I have moved quite a bit. Six times since college, to be exact. Each time, I significantly improved my ability to pack up my entire life and transport it somewhere else.
Moving is one of the top five most stressful activities in the human experience because of the many elements of change that must be organized, coordinated, and to which one must become adjusted. People do not handle change well, so moving is like the huge monster that no one particularly enjoys coming across.
Those who enjoy living in different places still probably do not enjoy moving, but they know how to live more simply.
As I have moved around the country, I noticed that the amount of items that I call "my life" has decreased and the type of items I make sure to bring has changed.
When I first moved to Boston after college, I accumulated so much furniture that I did not need and I probably brought every piece of clothing I had ever owned because I had no basis other than college to judge what to take with me into the big bad world post-college.
I still have way too many clothes - even though I wear all of them - but the other stuff is what is different. For instance, I gave away a ton of furniture before this last move to Utah and prioritized a few pieces and my mattress that I enjoy using every da (humorously, a mattress is not so important in your early twenties. Adulting is weird like that).
It is the other stuff that I want to draw attention to. Not the kitchenware or the slow cooker or the surplus silverware, or even the little boxes of trinkets that mean a lot to my life journey that I make sure to keep. I mean instead the extraneous odds and ends that you do not want to throw away but for which you simultaneously do not have a proper use, and which take up space.
Because I am an expert mover now, I have narrowed that amount of extraneous stuff down to one single shelf on an IKEA shelving unit.
I find myself staring at it a lot, though. It sticks out to me. It is stuff that I am not interacting with. So why do I have it?
One box is full of blank extra notebooks. Duh. I write a lot. But now I could start my own "Journal Resale" Etsy shop. At least forty notebooks are in there. Next to it is a box of totally random objects that are unrelated to each other. They are the objects I do not want to give away for some stupid reason (luckily it is not a very big box).
A DVD of my college soccer game footage? Sure, cool for history's sake but I am not watching it every night.
A pack of awesome thin markers I have used with clients and for my own artistic outlet, but which I have not used in at least three years.
Everything on this shelf is there because of potential energy. It a shelf full of things that I MIGHT use at some point, but for which I do not currently have a need.
Whenever I get stressed and search my rolodex of coping skills, my brain immediately directs me to those two boxes and says "BURN THEM".
I hold on to them, however, because their usefulness in the future is more significant than, say, the six trash bags worth of stuff that I reverently threw away the morning I left Boston.
Those are the things I hold on to. I have contained it to a single shelf because of the objects' potential usefulness. This is so healthy because it is the only aspect of my life that is distractingly unnecessary at the moment, and that means that everything else I packed and moved is stuff that I use on a daily basis.
Do not confuse my pragmatism with my belongings for materialism, though. I could of course be more minimalistic, but I think I am doing pretty well.
In summary: meaningful trinkets from my past take up one square foot of my apartment, and objects for the future take up about three square feet.
Now I ask you: What do you hold on to?
What is in your space right now that just takes up space?
How does it affect you?
Why are you still holding on to it?