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The Emotional Bondage of Stuff, or, Why am I having so much trouble getting rid of things I don't really like, never wanted in the first place, and actively want to discard?
January 31, 2012 6:46 PM   Subscribe

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?

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. =)
posted by mie to Health & Fitness (47 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Imagine your house burned down and you lost everything. How would you feel? I am guessing, you would be at least a little bit relieved. Think about that for a while.

More practical suggestion: the boxes that you have been carting around without opening - don't open them. Chuck them out without looking. You don't even remember what's in there anyway, and if you haven't needed it in this long, you won't ever need it. There is almost nothing you can't rebuy later if necessary, anyway.

Everything else: take photos, then throw away.

Also, the friends who have offered to store or help you move things: enlist their help to get rid of things instead. Put everything you are going to throw out in one room and ask them to get it from there to the dumpster or to the rubbish tip.

Good luck.
posted by lollusc at 6:51 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


(And when I said "dumpster", I meant of course, only if it's not worth donating. Donate stuff first. And if you can, be present at the drop off to the charity shop. It's a warm fuzzy feeling to see them being happy about your stuff.)
posted by lollusc at 6:53 PM on January 31, 2012


various parties have been supportive as regards transporting my belongings - I just cannot justify the expense involved in either moving or storing the stuff.

Would any of those various parties also be supportive as regards transporting your belongings to a donation center instead of moving or storing the stuff?

On preview, part of what lollusc said.
posted by treblemaker at 6:53 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


call a charity that will send a truck and a couple of guys. salvation army? shouldn't be too hard to find. go out for a walk while they're loading.

as for the emotional part - if you were being crushed under a mountain of garbage, wouldn't you feel incredible relief if it were magically lifted off of you? this is the *best thing* that's ever happened to you. try and keep that in mind.
posted by facetious at 7:05 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you'll say where you're located, I'll bet there are mefites (or even someone on craigslist) who'd be willing to help you. Maybe someone starting a new organizing business, for a well-written referral?

Are you in Colorado? Memail me. I live to throw away stuff.

There's a great post somewhere in the archives where a brilliant person said that he owns everything he wants ... it's just stored on amazon and ebay, etc.

I wish you peace and happiness and wonder in your new journey.
posted by cyndigo at 7:07 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


What if you did the reverse of what you're planning?

That is, rather than packing up stuff to get rid of, pack ONLY stuff you're going to keep.

Then -- Hire a portable dumpster for a few days, that a company will put in your driveway. And throw away EVERYTHING you didn't pack to keep. Keep a camera on hand to snap photos of things you want to remember, then tell yourself you'll make a scrapbook or album of the things you threw away.

The dumpster company will then haul the dumpster away. Problem solved.
posted by jayder at 7:09 PM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


lollusc: If it burned down, I would be THRILLED. (Assuming, of course, no harm done to people or animals, etc.) Yeah, no, like I said, I've been onboard with this for a long time. And yet there is a MASSIVE difference between the concept and the reality of holding something in my hands and choosing to discard it or give it away. I sort of expected it, but not to this degree.

I agree: it'd be great to just dump those boxes sight unseen - and it may yet come to that. However, unfortunately, there is a VAST range of content in those boxes - and a few things of great sentimental value I would strongly prefer not to lose - along with the potential for "personal" material I might not want ending up in some random party's hand, which makes me leery of donating boxes of unknown content. (Offhand I can't think of anything specific, but that's not necessarily meaningful.) If I can't go through the boxes individually for whatever reason, I almost have to have the stuff disposed of via some means I can be assured will destroy the stuff - and pay for the privilege of having potentially donatable stuff destroyed - which just really irks me, but if it comes to that, I'll do what I have to do.

I've talked to a number of charities that do donation pickups - and surprisingly, none of them have any mechanism to handle a situation in which someone both has items to donate and also has stuff that just needs to be hauled away, even for a price. Most charities will take some things and not others, which is fine but leaves me with the matter of dealing with the rest. I have already started to list a couple of easily-detachable "major" items for sale in various places - not expecting to see any significant financial benefit, but even a few bucks would be awesome. In other words, yeah, agreed, and I'm nibbling at the situation from as many different angles as possible.

But while the logistics are tricky, it's the emotional impact that's really taking its toll. Not only do I have to deal with the (to me) physical exertion of sorting and moving things, but also repeated blunt emotional trauma with every remotely emotionally-laden "thing" that finds its way into my hands. I really need to kick that down a few notches and develop calluses - FAST - and not quite getting a grip on how. Nnngh.
posted by mie at 7:09 PM on January 31, 2012


Given your financial situation, you may be tempted to start thinking of these items as potential sources of income... BEWARE! It's a trap that will lead to further obsessing and procrastination! At the same time, however, a few extra dollars would clearly help. Therefore, what if you retained an estate sale firm so that you could reap a few dollars for minimal effort?
If that's no doable, what if you retained someone--a friend, a college student, a retiree, or even via Craig's List--to help. Either way, the process would be:

1) You get one week to clear out a "do not touch corner" where you start putting the few things you will keep.

2) Helper is to empty your by a date certain--perhaps your 20 day deadline-- by any means necessary. Whatever they sell you negotiate a split.

Good luck; you'll feel so much lighter!
posted by carmicha at 7:10 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Chuck them out without looking. You don't even remember what's in there anyway, and if you haven't needed it in this long, you won't ever need it. There is almost nothing you can't rebuy later if necessary, anyway.

This was going to be exactly my suggestion. Do you have a particularly stoic friend? Enlist their help sorting the stuff not in boxes, and in taking away the unopened boxes and making them disappear. I chucked a lot of stuff recently and I feel so good- like a person who is less weighed down by mistakes in her past and opportunities she missed. I feel more aerodynamic.

