About a year ago I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and loved it. I got Andy on board and we kondoed our whole house. We probably got rid of eight giant trash bags worth of stuff--clothes, books, papers.
I loved our newly decluttered house. It was so much easier to keep tidy and clean. It was easy to find things. I spent less money. I loved my possessions so much more.
I floated on a cloud of magical tidying joy until this year, when we needed to pack up all of our possessions to move across the country. I had never moved a whole house before, but I wasn’t worried. We didn’t own that much stuff to begin with, and we had whittled it down in our kondoing process. We lived in a cabin with a small kitchen and small closets and where could things even hide?
Then we started packing boxes. My in-laws came to help and did a lot while I was at work. I came home, and I could not believe the pile of boxes. How did we own so much stuff? Where did it all come from?
As the pile grew bigger, I felt worse and worse. I wasn’t supposed to have this much stuff! I was supposed to be living an easy, minimalistic life! What even was in all of these boxes? Why hadn’t I gotten rid of all this junk?
I was feeling very burdened, and kind of like I wanted to push everything I owned off a cliff. That would free me up for my ideal move, in which Andy and I would drive one car full of neatly labeled boxes containing our twenty-three most joy sparking possessions. Blissssssss.
Reality was not nearly so neat. Instead we had an unwieldy mountain of possessions, and a box labeling system that quickly broke down. Initially there were boxes with labels like “books” and “plates.” By the end I had a box that contained books, a tea kettle, my swimsuit, and post-it notes. Is there even any sense to labeling that? What is the point of owning anything?
Just as I was about to take a precipitous vow of poverty while setting all my possessions ablaze, I began thinking through my discomfort. I realized that I did love all of my possessions. I just did not love moving all of my possessions. And that’s ok! Possessions are not for moving; possessions are for using and enjoying. That’s why moving is so universally known to be terrible.
But when we get to Wheaton, I will be very glad that I still own towels and sheets and plates and books, and even the more awkwardly-shaped things like my stand mixer and my crockpot and my Dutch oven.
So I am giving up on my perfectionist (and arsonistic) visions of the perfect move to instead focus on more realistic visions of a perfectly adequate but still complicated move combined with a comfortable life on the other side where I still own blankets and can make meals in a crock pot. And life will be good, at least until it’s time to move again.