Thursday, 28 March 2013

Moving Discoveries and the Process of Purging

I recently discovered that I am the proud owner of 17 vases.  Not to mention countless mugs.

This move has provided a golden opportunity to purge and begin the process of simplifying.  When you come across a box while packing that hasn’t been UNpacked in three cross-country moves containing, among other things, a GLASS jar of mayonnaise (no modern day plastic here, thank you very much) that expired in 1989, you know it’s time to get rid of a few things.

Side note - the mayonnaise seemed to be well preserved and appeared to look quite normal, but we didn't open it to find out.

Seriously, some of the boxes we had in our basement had stickers on them from multiple moving companies.  Obviously we didn't really need whatever was in them.

There’s an ugly word that sometimes gets thrown around our house, usually when someone is frantically searching through the ever-present paper pile on the kitchen counter….or more recently, when a box of VHS movies made their way into the basement (we don’t even own a VCR anymore).


I knew before we started packing that there were a lot of things that needed to go.  Knowing and DOING, however, are two entirely different things.   It’s not easy to find the time needed to sort through a lifetime’s worth of accumulated stuff.  Moving has forced me to make the time and start the process of purging.

Just to be clear, I am not one of those last-week’s-lunch-under-the-coffee-table kind of hoarders.  We don’t have 27 cats and I don’t need to walk through a sea of garbage to get to the kitchen sink.  I am the other kind of hoarder, the I-can’t-throw-it-away-if-it-has-sentimental-value kind of hoarder.  The thought of throwing away handmade Mother’s Day cards, kindergarten report cards, maps from our last family vacation, twenty year old programs from The Phantom and Les Mis, prom tickets, kids’ artwork, or any other kind of memorabilia just stresses me out.  Interestingly, being surrounded by clutter also stresses me out.  You see my dilemna. 

I am digging deep and finding my way through the process of purging while preserving.  It’s tricky and complicated and I wish I had started this a helluva long time ago.

If I was at the beginning of this journey with children, I would take photos of artwork and memorabilia to store electronically, keeping selected pieces to frame and/or scrapbook.  But twenty years ago we hadn’t yet entered this digital age, and developing film was expensive, so photography was much more selective.  You would have never caught me taking a picture of a plate of nachos or a cup of coffee.   I won’t part with all of the treasures my children have created over the years, but I do plan to digitally catalogue them so it will be easier to let most of them go.

When the kids were small, I kept every scrap of clothes to hand down to the next in line.  If it didn’t fit anyone right then, it would surely fit someone eventually.  Perfectly reasonable, yes?  Now they’re older, more fashion conscious, with different body types and personalities.  They aren’t wearing a whole lot of big brother’s clothing anymore…. so why are there 31 pairs of jeans waiting to be sorted into closets?  17 hoodies?  And this is AFTER having made multiple runs to Goodwill before we moved.  

Pokemon cards.
Crazy Bones.
Beanie Babies.

Kids love to collect, and these kids were champion collectors when they were small. 

Books.   Lotsa books.

We have a lot of stuff.  There are, after all, eight people living in this house.  I know some of this stuff can go, but it would be unrealistic to expect to see it all gone.  I can’t bring myself to be a complete minimalist because there is an emotional attachment to many of the things we own.  But I can find a way to trim it back and better manage what we do choose to keep.

This is going to be an interesting journey.


  1. Gosh, I'm right smack dab in the middle of a major decluttering, and I'm looking for guest posters who have a story to tell. Kind of a before and after the hoard kind of story. If you are ever interested, I would love to have you shoot me an email!

  2. I read once that emotional hoarders keep stuff because they believe that, if they don't physically have an object in their possession, they will forget the memory that is attached to the object. Once that false "connection" is broken and the person realizes that he/she can still remember the memory even if the object is gone, then it becomes so much easier to "let go" of the stuff.

  3. LOL! I have been there! Not only when I moved, but when I moved my mom to Louisiana ( she had junk mail that she had stuck back that was post marked from 1988!!!!). Sometimes the memories evoked are amazing, but the work involved is often overwhelming. Now following you on bloglovin' and I hope you have a great day!


  4. Hola Jenn!
    I so know what you mean! LOL! But, I do regret having thrown away many of sentimental things. Especially with my move back home to Florida. Still have many things though, I have a round hat box full of cards and an accordion file with things my girls when they were little. Thanks for sharing this post, it brought back warm memories. I cried.


