We did it. It was a struggle and there were a few miscommunication errors, but we did it. We moved from one side of the city to another in an afternoon. Currently the house is filled to the 11 ft ceiling with boxes and furniture, but we’re slowly unpacking. I foresee a few weekends of refining, moving furniture around, re-moving the furniture back to its original space, and then settling, but it’s an exciting process.
Having realised how many boxes I had packed (and subsequently now had to unpack) I made the conscious decision to unburden myself of a few items. I had screenshotted the list and sent it to my housemate – someone I knew would be ruthless in holding me accountable to my decision. While some of the list was easy enough to do (like getting rid of yarn) there were items on the list that hurt to write. I had to swallow my pride and accept the fact I was not living the minimalistic life I pretended I was living. Not everything I own is useful, serves a purpose, or brings me joy. It was finally time for me to take stock of my belongings and cull.
As mentioned in my previous post, I own a LOT of books. I also own a lot more DVDs than I thought I did, which I can thankfully sell for a few bob down at the local pawn shop. But the thing that blew my mind was how much technology I owned. It had somehow managed to moved from Adelaide to Melbourne, to three houses without me ever really taking note of how much there was. I started going through it all yesterday and ended up recycling* 5 kilos of unusable, dead, outdated tech. I even managed to give away a never-before-used mobile phone to a friend.
Clearing out that kind of clutter made me realise that, while I practice mindfulness and preach minimalism, and while I don’t think I own a lot of things, smaller things – weirdly sentimental things – fly under the radar. I ended up throwing out the laptop my dad bought me from my 18th birthday. It didn’t turn on unless the power cable was held in one awkward position and the keyboard didn’t function, so I couldn’t hit enter on any of the reboot settings. My techy friends couldn’t help either. Why did I still have it? I remember the day the laptop packed it in and died. But dad had given it to me, and I previously hadn’t been ready to let go. The time just finally felt right.
I found identical phones from 2009 and 2011, respectively. I charged them while watching Man Down (Greg Davies – my man), and was amused by the amass of texts I’d kept from people I don’t even remotely remember. The phones were wiped and recycled. In another box I came across 2 different generation iPhones; completely dead, on-button jammed and un-usable. They got recycled. I found two small tablet/laptops that screamed bloody murder if you tried to turn them on. No boot up screen, no sign of life other than a violent high-pitched “please lord kill me” scream. Why did I still have them? I must have known they were dead the first time that happened. In the recycle box they went. Cable, after phone, after dead charging port, after laptop. In the box they went.
After two hours I had the 5 kilo box of tech to recycle, a recharged and working Fitbit, and a sense of accomplishment. I’d even managed to select 20 books I would admittedly probably never read… probably. I’d added them to the “To Donate” pile. I’d called my mum and set aside the few DVDs she wanted and put the rest in the “To Sell” pile. I was, and am, well on my way to completing my list. In some ways, I’ve surpassed my expectations for certain categories.
There are obviously things I haven’t gotten around to yet – like my grandmothers jewellery or my fathers clothes. I don’t think I will for a while, to be honest. I may deliberately make them the last boxes I open, the last bag I unpack. But I will get around to it eventually. I was able to let go of small pieces of memories over the course of the day and over the years I’ve gotten better. It’s a slow process.
I’m looking forward to downsizing more, and I’m proud of how ruthless I got during the culling. I’m intrigued to see what else I can cull and get rid of with an equal amount of ruthlessness. What have you culled out of your life recently? What have you been putting off going through? Any secret draws? a filing cabinet full of old documents? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, stay silly xx
*by recycle I mean they went to a technology recycling depot, not your every day household recycling bin. Please recycle your technology responsibly.