The Purge: 2014

The best part of moving by far is the Purge.  I’ve moved, as a married person, three times, and this will be the fourth time.  We started with having very little and hanging on to ALL of it.  You never know when you might need a 2 foot piece of 2” x 4”.  There didn’t seem to be much sense in giving away that half of a bottle of olive oil.  That stuff is expensive, and we were paying for the UHaul, anyway.

This time, we are older. We have the same dog and car, but we also have two smallish children and a lot more material possessions.  It is liberating to give away so much to others.  I don’t know why we wait to move to do this.

It all starts when I am cleaning.  Regular housework, I am talking about.  I would normally chuck the toys into one of four storage ottomans and call it good.  That’s what we have them for, after all.  But now, I have a new perspective.  I think “Hmm…this is a toy that isn’t really played with and doesn’t need to be packed and unpacked later, and I can donate this to the thrift store.”  This holds true with so many household goods. 

We have already been thinking our bowls and plates are usable but not the greatest.  In that light, why not donate to the Goodwill and then get different used dishes once we get to our new digs?  Window treatments, the lawnmower, those extra planting pots, and let’s get real – why DO I save baby clothes?  I mean, there is a baby that could use those threads I have hoarded away in a box.  If there is one thing that “What Not to Wear” has taught me it’s that clothing doesn’t need to have sentimental value.  Clothing is a need, and now that my kids aren’t 3 months old, they can never wear that onesie again.  It feels good to give someone the baby and toddler clothes, as others have done for me over the years, versus shaking my head every time I look at the box in the closet.

One starts to wonder if it’s really worth the hassle of unpacking and organizing and trying to find a new place for it in a different home?  I have found that often we ended up donating once we got to the new state.  So this time I’m ditching the items we don’t use anymore and plan on making one of the freshest starts we ever have. 

As much as I like having my own place and my own things to help keep me secure feeling, I do aspire to have better adjusted children.  I hope to teach them, somehow, to be sure-footed in times of change, and that materialism can be enjoyable but not all there is to life.  I crave serenity over security these days.

The last time I did this, I was 17.  My parents had listed the house for sale as part of their pending divorce settlement.  I literally was about to live on the road out of a van and a tent.  (It was fine and not as dire as it might sound.)  It felt really amazing to give away furniture, pare down belongings, and realize that memorabilia does not include every stuffed animal I ever collected.  Sure, I kept some things that ended up going down in one large Volkswagen flame, but that’s another story.  This was a huge change from growing up in suburbia and having all the spoils that go with that.  At first, to transcend was awful.  Then, it was truly freeing.  Nothing left to clean up inside the house or put away.  Hitting the open road and having just two backpacks.  

I feel another big purge, and I welcome it.  It’s ritualistic, cleansing, starting over, and beginning anew as we move on this spring. Sure we won’t have just two backpacks per person, but I hope to free us from that which weighs us down and is a burden.  With any luck, unpacking will be more a matter of rediscovering the things that we appreciate and less of a set of chores.


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