Also, the first part of your new mantra is "It will bless someone else's life." That crockpot? Those sweaters? Those sheets? Somewhere there's a family who has to stretch their grocery budget- they NEED to find that crockpot at Goodwill. There's a woman who is cold every day and can't afford to turn up her heat- she needs those sweaters. There's someone who just got out of a bad relationship and is starting over- they need those sheets. Even the decorative crap will make someone else happy because it's to their taste.

The second part, stolen from an issue of O Magazine (shut up.) on decluttering is "These cards are not my mother." Those gifts that your relative sent? They are not the relative's love for you. You carry that inside, not in a box. You do not need to keep the stuff to keep the love.

Good luck, I wish you the best. This process was really liberating for me; I hope it is for you as well.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:11 PM on January 31, 2012 [17 favorites]


I've divested myself of nearly all my possessions more than once, and it was great. However, you seem to have some hoarding-style issues that complicate the matter... since you have so little time to get going, all I can do is offer my experience, and tell you how great it feels to start fresh with only the basics.

Since you seem tot have a lot of stuff, you need a plan. Here's a plan I've followed:

1.) See if anyone I know can use any of the stuff I'm getting rid of-- if so, give it to them.

2.) Have an open house and try to sell the rest fo the stuff via a craigslist ad.

3.) Call the Salvation Army and schedule a date for them to pick up the rest of my usable stuff.

4.) Get rid of it as quickly as possible. Not sure? Put it on the donation pile or throw it away. Basically, have an orgy of kicking the old stuff weighing me down to the curb. When the truck comes, give them all the stuff. Save a few boxes or bags of critical things-- very few, like less than 5.

5.) All the stuff not donated or set aside for my new life is now garbage. Throw it away, don't analyze how it feels to do so-- analysis-paralysis is the enemy here.

6.) Realize the next step is an adventure, and the crap I got rid of was hindering me from living life to the fullest. Enjoy the weightless feeling of not being fettered by material crap.
posted by devymetal at 7:13 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you have helpful friends, can you get one to come over? And you can sit there and do the 'yes' or 'no' sort of judgements you see on Hoarders?

IDEALLY, you could just get rid of the packed boxes, Goodwill or Salavation Army sight unseen, since you haven't seen inside in years. BUT, I know that is scary and then you don't know what you just got rid of etc etc (although you do know you won't need it and that strangers in goodwill pick up are very unlikely to be interested in your personal effects if you are worried about privacy invasion).

It's tough but you have to do it. It took me two months to go through my stuff when I moved last time and I am a totally minimalist (but with my own pack rat lineage and difficultly letting some things go, or throwing things out. I HAVE to donate them. Even chipped cups etc).

You can do it and you WILL do it. And it's going to suck. But then you will feel RELIEF.
posted by bquarters at 7:16 PM on January 31, 2012


However, unfortunately, there is a VAST range of content in those boxes - and a few things of great sentimental value I would strongly prefer not to lose - along with the potential for "personal" material I might not want ending up in some random party's hand, which makes me leery of donating boxes of unknown content.

How many boxes are we taking here? 10? 50? 100?

I vote for making a list of the things you need destroyed/kept. It should be, like, five items, maybe. (ie, KEEP: Papers to do with my immigration; kitchen tools from my mother; craft supplies. DESTROY: that gift ex gave me, all videotapes since I think one of them is a sex tape; any picture of me with person I now hate.)

Then you have a friend go through the boxes and do the sorting. You are NOT to look at any of this stuff.

Offhand I can't think of anything specific, but that's not necessarily meaningful.

I actually think it is really meaningful in that it's a sign that the idea of the stuff and the emotions around it are more important to you than the actual STUFF. You need a personal packer who will keep your emotions separate from the stuff, by keeping YOU separate from the stuff.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:17 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah, I did the craigslist ad too. Don't make things free but make them very cheap (like 5$). Then people will come over and get your stuff AND give you small amount of money! WIN.
posted by bquarters at 7:18 PM on January 31, 2012


The Goodwill store near me will actually send a truck and some people out if you want to make a large donation. You have to call the donations manager, though. I found this out when I was trying to get rid of my piano quickly (which I didn't end up doing after all.)

They may not be so thrilled about it if it might include a lot of junk. But you never know. Worth a call. At least that way the pain would be over in one afternoon. You'd just need to screen the boxes before they went out, with a friend there to say no when you want to keep something.
posted by ctmf at 7:28 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can choose to think of the next three weeks as an amazing transformation into your new you. Before You: packrat. After You: sleek, free, minimalist. Accepting and embracing this new identity might help make this easier. Do the spiral notebooks from 2003 belong to the Before You or the After You? Ah, the Before You. They can safely be binned. What about your ipod? After You.

Here's another thing that's helped me when I've downsized (which I did once, fairly substantially when I moved abroad, albeit not to the extreme that you need to): Create five piles. Definitely keep. Definitely throw away. Definitely recycle. Definitely give away to charity/others. And the most important pile, "unsure, but maybe give away." Be really, really, really aggressive about what goes into the Maybe pile, because you can always change your mind. Put that pile in a closet, a corner, or somewhere you won't see it, and then revisit it in a week, or a few days, or whenever. Maybe you'll have the same magical experience I invariably have, which is to be totally okay getting rid of that stuff.

Good luck! Also, have fun, and enjoy the freedom this will give you.
posted by MoonOrb at 7:35 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


OMG GUILT AND SHAME that I feel every time I toss a shiny thing into the "get rid of" box?

