Need to drastically downsize. Am actively eager to drastically downsize. Totally aware of the emotional and psychological implications and pitfalls of downsizing. So why is it still so hard? Scratch that. How do I make it less hard?
posted by mie to Health & Fitness (47 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I am oh so very special a snowflake, in my typical verbose and semi-coherent way. Behold the delicate articulation of my icy branches.
Okay, so, the basics: crappy health, no income, dwindling resources, impending homelessness, disaster, and associated Bad Stuff. Ray of light streaming from the heavens: a friend who's willing to take me in and help keep a roof over my head as I figure out what to do next. Side effect of this: I need to get rid of virtually all - let's say 99.5% of my possessions. Due to various unexpected circumstances, I need to make this happen entirely under my own steam, and within the next twenty days (technically, twenty-nine, but I need a few days of leeway in there).
Note, in passing, that this is my own choice: various parties have been supportive as regards transporting my belongings - I just cannot justify the expense involved in either moving or storing the stuff.
See, I'm a packrat from a long line of packrats, and so have acquired the tendency to accumulate stuff... compounded by the fact that when I made my break from the ancestral hive, I did so with virtually no belongings, and so I've tended to cling even more to the stuff I've gathered since then. However, I also have an INCREDIBLE mental block when it comes to moving - which has led to numerous moves in which someone else has helped pack my stuff, and the resultant boxes somehow never got unpacked. So I've paid to haul and move and store stuff in boxes that I can't even identify, for years and years, and the idea of hauling it to YET ANOTHER PLACE - this time cross-country instead of cross-town - I just cannot bring myself to do it, even if the money or opportunity to do so presented themselves.
Compounding all the run-of-the-mill packrat crap is the longstanding dynamic between me and a family member where said family member INSISTED on sending gifts of various sorts over the course of many years - nice things, don't get me wrong, but not necessarily my taste, and definitely not things I needed - and continued to do so even when I specifically requested that she stop doing so. Said family member has long since crossed the line from packrat to hoarder to OMG how do you even live that way, and I am TERRIFIED of ending up the same way, particularly when I look at my spare room filled with perpetually-packed boxes and realize that it has already begun to happen. I know, beyond all doubt, that the nonstop barrage of gifts represented in part an attempt at emotional manipulation, I've since terminated contact with said family member, and I am fully on board with the idea of NOT guilting myself into keeping things I don't like and can't easily transport - and then I actually go to do it, and I guess I get caught up in some misty ideal of the emotion I wished had been behind the gift or something, and arrrrrrgh, me hearties, it's like walkin' the plank.
You'd think that once you'd identified the deep-seated underlying emotional issue, reached a reasonable level of acceptance and begun the process of actively initiating change, the hard part would be over, yeah? AND YOU WOULD BE SO VERY, VERY WRONG.
Blah blah blah and woe is me and so forth; you get my drift. So the question is, how do I tackle the emotional angst of OMG SELLING/GIVING/THROWING THINGS AWAY, combined with the mental block against packing, combined with my crappy health which makes simple things like tossing stuff into a trash bag non-trivial... while at the same time minimizing the spasm of OMG GUILT AND SHAME that I feel every time I toss a shiny thing into the "get rid of" box?
I mean, yeah, no two ways about it, there is no way that the next month is NOT going to suck. I am simply hoping for any spark of insight that any and all might have to offer on ways I might possibly make it suck less, in terms of attitude, approach, coping mechanisms, possible methods of getting rid of the stuff that I might not have thought of, y'know, anything.
Give me strength, Metafilter. Bestow upon me the wisdom of your awesome hive mind. Tell me, with power and passion: tell me that I do not need that half-bottle of color-enriched shampoo to enhance the red hair I haven't had for a decade, or the remains of a prescription from 1998, or that comb that used to be my favorite until I broke three teeth off it and used it to mix paint. Tell me that I do not need the faux neon halloween cat, the animatronic pirate, the three Wal-Mart christmas trees that I acquired over three consecutive years because I couldn't find the one I'd bought the year before. Tell me, nay, IMPLORE me to remember that it has been ten years since I acquired that traffic light and vowed to install a lighting controller to make it work, and thus it is virtually impossible, at this point, that it will ever actually happen. Remind me, one more time, just in case I've forgotten, that even if by some chance I happen to drop four clothing sizes, those jeans that used to be so comfy are never going to fit the same way they once did, and anyway have you ever noticed that gaping hole going all the way across the seat? Help me, O Metafilter; help me find my way through the miasma of Cool but Ultimately Useless Stuff to a bright and shiny future with Only As Much Stuff As I Actually Need And Can Realistically Expect To Move From One Place To Another.
Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions no matter how sensible or bizarre, and I hope I managed to make my tale of misery and woe at least minimally entertaining. =)