As we continue to pack for our Big Move, I’m become aware of some deeply held beliefs around wastefulness.
Wastefulness was drummed into both my and my husband’s head by our depression-generation parents. If something is still usable, you do NOT get rid of it. You keep things, just in case you might need them. Hubby goes even further with accepting things from friends, family, and neighbors. (Sure, I’ll take that; it still works. I believe we have 3 8-mm projectors – no 8-mm movie reels, but 3 projectors.) And he is also prone to garbage picking. (It’s still perfectly fine, I could use this).
On top of this nurturing to not be wasteful, we are both aware of the environmental impact of waste in landfills. While not fanatic about it, we do recycle on a regular basis and have always been regular donators of “gently-used” things to Goodwill. We also never developed a mentality to get the latest and greatest of anything. Our technology is dated – from electronics to cars.
It’s not that we are anti-consumerism! We are Costco shoppers (buy in bulk!), end-of-season sale shoppers (it’s reduced!), and fond of kitchen tools, clothing, jewelry, and shoes. So we have lots of things, many in multiples. (No, I did not count how many pairs of shoes we own, but Hubby does have more than me.) But, we also keep things to reuse, like zip-locks bags, plastic containers, shoeboxes, and gift boxes. Hubby even saves cans for his shooting practice. Do I now pack all those boxes and containers to move or toss them out?
Here are some of the crazy scenarios that happened as we’ve begun packing in relation to our beliefs on wastefulness and stuff. This is a bit of a rant.
- I pushed Hubby to give away a DVR to our SIL in case hers dies. Yes, she still watches old tapes. He came down with 5. And apparently there are 3 still being packed to go, plus two turntables (and two already moved). Of course, we already moved the albums and VHS tapes, not to mentions hundreds of CDs and DVDs. Because you never know when you might want to watch a movie or download music from your CD again. (Yes, this was sarcastic. Recall, I am working on the Courage to Accept! )
- There is the added conundrum of Hubby being an Enneagram Type 5 with Asperger’s, which leans towards being a hoarder combined with deeply delving into areas of interest. That means both researching and then buying things in his areas of interest. One of his latest interests is shooting and I just learned on doing a house inventory with the movers that he has 12 air rifles! Yes, twelve. Past (and current) fascinations include knives (no actual count there, as they fit into 1-2 boxes to move), bicycles (last count 20, most have made the move down to Florida over time), water bottles, and carrier bags (no count there either, but two new ones appeared recently.)
- Some “just why?” things just seem to keep getting put in the pack boxes. Three boxes of costume jewelry I never wear (how can I toss that out!); boxes of tampons and incontinence pads (you never know who might need!), and enough hair conditioner for 5 years (it was on sale!). I’m packing up boxes of party supplies and wondering if it’s worth paying to move them or just buy new.
- We are “arguing” as to what will go in/on the car and pick-up. In true fashion (past experience shows), I over-estimate what will fit and hubby under-estimates. I’m worried about hard-to-pack glass-based lamps, speakers, and some big glass artwork. The movers won’t take any liquids – no wine, pantry liquids (even salad dressing!), or cleaning supplies. Nor any yard chemicals, oils for tools, matches, or batteries (there’s a page long list of what they won’t take). Do we take things or toss things? Hubby has claimed we’ll need a trailer to pull for all the things the movers won’t take!
- We moved a bunch of stuff down to Florida on our last few trips. We have made 3 trips there after we had the house. Now we are realizing some things are there that should be here – the racks to put bicycles on the car roof being an important item. (Yes, there are still bicycles to move, of the twenty.)
- We are actually consolidating two homes into one. Our beach cottage had a well-furnished kitchen, as I wanted decent knives, nice wine glasses, and good cooking items when we were there. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll just move down all the kitchen/ dining stuff and deal with doubles and triples (or more) of things on the other end. How many glasses will we need? How many will even fit into the cupboards?
I am actively seeking out options to sell, give-away, and donate items. The money-miser in me twinges a bit on the giving things away or selling things at bargain-rate prices (which I am doing). I’m feeling good, though, that I found a consignment shop that donates their half of the proceeds to cancer research.
Some things just don’t lend themselves to donating, as “perfectly good” is not necessarily “gently used”. Throwing “perfectly good” things away remains a huge mental challenge, more so for Hubby, but for me as well. I‘m trying to stick to my environmental beliefs and found a location where you can pay to drop off half used paints, yard chemicals, and half open cleansing supplies. But, there are still some things nobody wants – a perfectly fine mattress & box spring, a full-size bed frame (even a vintage mahogany wood one), and a real mink fur coat (wrong season to sell it) – these are my toughest items to get rid of right now.
This move is a different experience for us. For all our other moves, we were moving “in town” and so could move things over time. Wherever the bed was, we slept there. We could do multiple trips with the car for hard to move (fragile) items and multiple walk-throughs to make sure we had everything. And, we sold every other house after we cleared things out. This time we are selling a house while still living in it, so the house has to look de-cluttered. That’s Stage 1, de-clutter and use the garage as a storage area. Attic offices and basement are definitely the challenges here. Then, Stage 2 is packing everything to move and getting rid of everything else before move day – given away, sold, donated, or tossed.
This move is our second attempt at downsizing and this one seems to be even harder than the first. It is challenging our wastefulness belief systems on a daily basis! And really, really challenging my hubby’s Enneagram Type 5 personality.
How do you feel about keeping things? Do you have your own belief systems around wastefulness?
Picture: One of our Ohio house. It was suggested I take some pictures of the elements I love and will miss… like our stained glass windows.