The multi-purge process explained...
Sixty days out from retirement today!
We reached another milestone this past weekend in listing our Coop for sale. After months of painting and upgrading counters, floors, bathrooms, and closets, it looks like a show home and ready for sale. But that part was easy, really. Just planning, cash, and sweat-equity (mostly Scott's!). The hard part was ridding ourselves (mostly me) of the things accumulated over 12 years of living in one place. We've had house sales, made countless trips to Good Will, given items to family and friends, and plain old thrown stuff out to get down to the bare bones required to show the house, not to mention to move onto our adventures without a semi-trailer of stuff.
The process has been illuminating, cathartic, frustrating, sad, hard, and ultimately amazingly freeing. It wasn't always easy. The way we did it, and this really worked for us (read that me), was to do it a little at a time. The first pass actually was kinda easy. Just getting rid of stuff that didn't hold much, if any, value and we knew we'd never want. Lots of clothes, nick-knacks, kitchen stuff, books, and stuff packed in boxes and in the back of closets was in this category. Then we proceeded to probably three to four more rounds. Each one peeling away progressively more; each time asking the questions: where did I get this? what memories does it hold? will I ever use it again? would I miss it? And each time deciding what future home the item might have: should it just go in the trash? would family or friends want it? could Good Will sell it? could we sell it? is it actually worth anything?
We did sell things and we will sell more. We didn't make thousands but we made something and it felt good to see items go to new homes of people that liked them. Some things that family and friends took were really special moments; knowing that the item wasn't just getting thrown away and allowing me to tell the story of the item's history. This was especially true for the items that still held some meaning but not enough. And let me just say, it's weird where sentiment lies and what gives inanimate objects meaning. For me, it's been mostly about the origin of the thing - where I got it and who was with me - but sometimes it's just the shear length of time it's been in your possession. Getting rid of stuff you've been hanging onto for thirty-plus years is sometimes really hard - even if it's just a T-shirt.
So you might ask, what remains? Well, of course, we still have some furniture but that will all be sold or given away. Items destined for the storage unit include original artwork and my beloved iron baker's rack in case we ever get another permanent home, kitchen items I don't want to part with or would be expensive to replace when we get that new home, and a few pieces of pottery I've collected on travels...and that's it. In the end, and I really think Scott has known this all along since he has very few material items he has brought forward through life, what matters is your memories, what you do today, and your future - and none of these require material possessions to hold onto - though, admittedly, they can make those memories manifest.