We just bought a house–yay! And now we have to start unpacking all the things we have in storage–boo!
Are we minimalists? Well, we own more than a backpack’s worth of stuff.
If you have an extremely rigid definition of minimalism, than no.
I favor a bohemian style of interior decorating that is basically the opposite of plain white walls.
If that’s the kind of minimalism you’re thinking of, forget it.
However, if you think of minimalism as owning intentionally, then we are minimalists.
I want to know why we have any given item. We need enough things that we can enjoy the things we have.
We don’t want to pour our lives into earning money, accumulating things, and maintaining those things.
So with that in mind, I am carefully and painstakingly unpacking our boxes, and believe me, it is a pain.
We are also trying to rent the house out for the summer, so time is breathing down our necks! Here are some of the strategies I’m using.
Unpack the Easy Stuff First
I’m trying to move this unpacking process along, so my procedure is to rip open a box and remove anything that we need in the house for renters.
I put yard sale items in a yard sale box and I throw away anything that I can.
Sometimes I sort through tedious things–stacks of correspondence, for example–but sometimes I put them aside for later.
I also have a pile for things that I know I will need for decorating the house.
Anything I can’t do quickly, I set aside to complete after I’ve cleared out the boxes.
My theory is that the hard decisions will be easier and less overwhelming when the easy ones are out of the way.
Don’t Torture Yourself
If I don’t want to get rid of something, I don’t get rid of it.
After several purges, I am pretty good at moving things along.
I can kill a lot of time trying to work myself up to part with some treasured item, or I can put it aside to confront later.
And I don’t mean years later. We mean on the second or third time through.
I intend to pile all of my letters and photos together and I betcha I won’t feel like I need to keep all of them anymore when I see how much space and time they take!
I also try not to torture myself by keeping things I don’t want.
Photos are actually often in that category for me.
Sitting down and looking at photos is just not a favorite pastime for me.
I have an album for my children, but I don’t really need that overexposed shot of my cousin’s face or the kangaroo segmented by a finger over the lens.
If I’ve had these photos for twenty years and the only time I’ve thought, “I believe I’ll have a look at the pictures” is when I’m purging…well, how much space in my life and home do I want to give them?
Group Like Things Together
I’ve already alluded to this, but I’ll elaborate: when I look at an individual artwork of my child’s, I say, “Aw, I could never part with that.”
When I look at a stack of artwork 18 inches thick, it’s easier to choose a few representative works.
Favor Reality over Imagination
If you want to live in an overcrowded house, sort through your things by saying, “This might come in handy if…”.
Unless you are really a dull person, you will be able to come up with a scenario in which ANY item might come in handy.
It won’t fail. You’ll be forced to keep every last thing.
I love the classic old farmer who, when something is needed, reliably has it in his barn and can put his hands on it.
But I don’t have a barn and I’m not that man.
I need to base what I own on what our lives actually require, not on every possible freak of circumstance.
I think I’m on a good path to having a home comfortably furnished with what we need and love.
However, if you have any unpacking tips I’d be happy to hear them!
I’m hoping we’re here for the long haul, so the real trick will be not filling in our space as we live there!
Do you have any Moving Experiences to share?
photo credit: naiaraback1 TE-BLOG_-Moving-day-boxes_-08_23_2011_iStock_000008388519Medium1 via photopin (license)