We only have about two months before we leave this house and move up to North Carolina. The house that we will be moving into for the next year is fully furnished, with little room for extra stuff. More likely than not, most of what we’ve surrounded ourselves with in our present house will be packed up into storage for quite some time.
When I look around at all that stuff, I am torn. On one hand, it’s a daunting task–trying to figure out what to hold onto, and what to cast off.
But then I have this fleeting thought: wouldn’t it be easier to just let it all go?
I mean: if I were really to embrace minimalism, what would I really need to hold onto? Take all those books that I’ve been trying to chip away at, little by little. Would I really miss them if I were to clear out the entire lot?
And so on.
Of course, I don’t think I am really ready for that extreme a move–and I’m not sure it would really be the best solution to living more simply and deliberately.
It’s a question of balance and moderation.
So tonight, I took on a little task, but one that I could attack with a little more gusto than, say, my books.
Tucked away under the desk upstairs are three milk crates, dating back more than twenty years to grad school. They have traveled with me through four different moves. Two of them I use as makeshift shelves for (what else?) book overflow. The third one holds piles of old papers–newspaper and magazine clippings from my days as a freelance writer. I also have two briefcase-sized portable folio boxes, stuffed with duplicate checks, bank statements and other “important” papers.
Without too much thought, I managed to shed the two crates of books down to a single crate. Most of the bank statements etc. went straight into a bag to be shred at some future date. And the stacks of old news clippings? I couldn’t commit to sorting through those (and I do think there’s some enduring value in these old pieces of writing), so I tucked them all into the two now-empty folio boxes.
The net result? I’ve eliminated two milk crates, a handful of books (plus some old magazines I was holding onto for no good reason), and half a bag’s worth of shred-worthy documents.
Not bad for a moderate night’s work!