Six months ago my family and I moved from Southern California to Northern California. It has been a great transition for our family in terms of my job, the area we now live in, and how close we are to family and friends.
One of the hardest parts about the move was the actual move itself. Deciding what to keep and what not to keep, what to give away and throw away, and how to pack up what we did want.
Since we used a moving company we had to limit what made the trip with us because we had to pay by the pound. So, as my wife and I went through all our possessions and began packing, this question we kept asking ourselves:
Is it worth it to pay them to move it?
Answering this question brought tremendous clarity. It caused us to be more selective about what got boxed up and what didn’t, what we gave away, and what we decided to throw away.
We were both surprised about what was taking up space in our home. We had remotes to devices that didn’t work anymore or we didn’t own anymore. We had keys to places I haven’t lived at in over a decade. At one point I think we found a VCR that hadn’t been used in over a decade! (For those of you that don’t know what a VCR is it’s the thing everyone used to watch movies before Netflix and Redbox.)
I ended up taking van loads of stuff to the dump, but not everything we got rid of ended up there.
Some of the stuff we gave away or sold was actually pretty good, but for different reasons we decided not to bring it with us. We had clothes that were old, didn’t fit, or we just didn’t wear anymore. The kids had toys they had outgrown or didn’t play with anymore. We had furniture that was in OK condition, but not in good enough condition that we were willing to pay someone to move it for us.
And that’s the power of this question. It not only helps you get rid of what you don’t use or what doesn’t work anymore, but it also helps you to clarify what you really want so you can remove the nonessentials and focus on what matters most.
With each van load of stuff we got rid of the freer I felt. I became less weighed down by all the clutter and found myself enjoying what we kept even more. There’s something amazing that happens when you know what’s most important and you shave away all the things that aren’t.
Author and Minimalist Joshua Becker says that people can live more by owning less. And I’m beginning to see he’s right.
I want to encourage you to set some time aside this week, whether you’ve got a big move coming up or not, to begin going through all your possessions and with each one ask yourself this question:
If I had to move would it be worth it to pay someone to move it?
If the answer is yes, keep it and put it away. If the answer is no, schedule time to sell it, give it away, or throw it away. When you do you’ll have less clutter and more freedom.