My upcoming move is getting closer and closer, and one of my big tasks at the moment has been my “Pack and unpack” project. At least, that’s the name I’ve given this undertaking in my head.
Obviously I need to move all of my stuff, and since I will be homeless for two weeks, I need to pack it well enough to store. That part has been pretty easy. I’ve slowly been piling up a mountain of boxes along one of my living room walls. But what’s been a lot more impact on my state of mind has been an earnest effort to “unpack” or “de-stuff” my life.
On September 3rd, when I handed in my two months notice, I made it my goal to get rid of something every day until I moved on October 31st. It’s been 44 days and I’m still going strong: there hasn’t been a day when I didn’t get rid of at least one item in my apartment. I sold some stuff on kijiji and I rented a table at a community yard sale to move some of my smaller items. I sold 6 boxes of stuff at the garage sale alone, not including two pieces of furniture. Some things I’ve simply sent plummeting down the depths of my building’s garbage chute, taking a moment first to always tell my possessions, “You are going to die.” Which sounds a bit macabre, but it’s incredibly freeing.
I basically have a 1 bedroom apartment worth of stuff, which really doesn’t seem like much at all. What have I gotten rid of?
My breadmaker. Wii Fit Plus. Some wii games. Old textbooks. DVDs. Books. A Jigsaw puzzle. A printer. A lamp. A bookshelf. A chair. An old TV. A DVD player. A jewelry stand. A steamer. A set of cups. Donald Duck dressed up as the Easter Bunny. Craft supplies. A cooler. Shoes with holes in the soles. Boots. Socks. Underwear. Two winter coats. Shirts and pants in sizes 3XL. Jewelry. A coffee maker. A map of the world. A globe. A painting of Albert Einstein. Stationery. Cookie cutters. Headbands. Sweaters, hoodies, and more sweaters. Pencil cases. Notebooks. Trivial Pursuit. Mad Gab. Cutting Boards. A pair of mittens. A camping foam. Broken hangers. Pajamas. Two Swiffers. A cookie in the shape of a mouse. A computer mouse. A set of magic markers. A skipping rope. A stability ball for a giant. Cat toys. A salad spinner. A house coat. Travel-sized Clue. An entire year’s worth of Clean Eating magazines. A paper towel rack.
I’m sure I’ve thrown out things I’ve forgotten, but nonetheless that list reminds me a bit of Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano, where he just lists so many manufactured items that they become entirely meaningless. It’s like an Andy Warhol print of Campbell’s tomato soup, but it feels less glorious than I think he intended. (I do still own both the aforementioned novel and print, by the way.)
This project amazes me on a lot of levels. First of all, after 44 days, I still have a ton of stuff. And that’s exactly what it is: just stuff. But even more revealing is the stuff that’s missing, and even that’s not a fair assessment, because I don’t miss it at all. I didn’t need any of that junk. It wasn’t making me happy. It was just taking up space. And the idea of giving away some of my books or board games or craft supplies or even my breadmaker to other people, who might use these things and be happier themselves is perhaps the most rewarding experience that anything from the list has ever given me.
Tomorrow I will probably throw out an old duvet for a twin bed, that I haven’t used since I lived in residence during my first year of university during my first degree. Or maybe I will find something else to dispose of, because by now it’s become a part of my morning routine to wander around my apartment until I find an item for the chopping block, and then I dutifully dispose of it: you are going to die.
I think I’m addicted to that brief moment of freedom, knowing that today I’ve simplified my life just a little bit further, and made space for something more meaningful. Maybe all of this stuff will come back into my life as more stuff. Or maybe I’ll replace it something more intangible but all the more durable.
- Maple Pork Sausage
- Fried Egg
- Parsnip Hash with onion fried in butter
First Lunch- “Orange Juice”
- Valencia Orange
- Hemp protein
Second Lunch –
- Ground Pork fried in coconut oil
- Wild & Brown Rice Blend
- Fireside Supper Stew
- Garden Salad
Workout: Lean Eating Phase 3 – Workout 1
Days since last meltdown: 2