Life changes. And as it does, we also change. Sometimes that means we have to move. Maybe we need more space. Maybe we’re changing jobs and have to relocate. Maybe our relationship has ended and we’ve got to hit the road. Inevitably we’re faced with packing up. And as we pack we think to ourselves, “Damn, I’ve got a lot of shite!”
So here’s a question you should ask yourself as you walk around your home: Would I pay to have that moved? (It’s also a great question to ask yourself when your consumption bug stings you.)
I’ve moved about a dozen times in my life. And having a real life – kids, furniture worth something, more books than I can count – I am way past the point where I can order in two pizzas and have some friends over to move me. Nope, I’ve got to pay professionals to haul my stuff from hither to yon. Now that I’m empty-nesting (my last kid’s just headed off to college) I’m thinking it’s time to get rid of a pile of crap before I have to pay someone to move it AGAIN! After all, if I am not willing to pay someone to move it for me, why am I keeping it?
Do you have things in your home you’re not prepared to pay to have moved? How many glasses, mugs, and plates do you need? How many CDs, DVDs, books and magazines? Do you have furniture piled up in the basement that would do someone else some good? Time to take some pictures and get ready to sell or gift away the things that aren’t of value to you anymore. Sure, that set of china was lovely when you got it, but since you never use it (it’s a pain in the butt to hand wash) it just sits waiting for the next time you’ll have to pay to have it moved. Ditto the eight tablecloths, two dozen towels, piles and piles of sheets and pillowcases… and don’t even get me started on the clothes and shoes.
If you’ve been hauling stuff around with you – or dusting it resentfully — because you just cannot seem to let it go, it may be hard to cut the ties that bind. Research shows that possessions say a lot about how we feel about ourselves. They help us to define who we are and to make statements about how we wish to be perceived by others.
Most of us are quite skilled at reading the meaning of objects. We make judgments about people based on what they are wearing, what kind of car they drive, and where they live. While the judgments we make can be incorrect as often as not, they still play a big part in our assessment of others. For many of us, they play a big part in our assessment of ourselves.
Today, take a walk around your home. Choose just one thing from each room that you wouldn’t pack and put those things in a box. Tomorrow, do it again. And the next day. At the end of the week decide if you’ll sell some of those things (to help pay off the credit card you used to buy them), or gift them to your local thrift shop. Maybe you’ll have a garage sale. Maybe you’ll just invite friends and family to drop over for a cup of tea to scrounge through the stuff you no longer need or want.
As you move through your home choosing things you wouldn’t pay to move, carry one of these questions around in your mind with you:
- So, how important is your stuff to you?
- How many things are on your “I wish I could have” list and where will you put them?
- What have you bought that you really couldn’t afford, but just had to have anyway?
- How much of what you have would you be willing to sell to help someone (a family member, a friend, a stranger) buy food or shelter?
- When was the last time you used that “whatever” that you just had to have when you bought it?
When you’ve worked through all the questions, and all your rooms, how much less stuff do you have? Look at the stuff that you’ve decided to sell or give away and assess your spending habits to evaluate what kinds of things you spend money on. Consider how changing those habits will positively affect your budget.
How do you feel now?