I have friends who are in a similar situation and I'm wondering: What do you feel guilty and ashamed about? That you are giving "perfectly good" stuff away? That you are giving gifts away that people gave you? Guilt about the money spent? Fear that you will regret it? I'm wondering.
posted by biscuits at 7:39 PM on January 31, 2012


The brilliant post about eBay and Amazon storing all of our stuff for free was from Pastabagel here.

I have a suggestion that may or may not work for you but here it goes (and it's been on my mind since I may soon do this exact thing).

It is far, far easier to identify the things, the stuff that you would save from a burning building than sift through everything. Start a pile with those most essential things and carefully build on it, keeping in mind with each addition you are seeking only essentials, whether they are daily, longterm, financial, legal or emotional. At least to my mind, this is the easiest way for me to be ruthless about the things I actually need and let go of the rest.
posted by vers at 7:40 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]



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.


But I think what you've actually done is construct the story backwards, starting with the compulsion to keep mountains of stuff and pointing to earlier events as the reasons. Most of the things you point to aren't, however, obviously causative of holding onto stuff. For example, I left home with almost nothing, and in my personal narrative that has made it easy to let things go, because I know how little I need to live with. (I'm not saying that my story is right and yours is wrong -- just that things like leaving home with very little really has nothing to do with how you later feel about possessions.)

The point being, I think you need to let go of all this narrative and emotional storytelling, and focus instead on a set of very practical problems. You have a set of tasks -- minimal sorting, knowing you can only keep a very small physical amount of stuff; perhaps donating things, if that is possible given your constraints; and disposing of the remainder. Where I live, one can haul crap to the dump for less than $20 for a full sized pickup truck load, and less in larger quantities, meaning that cost is not a large factor in deacquisitioning; some donations places will send a truck, but of course they are picky about what they take.

Your priority has to be heading towards your friend with only the quantity of possessions that makes sense; everything else is secondary. In other words, getting rid of stuff by any means necessary, including just plain hauling it to the dump, is far more important than doing a full sorting, maximizing donations, or anything else.
posted by Forktine at 7:40 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


What you have to hold onto, mentally, is that you will reach a point where 99% of the stuff honestly, truly doesn't matter. The first week or two is going to be brutal, but if you stick with it something will eventually click in your head, and you will become ruthless in a really beneficial way.

But to get there, you have to slog through the early decisions that end up being absurdly difficult. Just keep picturing the end, and frankly, knowing you have to get it done by a deadline is going to help motivate you. At the beginning of my last move, I would be torn with indecision for ten minutes about whether to keep a melty chapstick. And by the end, I'd be ditching brand new shoes and a pile of books and and and and without compunction.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:43 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another thought. Impending homelessness puts me in mind of you just walking away. What if you packed the stuff you absolutely need, then just walked out the door saying "it's someone else's problem now." Yes, it might be kinda crappy to your landlord, but imagine the liberating feeling.
posted by jayder at 7:44 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think enlisting your friends is a great idea here. If you're in the Chapel Hill, NC area I will donate a few hours of my time this coming weekend to the cause.

Start with the easy stuff. Things like the kitchen -- you might have one or two sentimental items in there, but lots of it is just ready to donate. Dishes, silverware, you don't need any of that. Same goes for things like furniture. Books are a bit trickier but unless it's sentimentally valuable (family Bible level of sentiment, I mean) it gets donated. You're not keeping any furniture.

I have a close friend who has fewer than 50 possessions. He has a large shoebox that he keeps everything sentimental in. If there are things that don't fit in the box -- like a shirt -- he cuts a piece of the shirt off to save. That's a good trick for keeping sentimental items that I now use myself. The box mostly contains photographs and little pieces of items.

You may also want to write a list of all the things that you can think of that you know are sentimental. Take an hour or two and sit down in a quiet space and just think. Don't go looking for the stuff, just ask yourself: If my house was burning down really, really slowly, what ten items would I save?

Get your friends to help. Give them a copy of the list. If it's not on the list, they don't have to ask you about every little thing.

Your personal papers are going to be the most difficult (at least they would be for me). Don't start with them; do them after you've gotten a great rhythm going.

Also, get rid of the stuff you've boxed up every day. Don't wait. You'll see the results and it will feel amazing. If you pile everything up in the "this is garbage" and "this is good to donate" piles and wait until the end it won't look like you've made any progress.

This is awesome! You're going to feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment when this is over. Try to comfort yourself with that thought, and take good care of yourself in the next few weeks while you go through this. It will be difficult, but you can definitely do it.
posted by k8lin at 7:45 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, it might be kinda crappy to your landlord, but imagine the liberating feeling.

It would not be a liberating feeling once the landlord stuck the OP with the cleaning and haulage bills. This would not be a good plan.

I'm going through a similar process, OP, and my metric (which is a bit more lenient) is that if I haven't touched it in six months, I'm getting rid of it. As you move through throwing things away you'll get more calloused about it - it is true as someone said that only the first week is hard. After that you'll be chucking stuff out without a qualm.
posted by winna at 7:49 PM on January 31, 2012


You need two or three friends with a free weekend. They come to your house while you go spend the day at the library or a coffee shop or something. They sort everything into four piles/rooms:

1. Any and all things that look like they have sentimental value: letters, baby clothes, old stuffed animals, etc. If they're in doubt about whether something is meaningful, err on the side of caution and put it in this pile.

2. Things that they think will be practical and useful in your new life. (Your current wardrobe, dishes, etc.) This pile should be small. Tell them what you're shooting for: no more stuff than you can fit in a car? A suitcase? The smallest UHaul?