  5. I have walked in these shoes as well. I wonder how we accumulate all that we do and yes, like you said, there are so many memories attached to them. But at some time, we have to purge so we can have the room to build more memories. = ) Thanks for connecting on the Inspire Powerful Action Blog Hop.

    Irish at Dedicated 2 Life

  6. I would hate to be moving and have to go through my whole house, piece by piece! I have TONS of stuff also and I've been trying to cut back but it truly is hard! I can NEVER find the time and then I have that emotional attachment with alot of what I own so I know how you feel. Most of the things in my house belong to either me or my 2 daughters, my fiance don't own much and he likes it that way.

    Thanks for the Follow! I'm a new follower on Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter :-) Hope to see you around!

  7. I have the same issue. I have totes full of stuff that I just can't get rid of. I have a small tote that has all my son's stuff from Disney that still needs to be scrapbooked. (I hate scrapbooking) He went when he was 6 and he's 10 now. I hate throwing anything away.

    New follower from Monday Mingle.

  8. I feel your pain. I am packing up my kitchen for a complete gut and remodel. I don't usually have trouble tossing things out, but there are just things I don't want to part with. I'll just pack'em in boxes and shove them in the basement!

  9. Ha! I know someone who's exactly like that. Cough! (me) The things you can find in the basement that are of no use already but still there. Okay okay! I need to clean up.

  10. My biggest fear is becoming a hoarder - I was laughing when I saw you type it in all caps: HOARDER! Yikes :) Moving is a great reason to purge.

  11. Jenn,
    Thanks for visiting the hop. I see my future in your post; my attic is taking on a lot of stuff. Half of it's the kids stuff so maybe that's OK, right!?!
    I'm imaging the 17 vases are from receiving flowers so that's a pretty good average over 20+ years.

    Thx again,

  12. I am most probably moving in the next few months, so am about to start this process - we have only been in this house for just under two years, but have far more than we need!

    Really happy to have found you via the Bloglovin link up and looking forward to following.

    Have a lovely day.

    Kate x
    Kate at Home

  13. Oh goodness, I'm not looking forward to our next move. The kids toys are hard enough to deal with now, there rooms are like a Mary popping bag....just never ending toys. The bad thing is I don't remember buying all these toys, it like they just keep showing up. Maybe there's a vortex or black hole of some sort, located in my home and it spit toys out at would explain so much. Anyhow, nice blog and post. Hello from a new follower.

  14. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Oh, how I hear you on this. It wasn't until my parents became very ill and I had to start getting rid of their stuff (no room) that I really "got" how transient and ephemeral "stuff" is. I'm much more likely to toss things out now and hope that the memory sticks around.

  15. I am following on Google :) from the co host of the Social Sunday. Looking forward to getting to know you and your blog better!

  16. Hi, Joined you on Twitter, isn't moving the time we get rid of all of the things that we thought we had to have. That is the way it works for me. Realized that I did not need it anyways. With six little ones you probably needs to constantly get rid of things.
    Living F.A.B.ulously on Purpose

  17. I'm in the process of doing this too! I really, really have to simplify. I moved twice in 2010 (long story) and I still have some craft stuff I've hung on to. I haven't used it so it's going to a friend. I understand about the 17 vases! :) My hoarding is in the kitchen ~ dishes, stemware, baking pans and dishes...the list goes on. Some items I'm getting rid of ~ haven't used them in years.

    Wishing you the best!

  18. I spent the weekend cleaning (must have something to do with Spring, smile). I took three boxes to the Goodwill and feel so good that someone else can benefit from my "dust collectors". Every one wins.

    Thanks for linking up to this week's BlogLovin Hop ( and "I Am Canadian" Feature/Linky ( Let me know if you ever want to guest post.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    Finding Humour in Everyday Life
    journeysofthezoo at hotmail dot com

  19. I'm the same way. I hate throwing away anything sentimental, yet I also hate clutter. I have to go through a bunch of old photos and other memorabilia that's just sitting on the floor in our guest room right now. The thought of it just stresses me out! Good luck with the de-cluttering. Just imagine how good you'll feel when it's done!

  20. I think this is why I enjoy moving every three years! It forces us to edit, purge and get rid of things that just won't fit. I do follow the rule in our cottage that for every one thing brought in, something else must go. Excited to see where your journey takes you!

  21. I hate throwing things away and my house is far,far smaller than your beautiful home.I have managed to make keepsake boxes with the boys first shoes, birthday cards ect. Even those are spilling out into another box...Oops!
    Thanks for linking up to this weeks #RetroBlogPosts


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