This is a post from Make Love, Not Debt staff blogger, Abby.
You rarely realize how much crap you’ve accumulated in any period of time until you have to pack up and relocate said crap. While I pride myself on keeping an immaculate house and all of my possessions in their tidy, perfect, obsessive-compulsive places, I recently discovered that I am, in fact, a secret hoarder.
The housing in which my husband and I currently reside (for one more day) will be undergoing renovations this coming year, and as a result, we’re being relocated to other housing. This isn’t too much of an inconvenience, and when we heard the news, I decided to view it as an opportunity to purge what “small” quantity of stuff I had held onto unnecessarily from our previous move. I’ve always thought of myself as fairly unsentimental when it comes to personal possessions – I can easily dispose of magazines once my newest issue arrives; I’m fairly good at consigning and donating clothes I haven’t worn in a year, etc. And I had, I thought, been keeping this up over the last few years.
Until recently. While going through my clothes, I marvelled at the quantity of items I really hadn’t worn in ages. This velvet blazer, bought on sale at J.Crew that I thought I’d wear all fall and winter long? I’ve worn it maybe twice in five years. (This means it had an alarmingly high cost-per-wear, which I generally try to keep as low as possible.) These ill-fitting turtlenecks that I bought at the Gap and which ended up stretching out after one use? Off to consignment.
On and on it went, and that was only the clothing. Last night I turned my attention to a box into which I’d been jamming anything of sentimental value. What if I wanted to hold onto it? What if in thirty years all I missed in this world was that postcard from a college friend that I threw away? This had been my justification for years of what basically amounts to organized hoarding. So last night I tackled it head on. One hour later, surrounded by a pile of things I didn’t even realize I’d kept since high school and college, and towards which I felt no emotional attachment, I got a garbage bag and asked my husband to help me load everything in.
“So we’re basically throwing away your entire dorm room.”
The monetary loss from these items which I no longer need to tote with me through each and every move was small – postcards I’d collected, photos of friends I have on my computer. But it made me realize just how easy it can be to purchase things I think I’ll need and use forever (blazers, sweaters, decorative items) when in fact, I’ll just be tossing them with my next move. If I’m trying to be more conscious about my spending on clothing, then I’ll be doing this doubly so with everything else in my life. We may be gaining more space in our move, but I’d like to be more careful about what I carelessly collect and keep.
Have you ever been surprised by how much you own, and how much of it you really don’t need?
image: Editor B