3. Things that ate useful to someone, but not, currently, to you. The two fish tanks you have when you've never owned fish as long as these friends have known you, etc. These are the things that can be donated.

4. Trash. The broken comb. The old pair of jeans.

THEN, after THEY have done this sorting, you're allowed to come home. Your friends stay with you while you look at their decisions.

Don't even look at the trash. It should be already bagged and sitting at the curb. Give a quick perusal of the "donate" pile. You're only allowed to move something out of that pile if you can convince both friends that you should. Once this is done, have your friends cart stuff off ASAP, so you can't second guess yourself. The "useful" pile should be small already, so you should be able to leave it as is. If the combination of the useful and sentimental piles is small enough to fit in whatever method of transport you decided on beforehand, you're done. If not, have your friends do the same sorting process described above on the sentimental pile.

Basically, use their judgement instead of your own. Give yourself a VERY small container (like a single book box or carryon suitcase) where you can veto their decisions and keep something "just because", but otherwise let them be the deciders.
posted by MsMolly at 7:50 PM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I had a lot of stuff that I really loved, and six years ago, I found the perfect house for me to buy and move it into.

When I moved in, most of my stuff stayed in boxes, as I tried to figure out how it fit into my perfect house.

Then a flood took out my basement.

Then I couldn't pay for the repairs.

Then I borrowed against everything, put everything on credit cards, borrowed some more.

Then I fell behind on the mortgage.

Then the sheriff locked the doors and the bank sold my house, and took my things.

My things, which I bought a house to keep them in, were put in storage at an exorbitant monthly rate, in a place I wasn't allowed to visit them. I had no money to bail them out, and as I lived with my Mom and my cat and the clothes I could get into the car before they kicked me out, I realized that I didn't need much of anything.

I started digging myself out of debt, and I still didn't need much of anything.

I found things to do that didn't require me to keep much of anything.

I wore the same clothes through the week, some for work, some for home, and I didn't need to buy much of anything.

I was able to get my own apartment, and I realized that I could choose the absolute perfect things, because there was very little pressure, because I didn't need to save much of anything.

I let the bank sell all my things. I don't miss one thing that's gone.

By not needing much of anything, I found that I pretty much have everything I want.
posted by xingcat at 8:05 PM on January 31, 2012 [17 favorites]


It would not be a liberating feeling once the landlord stuck the OP with the cleaning and haulage bills. This would not be a good plan.

True, but playing devil's advocate here, "the bills" are the least of a borderline homeless person's worries. This is a crisis situation that justifies, in some measure, throwing ordinary decency and prudence to the wind, and walking away.
posted by jayder at 8:26 PM on January 31, 2012


Hi mie! I've moved a lot of times over the years and I still manage to acquire a lot of stuff each time. If it helps, try to narrow your focus to one room at a time or just one section of a room. "Today, it's clearing out the end table. Then it's the other end table."

One resource I like a lot is Unclutterer. They have thoughts on processing items that may be of use to you.

You don't have to keep anything that makes you feel bad. Good luck.
posted by dragonplayer at 8:32 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Discardia, by longtime Mefite metagrrrl is incredibly helpful in dealing with both the emotional and practical aspects of this sort of work.
posted by judith at 8:50 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Many many many awesome answers, thank you. Many of them I've thought of - some have limitations in one way or another - all helpful, all positive reinforcement. Thanks. :)

All the suggestions about having friends make decisions for me are wonderful, but let me just reiterate: I have a lot of people helping me in a lot of various ways, but there is nobody in my immediate world who is in a position to help me with any portion of this part of the move at this point. Nobody to call, nobody to come over and help sort/sort for me, simply not available, zero zip nada not-an-option. Unfortunate, but unavoidable.

In terms of location, let it be said that I reside in a southeasterly location, in a terminal city of some note, around which lies a ring of sound and fury resonating with traffic's wrath at all hours of day and night, and redolent with the aroma of ripened tree-fruit blooming along every other street. Let it also be said that while I don't feel this question is worthy of anonymizing, I would prefer to maintain some minimal degree of opacity in terms of immediate search results - so while the cryptic beat of the Rhythm Section may prove annoying to some, I do hope others understand why this covert approach is On My Mind.

I am not at all averse to offers of assistance with hauling from anyone local - and would in fact be delighted to pass along some of this stuff to others who might be able to use it! On the other hand, in light of the fact that I only really landed here a little while ago, I'm concerned that it might seem shady or weird somehow (especially in light of the thread about online charity scams, what, yesterday?) On the other hand, I can't exactly afford to turn down any help either - on the other hand, I dunno, someone else decide whether it's appropriate or creepy and let me know, I'm socially oblivious and reeeeally tired.

Some points in passing that I particularly love:

jayden: That is, rather than packing up stuff to get rid of, pack ONLY stuff you're going to keep.

Yes! This was actually the first "perspective shift" that really helped - my immediate move is into a space that's roughly 8'x5' (if that), and so everything comes down to absolutes: I have to really love it, it has to be really useful, and it has to fit. And when I run out of room, I can substitute something new for something that's already packed, but once I run out of substitutions, I'm DONE. Once I picked up this mindset, a whole lot of decisions became incredibly simple - in fact, I've already isolated the bulk of things I intend to bring, though obviously I'll be fine-tuning till the last minute.

And yet. I open a box of stuff I haven't seen for years, and oh, look! I remember that, it's so cute! and it's useful, too! I can use it for blah blah blah and this and that! I'll just hang on to this for later. And this, omg, I remember when I got that! It's just a tiny thing, I can hang it somewhere... over and over and over AND OVER OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH MEEEEE.

