I feel like I am on the way to truly minimising my stuff. Over the weekend I began the tedious task in my storage unit of dividing things to sell, recycle, donate or keep. I was feeling very much on top of things, only to then have to put it all back in when the property was closing. Today I returned with a friend without much of a mission except that I needed her help.
This is why it’s useful to have friends, folks. We began pulling things out and I would say oh, this goes with that, and she would offer to put them together, leaving me to move on to something else. For 10 years I have always been alone in my journeys of sorting through my stuff in the 2 units I’ve had, so although the extra help was new, I took advantage very quickly and soon we were spread out down the hall with piles, including some small bags to take home. It was so wonderful having someone willing to do that for me.
One thing I found surprisingly hard was to divide up my stripey $2 bag filled with packaging – a small mountain of bubble wrap and newspapers that I would draw from on occasion to wrap something delicate. Well I told myself, ‘guess what honey, its all wrapped in boxes now so this is extra, THROW IT!’ Funny how having a little box of newspapers to recycle and a little bag of plastic bags and bubble wrap to recycle at the local supermarket into furniture and other products, made me feel overwhelmingly like I had begun the process of not just recognising that things need to go, but actually acting on it.
With my friend, we went through my pile of clothes and shoes for donation to the local charity store, some food I need to use up to join the toiletry products I also need to use up this month, before I relocate overseas, and brought home some plastic recyclable food containers I could donate to our hostel, for the other travellers to store their food in.
How cathartic does it feel to identify 6 bags of ‘stuff’ I didn’t want or could use up quickly, just like that? Magic.
With my friend’s help we also unloaded all the things I wanted to sell and made a list and took pictures so I could come home to actually do it. We also carried home a bag of electrical cords and cables that I can sort through, and a doona blanket I can take to the Laundromat to wash before selling.
Happy day! I can sort through the bag of cables tonight and remind myself what fits with what, and add to my little e-waste recycling pile for those extras I don’t need (which are plenty) and upload my pictures to start the ball rolling with selling on e-bay and gumtree.
Sadly, within weeks of writing this post, my international job fizzled out. It had been a job offered through a contact of mine, though I hadn’t actually seriously considered going abroad again until they reached out to me.
I learned important lessons from the experience. I learned that my future could go either way, remain in Australia or go somewhere else. I learned I was largely prepared to do it, even at short notice. I saw the bigger picture of what was important to me. Hint: it wasn’t storage or clutter related. I established a clear list of what I could do should I be removed from my stuff geographically. I made some headway in working out what I had in my unit: what was of value or use to me and what was not, made piles to clear, and even cleared some.
This was important for the journey to come in the months ahead, both for mentally decluttering my things and for my career choices.