Letting Go and Moving On

When I moved on campus at Purdue University in 1997, my entire life was split between a dorm room and a small storage unit. Everything I owned would fit in a single room. My clothes fit nicely in a dorm room closet and small chest of drawers. I did not own a lot. When I moved out of the dorm room, I was able to fit just about everything, including the small chest of drawers, in the back of my 1996 Chevy Cavalier. 

Fast forward ten years, on a move from a 3 bedroom home into a 2 bedroom townhouse, I used the largest moving van they had. It was filled to the top, as well as the 2005 Jeep Liberty I towed behind it. In ten years, the amount of stuff I owned grew beyond my own belief. 

When I moved into my small two bedroom apartment on Halloween 2009, I was very sick, so I just told people to just put things wherever. When I was able to live in my apartment a month later, I was literally overwhelmed over how much stuff I had acquired. I had downsized my living quarters, yet my possessions still represented the life I lived in the 3 bedroom house. 

I cannot begin to express how much has been donated to Goodwill and how much has been left at the neighborhood trash compactor. The whole process freeing. There were boxes that had not been opened since they left the trunk of that Cavalier in May 2000 when I graduated from Purdue. In other words, what I had collected in that time really didn't have a use.

I was also surprised at how much I had collected had no real value at all. In fact, a lot of it was just junk. A lot of my junk was paper clutter. I had kept every paper I had submitted in college, as well as most of the books. And let's not talk about the books. People who helped me move each time often complained about the number of books I had. 

With a move looming on the horizon this summer, the need to declutter is even more dire. I need to ensure that I don't keep just moving stuff that will go unused or unnecessary. I need to ensure that my move is as smooth as smooth can be. I need to discard the things I no longer have a use. I need to rid myself of things I no longer love. I need pare down my life once again.

Someone recently had told the story of an aunt who's life easily fit in the trunk of a car. Her life was so uncluttered that she had room in it to love on others. Her funeral was well attended with many speaking of the endless love she poured on people, and not on stuff. I want to be like that. Someone who is thought of as giving much love to people in her life, rather than to stuff.


  1. hate seeing no comments....so here's one for you....it's not a physical thing....it's a mental thing....that makes you attached to things....some things are memories...and we think we won't remember without something physical there....but memories will still be in the memory banks with or without the stuff....so the question is this....how much do you need to keep to feel like you're not losing part of your life?

    1. Very good question, Daniel! I know that photos of the best memories make wonderful collages to hang in frames on the wall, or wonderful scrapbooks. I know that a special nick knack that you love doesn't have to be given away. It is just asking yourself do I really love that piece.


Post a Comment