Does It Count As Decluttering If I Scan Everything?

I dropped my 2004 and 2005 tax returns in the shredder yesterday, and I didn’t scan them in ahead of time.

I don’t need to, I know that. I used to do taxes seasonally, I know perfectly well the IRS only requires you to keep them for three years. I held onto them anyway. You know good ol’ Justin Case, don’t you?

There’s plenty of things that I did scan before I tossed, just because it was easier than trying to figure out if I really needed them: receipts for technology I still have, even if I’m unsure how long the warranty lasts, records of paid-off bills, and so on.

I scanned some of the “comics” I made in middle school, on the grounds that the paper is stained and the pencil drawings have gotten blurred from rubbing against each other. I’ll miss having the originals, but they’re a mess and I don’t pull them out often, so it’s for the best.

The apartment is emptying out, though it’s hard to tell. I think we’re at the point where we need to give up and cart most of the remainder off to a donation center. We have a couple things that are still on Craigslist, and a couple more that have been provisionally sold to friends but they haven’t picked them up yet. It’s time to move on to the next level of packing.

Level up!

All The Things

Huh, it’s been almost two weeks.

I’ve done a couple of things – I put my two weeks notice in at my job. I bought a storage bag for the top of the car.

The reason for the storage bag is that my girlfriend and I decided we’re getting rid of almost everything, not renting a truck, not renting a trailer, nothing. We’re going to ship four boxes media mail, and everything else has to fit in the hatchback.

My boss has decided that I should spend my last two weeks working overtime, so my girlfriend is in charge of getting rid of everything else in the house. She updates me during the day when I’m at work and every night I come home to a slightly more empty apartment.

10 Years of Ashes

I took this picture three years ago. At the time, it was every journal I’d used for the past eleven years. Of course, the pile only grew after that.

Until now.

Very early in the packing process, I got rid of the ones that were empty or almost empty, clipping out any pages I wanted to keep. Anything that was full or nearly so, though, I dutifully repacked for moving.

Today I decided to take another look at them. On my way to work, I grabbed a stack – most of the pocket-sized journals, as well as a larger one – and today I went through them. I realized that most of the stuff between 2000 and 2004 or so is amazingly incoherent and entirely irrelevant to who I am now.

That’s not me anymore, and that hasn’t been me in a long time, and god knows it’s not like I’ve actually pulled these out and reread them in the last fourteen years.

I didn’t actually set them on fire, though if I wasn’t at work, I’d be tempted to. Instead I ripped each of them out of the hard covers, dropped the covers in the trash, and dropped the pages in the shred bin. Not as visceral as burning, but almost as theraputic.

I’ll grab another pile tomorrow, or maybe tuck into them tonight, and when I’m done, maybe I’ll take a new picture.

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Decluttering Is Sexy

No, really, let me explain.

Yesterday my girlfriend and I were discussing books, packing, and all the annoying things about moving. She’s gone through her books before but suddenly she was on a mission. As she packed box after box, she explained her new philosophy to me.

Rather than being a completist, she’s decided to keep only the truly emblematic books from each author. She asked herself what she was really saying with each of her collections. What does a bookshelf full of every L.M. Montgomery book say about its owner? I’m still not entirely sure, but I’m pretty sure that whatever it says, it’s not something that’s true of her. She kept her favorite Montgomery, her favorite Stephen King, and so on.

Watching her finish up her books gave me the push to finish going through my comic book boxes. We each put a few things aside for friends we think will appreciate them, but three boxes of comics went out the door as well. The trunk and the back seat of the car were both completely full when we headed out to Half Price Books.

Just before we left, I smiled at her and told her, “You’re so sexy when you’re decluttering.” It was a joke, but there’s a kernel of truth to it as well. When we first talked about this move, my biggest concern was the expense, even moreso than the effort involved. We talked about our goals and what we wanted, though, and it turned out we were surprisingly in sync. I’ve gone out of my way not to push her too far as we pack – possibly too far in the other direction. But every time she demonstrates that she’s just as excited, just as committed as I am, if not moreso, I understand a little more what it means to be in a relationship where you and your partner share common dreams. And that’s exciting.

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More Waxing Poetic About My Books

I’m down to 49 books, guys. I counted.

I don’t usually ascribe to the “count all the things” school of minimalism, but in this particular case, I was curious. Considering that as far back as I can remember, I’ve had more books than I’ve had shelves.

Of course, we’re making progress selling all our shelves too so I guess I might still end up with more books than shelves. Two jewelry storage units went out yesterday thanks to Craigslist, and I’m waiting to hear from one of my coworkers about whether she wants to arrange the sale of two bookshelves and a desk today.

I’m just starting into the throws of “no, really, do I want to keep this?” now, as we hit the one-month deadline. Right now, everything needs to justify itself, and I need to keep reminding myself that everything needs to answer that question instead of packing things without thinking about it.

Our notice is officially given to the apartment complex, so we’re moving at the end of August no matter what!

Slow Down

This weekend we took a couple of boxes of pagan books and some statuary to a local pagan store. There was enough that the store owner said he’d like a couple of days to look over it before he gives us the terms for the consignment, which is fine with me. I’ve known him for years and years and we’re basically just looking to get stuff that we no longer need into good homes.

Other than that, it’s been slow going lately. I finally bought some bankers boxes to start packing into, but I’m not sure where to start. I want to do more purging, but I’m at a loss for where to go next on that project. I feel like I’ve already looked at everything, though I know that can’t really be the case.

I started an Electronic Yard Sale album on Facebook so my local friends can get a look at what we’re getting rid of. Most of the big stuff has takers so I’m not too worried, anything that doesn’t go to friends will go on Craigslist in two weeks. Here’s hoping slow but steady will win the race!

Decluttering Bookstores

So Borders is giving up the ghost entirely.

Almost all the ones near me already closed, but there’s one left in reasonable driving distance (near the Half Price Books where I’ve unloaded so many things lately). I don’t really want to do much shopping, though, because however fast a reader I am, I doubt it’ll be fast enough to read anything I buy there before moving.

I may go raid the magazine section once it’s on sale, though. Magazines are great for a quick read and purge.

Even with my efforts to get rid of books, I have to admit that losing bookstores makes me sad. I worked in a Borders after graduating college – though that particular location has been gone for two years now – and it was a real joy to be surrounded by books every day (even if I hated the customers).

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