And okay, maybe I can stretch things to cover a box or two shipped by UPS ahead of time, for things I can't bear to part with. Maintaining perspective on that, though... nnngh.

Which brings me to Forktine: But I think what you've actually done is construct the story backwards, starting with the compulsion to keep mountains of stuff and pointing to earlier events as the reasons. Most of the things you point to aren't, however, obviously causative of holding onto stuff.

...oooooh. Nicely pegged. Because yes, I've seen myself do this, construct justifications forward and backward to support whatever stupid stubborn thing my mouse-brain wants me to do, and of course I still never notice when I'm doing it. Thanks for making me pay attention, and realize that I need to, basically, tell myself to cut the b.s. ;)

Back to Jayden: I may, possibly, end up with no other choice than to walk away and leave the mess behind; it is definitely not my first choice. I've liked this place, and would like to leave on good terms like a responsible tenant as long as circumstances allow me any option to do so. On the other hand, the leasing manager has said he knows of disposal companies available "very cheap" (though who knows what that means) so as a last ditch option I can still "dump it on the landlord", in effect, while still handling the manner responsibly.

Overall, I think the repeated suggestions to "get a friend to help" are definitely the best possible option - lacking, unfortunately, a friend to fill that particular role. Estate sale firm: nothing I have is valuable enough to fall under the category of "estate". Someone who does Ebay sales - would be great, but have no idea how to find someone or determine whether they know what they're doing. I am TOTALLY on board with donating things if they can't be quickly and easily sold - in fact, I would rather give something away to someone who needs it than make a few bucks selling it to someone who really doesn't. But overall, the easiest solution (if I could find a way to make it happen) would be to work with one person or business or group to get rid of everything - somehow, anyhow, but in one fell swoop.

So: if anyone has any recommendations, especially regarding specific firms or groups in, uh, that great nature preserve in the Eastern Southlands, frequented by Hawks and Thrashers, please let me know, via MeMail or however appropriate.

Before I give in to fatigue, I want to circle back briefly to biscuits: I have friends who are in a similar situation and I'm wondering: What do you feel guilty and ashamed about? That you are giving "perfectly good" stuff away? That you are giving gifts away that people gave you? Guilt about the money spent? Fear that you will regret it? I'm wondering. ...and see, that's the thing I don't get, either. I've been examining my attitudes for a long time, the feelings of reward and punishment, all the irrational emotional attachments, individual concepts of wealth and achievement, all that stuff. I've been (or thought I'd been) looking at it fairly clearly, aware of the depth of the feelings, but prepared to tackle it head-on. Yet even my clear conviction that I'm doing the right thing doesn't stop me from feeling bad about it somehow, and I cannot figure out quite why. If I do, though, I will surely let you know.

And all at once I am too tired to even try to single out "the best" of so many good, supportive answers. I'll take a stab at it tomorrow, and see what else might have dropped. And thank you all, very much. :)
posted by mie at 8:54 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Post it on freecycle?
posted by devymetal at 9:07 PM on January 31, 2012


Re the estate sale firms, don't get hung up on the word "estate;" no top hat or monacle required. They deal with the dissolution of households and the "estate" part just references the fact that much of their work entails converting property owned by deceased people into cash.
posted by carmicha at 9:20 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Instead of dumping it on the landlord, what about working with him? Since, in essence, it's his problem as well if you do decide to walk out and leave it all behind. Property mangers do get stuff for cheap (at least mine have... and i've been in some bizarre rental situations.) If he's already telling you he can do it, at least investigate the option. With some notice, he may even be able to get it cheaper. At least talk to him and ask what "cheap" means -- and if at all possible (physically, not necessarily mentally), you do it. This is done by procrastinating until there is no other option, but when you leave your place, you leave with only what you can fit in your car, you'll know it's been dealt with, and you get to start fresh without the burden of all that stuff.
posted by cgg at 9:21 PM on January 31, 2012


1. Pack the few things you plan to bring. Leave everything else where it is.

2. Look in the local classifieds under "services" for little ads that say "hauling." Often the ad will also say "cleanouts." These are resourceful individuals who will do exactly what you need, and because they sell a lot of what they get, they can be cheap. Tell them you need a cleanout of a 2-bedroom apartment or whatever you've got.

3. While the haulers do their thing, keep well out of the way and find something really engrossing to do, so you don't stop them from carrying something away.

4. If they say, "Are you sure you want to get rid of this?" say "Yes, I'm very sure" NO MATTER WHAT IT IS.

I did this to get rid of the contents of a shed in a state a little to the north of you. The haulers were a kind, middle-aged Pentecostal couple (the husband even called his wife "Mother"). They came with a pickup truck and rickety trailer, and they were going to keep some of the stuff for themselves, sell other stuff, and dump the rest. It was gone in a flash with almost zero effort on my part, and I think I paid $100 cash.
posted by ceiba at 9:26 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


In the Larry McMurtry book Cadillac Jack, the title character, a picker, envisions all of the stuff people accumuate as an infinite river glowing past. Sometimes they collect stuff, pulling it out if the river, and sometimes they divest, tossing it back in. Very few things are truly so rare that you can't pluck them out of the river almost at will (see eBay comment linked upthread). I find this idea comforting.
posted by carmicha at 9:28 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some thoughts as to why it's so hard to get rid of the things we know that we should feel like we shouldn't need.

I am not a hoarder per se, but I have difficulties far beyond what I would like with organization and keeping my stuff to a reasonable, manageable stuff-level. The following is mostly what I have learned through observation of people with far more serious situations than myself, which has given me insight into what I get out of dysfunctional stuff-management. There are two things, besides the (imaginary) usefulness of having things I might need someday on hand and the (slightly more rational) sentimental attachment to things that I have decided will be my stand-in for memories I would like to preserve- I mean, those are hard enough to get over, but in addition, stuff keeps me in thrall because I have given it emotional significance as my guard and protector. From your description of your attachment to your things as emotional bondage, it seems possible that you may feel something similar.

