t want to take it, then please don’t leave it,” not wanting to move one more item than necessary. He felt the same. Tommy took time to choose what he needed for his new place, sorted through items no longer needed and cleaned out as well.
We should all be required to clean up and out every ten years or so. Efficiency experts will say “what you own owns you,” and if you want to simplify your life, cleaning up and moving out is freeing. We all need to take responsibility for our junk: use it or get rid of it.
And no one gets to leave their junk behind!