We've been helping a family from church that is moving this week. They have actually known they were moving for about a month, but only started the packing process a couple of weeks ago. This is the first time they have moved in about 15 or more years. It is such an overwhelming process! I get the impression that they have never really thrown out much of their belongings over the years, so this is 15 years worth of accumulation. It is too overwhelming to go through it all now, so we are just boxing everything up, and moving it all.
I've had two emotions while helping with this move; fear, and determination. My fear is that I might have to make a similar move! My determination is that I'm going to start throwing out things now in case I do have to! I don't want to have to face the overwhelming amount of stuff when the move comes. I kind of like the idea of having a more minimalistic lifestyle.
One of the things that has been hard for this particular family is the process of detaching their feelings and memories from the actual things associated with them. While all of the children's stuffed animals bring back fond memories, those kids are now adults, and aren't interested in the stuffed animals anymore. If we had more time, I would suggest they take pictures of the stuffed animals, and then throw them away.
Another of the fears of this family is that if they throw anything out, they might have to go out and buy new. But my guess is that if they haven't used it in these many years, they won't be needing it any time soon. That feeling of not wanting something to go to waste is hard to deal with. They did give much away to the Salvation Army, but given more time, I'm sure there would have been much, much more.
So now I'm on a crusade to pair down our belongings. I'm already feeling post traumatic stress just from seeing this family's belongings, and I don't want anything similar should the same circumstance come to us! It's time for Fall cleaning!