First, the gross weight of sheer things and the density of their arrangement in my living space has taken on a symbolic meaning as an extension of my own physical self. Many people have seen what happens when a well-meaning person attempts to help an even slightly reluctant hoarder clean: touch the wrong thing, move too quickly, and the person who hoards may respond with an irrational-seeming anxiety response, or anger equivalent to what would be seen if they were themselves physically attacked. When I use things as a crutch against fear, I am not small and squishy and light, defenseless against the things that threaten me; instead I am enormous and expanding, I weigh tons, and when I am in the safety of my room, I am shielded by multiple barriers of things that are layered in the way of any unwanted intrusions. Anyone or thing that wants to mess with me has to get to me first. And obviously I have a good excuse not to invite people into my private space- too embarrassing- so I don't even have to deal with possible consequences.

Second, the presence of clutter, both visible (the never-sorted laundry on the never-sat-on couch) and invisible (forty-seven mystery boxes in the basement) serves as a highly convenient proxy when it comes to anxiety. What's the use of dealing with worry about and working through a higher-level concern, such as how to get into and pay for the school that I still need, when I can't even cross my bedroom floor without risking injury? How can I be expected to get that small business going when I need to sort ten boxes of papers to find two documents I need? I can't possibly deal with that now; it'll have to wait until I can get all these things straightened out. Anxiety regarding things that may be partly out of my control is transferred to the more manageable anxiety and shame over being a packrat and a slob. Which, being more immediate, lets me look no further than my mess for a reason as to why I never really have it together. I can still see the other reasons, but it's easier to backburner them until I can deal with all the stuff. Except, as suggested above, the stuff is what protects me, and therefore the mess is self-perpetuating.

I use present tense because this cycle is still playing itself out, although much less severely than previously. Part of what has helped, after working out all of the above from looking at others and examining how I accumulated clutter, is attempting to identify and acknowledge the symbolic meaning individual pieces or collections of crap means, as I encounter it; this is useful for taking away some of the emotional power of memory-placeholders. Another useful thing for the actual purging process, which will probably sound weird or gross, is envisioning my protective clutter-shield as a giant carapace or skin that is now outgrown and must be shed, piece by piece. I have to keep constantly in mind the fact that its negative benefits outweigh its positive benefits, and that those jumbled boxes and piles of magazines and decades-old papers are like individual scales or scabs. If I choose to keep them, they will weigh me down and hold me back no matter what growth I might be achieving underneath. If I choose not to slough them off, I need to acknowledge that I am placing an artificial barrier between myself and the rest of the world.

So, to answer your plea: no, you don't need the bottles or the clothes that echo the person you once were, or the decorations that were nice things you never quite let yourself enjoy, or whatever- and you know you don't need them, perfectly well, in the technical sense of the objects themselves. You know that the objects themselves are hurting you. But you have been willing to accept that harm because you do very much need the intangible things for which all of the objects are a substitute. Severing the emotional bond with the stuff is going to require building it with yourself and other people. Some of the support and comfort you now get from your things is support you may have to do without, for a while. You sound extremely resourceful and strong, underneath it all, and I do not doubt that you can get through whatever method you decide to use to deal with your immediate situation, as well as your long-term approach to your things.
posted by notquitemaryann at 9:40 PM on January 31, 2012 [17 favorites]


cgg: Instead of dumping it on the landlord, what about working with him?

Yeah, this being the guy who, when told of my issues, immediately went out of his way to make it perfectly clear that there would be no exceptions of any kind, regardless of disability or move-out date, for anything whatsoever under any circumstances, down to the required size and color of my trash bags? Yeeeah, compassion, cooperation, not really a happening thing here. To be perfectly honest, I'm kind of glad - if I'd been able to stay where I am, I would probably have signed a new lease by now, and I'd have been decidedly unhappy about having to deal with this person on an ongoing basis. I don't expect to be the special snowflake, I do not WANT to be the special snowflake - but if I'm at the point of specifically mentioning my delicate icy branches, it is because I am in need of help in some way and have no other choice. Given a choice, I see no benefit in having to deal with people who choose to be completely insensitive to others when it's just as easy to display compassion while still remaining within the context of one's business responsibilities, or in other words: I understand you have rules, I understand you may not be able to make exceptions, but really, your posture would be just as splendid if you removed that giant stick from your rear exhaust port. That sort of thing makes me want to retaliate by lowering my own standards of ethics to exact revenge of some kind, or feel as though I have, and that is just SO not helpful.

So no, I cannot count on this person to be even slightly cooperative, or act as my ally in any way whatsoever. On the other hand, he's said he knows of some "cheap" junk companies, it's obviously in our mutual best interests for the entire situation to be resolved responsibly - so there is still a helpful option in there, even if it's not the guy himself. (I think he's trying to be helpful... I don't think he means to be a jerk, or that there's any sort of personal enmity involved, more that maybe he hasn't quite learned to do his job without being a jerk yet. Which is actually quite a trick, when you're in a job that requires you to take the part of "bad guy" occasionally or routinely. I could be wrong, of course, but that's my sense of things.)
posted by mie at 10:05 PM on January 31, 2012


notquitemaryann: Would quote the parts of your post that resonated within me the most strongly, but that would require quoting most if not all of it. Yes, and yes, and yes, and thank you, and I look forward to rereading when I'm actually awake.

