I’ve moved 8 times in the last 6 years. Every time, I somehow manage to package my life into a few boxes, bags, and loose bundles of stuff. Every time, it seems simple at first — looking around, I have a cup on the counter, some spices, tea, and chocolate in the cabinet, a few scant pieces of furniture, and seemingly not much else. A few shelves’ worth of books, some toiletries, and cookware. Oh, and a full closet of clothes (plus overflow on a shelf, on the floor, or left in the dryer from the last time I did laundry) … the sheer amount of stuff I have only becomes apparent as I take everything out of its hiding place in drawers, shelves, and nooks, laying it bare on my countertop and floor.

I’m very conscious of this because I don’t like having stuff. I certainly like the idea of having less stuff in my life, and often wish I had fewer, painstakingly-researched items rather than the smorgasbord of mismatches and seemed-like-a-good-deal-at-the-time things I’ve somehow accumulated. Carrying around a bunch of stuff that doesn’t inspire joy feels oppressive, almost as if the items have become an unpleasant part of my identity. It probably doesn’t help that every time I pick up an item, my mind starts thinking about how I could use the thing in the future, or what-ifs where I would need the thing, overlooking the fact that I haven’t actually used the thing in years.

During my most recent move, I got rid anything that I hadn’t used in the past year, although there were certainly many times when I tried very hard to talk myself out of doing so. Now that it’s done, I’m glad to have been able to get rid of a small closet’s worth of stuff. Next, as I unpack, I’m planning to go through everything meticulously, and hope to repeat that accomplishment.

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