Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2014: The Year of the Purge

Well, we’ve done it. We’ve made the move to the Pacific Northwest. However, it hasn’t come without its trials, triumphs, and harsh realizations. The emotional journey really began just a few short weeks ago when I sat in our big, 4-bedroom house in McKinney surrounded by boxes.  Before that, everything was happening so fast that I didn’t even have time to stop and take a breath. Now that it was the evening before the movers would come to pack up the truck, everything was hitting me like a freight train. What are we getting ourselves into?!? Z was in Seattle interviewing for jobs and I wasn’t about to call and lay all this on him during such an important time. So I just sat on our mattress, staring at hundreds of boxes that extended to every corner of the house. I sat there in silence and just contemplated the leap we were about to take. I can probably categorize the wave of emotion hitting me into three very different distinct areas.  I will separate them into different posts so as not to get too lengthy. But the first one, was definitely more about the imminent matter at hand.

Are we HOARDERS????

Now, it’s important to know that Z and I do not collect things. One might think Z collects TCU apparel by all the purple in his closet, but that is not quite accurate. We have never been collectors. In fact, I had always considered us quite good at getting rid of things we don’t need. We go through our closets every year and donate clothes we don’t wear to charity. Before big purchases, we have serious conversations about the difference between want and need. But, on February 4, 2014 I was starting to have doubts. The previous weekend some wonderful ladies from a company called Home Sweet Home had come to help us go through the house and determine how to pare down our items to shift from a 4-bedroom home to a 1-bedroom apartment. In all, we had gotten rid of 2,400 pounds worth of items! When they pulled out of the driveway, Z and I looked at each other and smiled, quite proud of ourselves and all the purging we had done.
However, today I knew it wasn’t enough. We had 154 boxes to take to Seattle with us. How on earth had we accumulated enough stuff to fill 154 boxes? The harsh reality was staring straight at me in the form of cardboard. We were not minimalists. In fact, were we hoarders? We had so many conversations on things we wanted – a new computer, a new ipad, add-ons to my Kitchen Aid mixer… But it was obvious that we already had more than we needed. It was time for us to go through a major purging – time for us to figure out what in life we needed versus what in life we wanted. Previous conversations in that regard had all centered on cost. Is the cost of this item worth our level of need versus our level of want? But we had never truly had the conversation about what we wanted to be surrounded by on a daily basis. Whenever something was in question, the answer was always “Well, we might as well keep it. You never know when we will need it. We have the room, let’s just stick it _____.”

To be honest, we are still going through this process. As we tried to settle into our apartment and unpack boxes, we began by determining whether we would actually use the item on a weekly basis. If the answer was yes, it was definitely staying in the apartment. If it was no, it was going to storage.

But, there is going to come a day when we have to go through that storage unit and figure out what to do with everything. How do you decide? For example, if it’s a broken ceramic item or bowl handed down by your great grandmother… you think it is hideous and would never display it in your home… but do you keep it anyway for sentimental reasons? Do you get rid of things you don’t need right now, but may want or need 5 years from now?

I think this process of purging has been an eye opener for me. (And, maybe it’s a little bit of the hippy nature of Seattle influencing me as well.) But I think it’s time we simplify our lives. Simplify what we eat, simplify what we do, simplify our priorities and simplify our goals. This move to Seattle was already a big part of that – it allows us to focus on our relationship and our life together as a couple, what we want to make of it. I think, if we focus on keeping the things in our lives that enhance our lives, enhance our relationship and get rid of anything that goes against that… that would be a really good start to this roller coaster!