And yes. I am perfectly aware that the reason I am still awake, exhausted and incoherent, is because I'm making a totally transparent "subconscious" attempt to delay the inevitable Stuff-Sorting of tomorrow. I am going to sleep. Really.
posted by mie at 10:09 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


In terms of dealing with sentimental objects, gifts you feel guilty about discarding etc, take a photograph of it and store all your photographs in files on your external hard drive that you can take with you anywhere. You can open up the files and look at your past acquisitions, recall the thoughts and memories these objects hold for you without having to lug them around. [I'm thinking things like that dress you wore to X but haven't worn since; a piece of furniture or craft items; the stuffed toy someone gave you when you went into hospital the first time; the awesome boots you bought and wore for two winters but not since, even though they still have some wear in them; large artworks that are great but won't fit in your new home; the invitations, cards, notes etc given to you over the years can be scanned or photographed; the large casserole dish that is too big to take anywhere but was a treasured gift etc etc.]

I think it would be easiest to make two piles at first - to keep and to ditch [somehow - free, garage sale, donate] and keep whittling at the keep pile. You'll get more ruthless as you whittle, but using a camera to keep at least an image of an item you felt hard to part with might allay some anxiety or sadness over its physical loss.
posted by honey-barbara at 11:21 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Stuff sorting can be hard.

Memories, good & bad get tangled in objects. I encourage you to remember that you can recall your previous self without the objects, at least enough to carry on.

Secondly, try to set yourself some realistic goals or benchmarks along the way.. Don't try to sort "your stuff" tomorrow, deal with one or two boxes.

I find musc or the radio is good for this. Not visually distracting like tv.

Make a date with a charity for feb 19, make a date with the guy with a truck for the dump for Feb 21, advertise a "tag sale" for feb 18. (or whenever).

Accept that this is going to be hard for you and give yourself time to say goodbye, since that's what you seem to think is necessary.

Finally, to echo notquitemaryann... You have the inner strength to get through this... You're being resourceful and a little more will get you through.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 11:31 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can see something in your post and in your responses. Once upon a time, I had a Victorian breakfast cup (what would today be similar to a latte cup) and it had a portly gentleman on it and it said "I am not greedy, but I like a lot." That is me, and it's possible that's you. And notquitemaryann gets it perfectly.

You like a lot of words, and are very descriptive. You like having a lot of things around you, I know - it's comfortable and interesting and it's everything in notquitemaryann's comment. And, it seems you have have a lot of thoughts in your head about why and why and why it's so hard - and those are understandable. And, as I've learned, people with physical issues often live in their heads, and so having a head full of thoughts is simultaneously stimulating and comfortable. In the past, in both my job and for friends (and as an ongoing thing with my parents), I've helped people divest themselves of "a lot". In the article I've linked to, what it very kindly doesn't say is that the house was incredibly full. There are tv shows about how full it was now. And, every single thing in there had meaning or was beautiful or sentimental or had potential and there was not time to make a decision about every single thing. You don't have that either. I'm sorry that you don't have a team - I'd gladly help. And, for my part, twice I've had to leave full homes rather quickly, once with nothing (though I was allowed to go back and take whatever I could within one hour, under duress); and once leaving with only one room to hold me and my things. So I agree with the advice to first pack (or label for the move) only what can be contained in the place you're going to. Let that be your guideline. But, while I also adore the thoughts about being able to access anything in the world when you're ready for it, it doesn't help with the things you have an emotional attachment to now. And it doesn't help with the physical part. The physical part of touching things leads to the emotional part, too - it's diabolical!

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.


One of the things that might need to happen for you is that you need time (which I know you don't have much of) to work on your mindset. Crisis is a great impetus, of course - but you need to get comfortable with the emotions and anxiety of letting go of stuff, and realize it will pass. I see that you grasp this concept by your post, but likely only in an abstract way at this point. Hopefully, it won't be abstract to you to realize that you will be fine on the other side of this, because it just will be. That's a really good feeling to hold onto. You might need to grieve a few things over time, but you can get past that.

Part of the difficulty in getting started is that it's hard to have the energy to emotionally deal with this as well as physically. Do you know what I thought of when I was working with someone - the Junk People in Labyrinth. Somehow, you need to get yourself to the part where you're willing to shrug the burden off and get on with what you're really supposed to do. How do you make it less hard? You need to look at your stuff that's holding you down and get mad at it, really mad that it's keeping you from being flexible and it's keeping you from moving forward with ease and simplicity. Anger is an energy, right? And if that impels you to stand up to your stuff and tell it that it has no power over you, even that little burst of energy can get one box packed.

So, while sure, I'd recommend fifteen minute increments or all those good suggestions above, I'd suggest you also spend some time sitting and looking at those boxes or those collections of things, letting all the emotions wash over you when you look at them or even touch them and remember and think about keeping them - but push the feelings to the limit, feel them to the fullest, and get past them - and then get mad enough to get moving on it. Don't put something aside to keep to think about later - make the decision, and feel the relief. Get out of the strain of the doing and into the joy of the done. Soon you won't be doing this for every little thing. Momentum is huge. The more you get used to making decisions on items, the faster you'll get at doing so. And you don't even have to physically move much to get to that point. That will help you develop the calluses you say you need.

That said, if I have guessed at least your state correctly, there is a business that handles not just Estate Sales (Contents Sales is another search term you could use, wherever you are) - but they have what is called a "move coordination service" which looks at what will fit into the space you're moving into, what is essential, what can be sold etc. They pack and unpack, and have Estate Sale services for what's left behind. Whether or not this is the "lifetime liquidation" solution you need, perhaps there is something similar wherever you are.

