After years of buying books, reading magazines, and watching TV shows about banishing clutter, downsizing, and getting rid of things, I’m being forced into acting on that knowledge. When I move to Ukraine in November, our plan (hope? dream?) is to do so with just four suitcases. One of them is already occupied with scuba gear, so that leaves three to divy up space for the essentials: winter clothes, dissertation books, toiletries, and a list of personal items that I’m trying to limit.

Other reading? That’s what my Nook’s for (both buying e-books and borrowing them online–I love libraries!!). Dishes, linens, furniture? A furnished apartment should satisfy those needs. Photos? Trying to scan any that I don’t already have in digital format. Music, movies? We’re nearly done digitizing those. Art? Lending out pieces we have here, and hoping to make/buy small pieces while there.

It’s making the decisions and, even more so, physically getting rid of things that’s the most difficult part. I don’t mean it’s hard to say “we don’t need this” as much as it’s hard to see the stacked pile of items in my garage and make the time to take them to Goodwill, recycle them, photograph and Craigslist them, to figure out how to responsibly pass them on to a new home rather than do the easy thing and take a 40-foot U-Haul truck to the city dump. Fantasies of being hooded for my PhD and publishing my novel are now competeing with the dream-vision of walking away from this house with four suitcases in my (for sale!) vehicle.

I currently have at least ten different text files on my iPhone alone dealing with packing, liquidating possessions, what to do before moving. I’m writing about this process because 1) it’s the most pressing matter on my brain, pushing out all other concerns like breathing and working, 2) I figure some peeps out there have great ideas about how to do this better, faster, more responsibly, (Amanda W, I’m looking at you!) and 3) …I already forgot what this third point was, because there’s no space in my brain with all that STUFF there.

The awesome part of this, though, is that I know eventually, at some future happy date, it will be DONE. It won’t be perfect, there are already more boxes in my storage unit than I really want to hang onto, but it is already better than it was. I already have a second guest room and an empty walk-in closet where once there was a place called The Box Room, into which a single person could barely walk/climb. I have already sorted and filed nearly every piece of paper in our house (the laundry room, oddly enough, is the last bastion of Mysterious Files of Unknown Origin). I will make progress. It will get better. And one day, I’ll leave this house I’ve loved, lock the door behind me, and know that there is nothing in it left to hold me to my old life. And I’ll look ahead.

Fear. Adventure. Terror. Excitement. Hope. Relief. Grief. Joy. Take your pick of emotions, I’m running through them on a minute-by-minute basis!


7 thoughts on “Simplify

  1. Tigpan says:

    Amanda W here to save the day. 🙂 Or at least help pray you through it! Ok…tomorrow night – after work…got time? Or thursday….call me/text me.

  2. Claire says:

    This is a great post, Starr! I live with you and STILL can’t even quite fathom the stress you must be going through right now. Just remember, I’m always here for you (even if I’m ensconced in eyes-glazed-over writerland; just bonk me on the head with something!). So so SO proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished!

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