You don’t realise how much you own until you have to pack it all into a van.
That’s what I learnt when we made the move from Hampshire back up to Yorkshire. I’d been “minimising” for a few months but trying to move house put in all into perspective -how much we had accumulated over the years, putting stuff out of sight and forgetting it was there. Despite my work to rid myself of cupboards of clutter (I thought I’d done pretty well) I wasn’t prepared for just how much stuff we still owned.
Putting everything you own into boxes brings real perspective. There were so many things that we needed, or that serve a purpose and yet cannot be said to be items that we love (I don’t believe even Marie Kondo can argue extension leads spark joy). So how do you decide what is worth taking with you and avoid complete overwhelm?
Acknowledge that moving is hard work – OK so some minimalists live out of a suitcase and find moving from place to place a breeze but for those of us who are less nomadic moving is hard work even with less stuff. You’re going to have to face up to everything you own so prepare yourself.
You will reach a point where you’re surrounded by stuff you don’t know what to do with – I found the hardest things to work through were the items that serve a purpose but otherwise have no emotional hold – coat hangers, extension leads, cleaning equipment. Things that we need but don’t want. The fact is most households run on a baseline amount of stuff and whilst you might not want these things you probably do need them.
Moving is a great opportunity to declutter – yes I know that’s obvious but thinking “do I want to put time energy and money into moving this thing” really focuses the mind. I found it much easier to let go when I looked at items through this lens.
Don’t be overzealous in throwing things away – a hard one when you just want to be packed but think though what you might need in your new space. That doesn’t mean hold on to everything but if there is something that serves a purpose that you’re not sure about it may be worth moving it then working out if you need it in your new space.
Ditch the guilt – a lot of the stuff I got rid of went to the tip and I felt really guilty about adding to landfill but I also see it as an important lesson to be more conscious in future about what I allow into my home so that I can be less wasteful. Everyone has clutter so don’t feel bad amount what you have, just see it as an opportunity to take stock.
Above all, be kind to yourself – moving is hard work after all! I found that packing the bulk of stuff was easy – the real hard work was sorting through what was left. It took several days, more trips to the charity shop and the tip and a lot of decisions to work through what remained. But even as I unpacked items I found myself taking a fresh look at them. Some things simply didn’t work in our new house, some things I’d got rid of that I wish I’d kept (over door hooks) and some things I knew I should part with but acknowledged I’m just not ready to yet. And that’s ok.
Do you have any tips for moving house? Let me know in the comments what you would add to my list.