And last, before I go and dump my own mudroom and put back only into it what I am actually going to use - my own project for the day - I'm going to also tell you that you just can not personally responsible for the ultimate fate of every item in your possession. Unless the items you need destroyed are genuinely evil or illegal, or of a supremely private nature, nobody associates the same emotions with them as you do. Just let them go, if you can. And there's one more theory that I use - every once in a while, people need an exemption from being the person that makes sure that everything gets properly recycled and disposed of and donated in the best possible fashion for the sake of the world. Let a company that does this be responsible for that, and it will then be easier to move forward without that on your conscience. I wish the best for you. I know, it's very, very hard.
posted by peagood at 7:20 AM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


It looks like Mie has disabled his/her account. Good luck, Mie!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:38 AM on February 1, 2012


Good luck, mie!

After hearing about your landlord's conduct, I say dump the stuff on the landlord with extreme prejudice.

Landlords deal with houses full of stuff all the time ... it's called "eviction."
posted by jayder at 9:05 AM on February 1, 2012


I did something like this few years ago . ( no landlord , just escaping abusive ex ) .
I forgot some personal photos , and could not take some very needed for my everyday work desk and chair .
Photos : these memories are inside my mind , I found it is enough for me .
Super cool, very well made desk that I liked so much for my work + chair that is the best for my back : I wish I still would have them , but I survived without them . I never cried or got truly upset about them later . In fact , I never had sad feelings about these stuff . I had happier life instead .
For getting support and strength : when I was looking for the storage space , I discovered that some (not all , but some ) of the people in the self storage/moving business are very , very kind , understanding and supportive . I guess they know that moving is very stressful for people ? I was so freaking out -- and the man on the phone kept being calm , reassuring , he would explain, repeat as many times as needed until I got it . Made me feel that not all the world is horrible , that what I want is doable , "don't worry , ask as many questions as you want, as many times as you want ". I would never expect such a support from such a place .
In NYC , super told me that cleaning crews that fix apartments between tenants won't trow away anything : " they are very poor people ; they will use all these things ".
Good luck !
posted by Oli D. at 12:38 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can do this, mie, and you deserve a life you really love! Shifting all this distracting stuff out of your way will create room for that new life.

Great advice from lots of folks above. I will echo especially the advice to begin with what you love and need most, those "clearly coming with me" things. Start from that place that reinforces your best choices and the foundation for who you are now, rather than with all that old 'Museum of Me' junk hanging around.

Two other thoughts that I hope will help:
- It's the decisions that wear us out in these situations, so look for opportunities to have one decision impact many objects. Rather than evaluating every piece of clothing, make a decision like "I will need six outfits suitable for work and those clothes need to fit me well, I need to like them, and they need to be in great condition." Then 'shop' through your clothing to find those things and put them in the 'coming with me' area. Decide on any other essential categories of clothing you need to fill (say, "one fancy outfit", "one set of grubby project clothes", and "three casual outfits") and pull those out. With those out of the way--based on a handful of decisions instead of dozens--all the other clothes can be donated.

- Goodwill knows waaaaay more people than you do. They will therefore do a better job of making the best possible use of a random object than you. Even better, in the process of doing that job, they'll be helping people who need practice acquire useful work skills. Just let them take away everything that they accept. If they, who are pros at this, can't see a use for something, that means it has passed on from useful life and can hit the dumpster without guilt.

Best of luck with all this. Yes, it totally sucks to have to do a project of this magnitude, but it's magnificent for improving your life. I'll warn ya, tho'; go through a big life change like this and you may wind up doing something crazy like inventing a holiday for letting go of stuff. ;)
posted by MetaGrrrl at 1:15 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Ms. Vegetable):
I don't think it's been said above, but is there any way you could find a professional organizer or therapist to help with this? I know the guilt and emotions can be overwhelming, and there are people who are trained and can help. Perhaps a sliding scale clinic or graduate school would help.
Good luck. You can do this!
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:37 PM on February 1, 2012


Packing up the keepers is a very good idea.

Freecycle, craigslist free, and putting stuff out with a free sign on it is effective, as are Goodwill and Salv. Army. I liked knowing that somebody was happy to have a box of magazines, and it made it easy to get rid of them. Think of yourself as a philanthropist, giving your worldly possessions away.

It will be sad to get rid of certain things. It's okay to be sad. You can also take this time to enjoy the things, appreciate them before they go. The more effort you put in to sorting, the better chance your collection of popsicle sticks (with jokes!) has of finding a good home. If the stuffed animal really represents Uncle Roy, fine. But you only need 1 or 2 sentimental objects to remember people; it's the feelings the objects represent that is real.

It makes sense to save stuff. I moved and got rid of things I wish I'd kept. I think it's probably genetic - pad the nest with warm stuff to keep out the cold. Save food - you might need it. But we are in a world far too full of stuff. So, start with 1 corner. Don't think about All The Things, just clear 1 space. Be creative; if you find a treasure trove of not-electronic clocks - there's a steampunk crafter who will be thrilled. Old giftwrap - make a box of paper crafts, and freecycle away.

Play music, loud. Upbeat music that will help you move. Be kind to yourself; this is hard, and it's hard to reach this point in your life. Be proud of yourself; you see this clearly and are doing your very best to deal with it.
posted by theora55 at 8:29 PM on February 1, 2012


Can you think of it not as you losing stuff, but of you giving stuff to other people?
posted by macinchik at 11:25 PM on February 1, 2012


Can you borrow a camera? That stuff will still be available for you to look at if you take pictures of important things as you pass them on to a new home, and the electronic bits and bytes are much lighter and easier to store.
posted by bookdragoness at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2012


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