Monthly Archives: August 2014

What moving day can tell you about consumption

Moving day junk

If the stuff in your house just ends up in the trash, why have it in the first place?

My cul-de-sac has seen a flurry of activity in the past week.

There are two really busy times of year for people in a college town like mine. The end of May is when a lot of the students move out, and near the beginning of August is when a lot of students move in.

It’s obviously not a one-for-one scenario, but those two times are usually quite active with people moving in and out of their rentals and finding new ones, either in town or somewhere else.

The trash pickup in my area is early on Wednesday morning. For whatever reason, some of the people moving out in the neighborhood didn’t get everything they were discarding out until after that. One of the things I like about where I live is the view from my bedroom looking out the window. But since last Wednesday afternoon, I’ve had to look across the street to see a pile of junk that didn’t make it out in time for trash pickup.

It’s an eyesore to look at, but it gave me something to think about.

Seeing these piles of junk left behind really gives perspective to the people living there. Why did they have things in their home they eventually decided was trash? What value did those items left behind give them when it was in their home? Will they think differently about their possessions at their next dwelling, or will this cycle of consumption continue?

Putting yourself in the “I could move from here someday” mindset might be helpful when you’re taking stock of what you own. We know that we’ll be moving from here before too long. It might be a year, it could be two, but we definitely know this isn’t a long-term domicile for us. That mindset has been helpful for us as we continue our path toward minimalism. The thought that we’re going to move helps us to decide what things we should keep now, rather than deal with it at a less opportune time in the future.

I’ve had many people tell me, “When we moved, we got rid of so many things.” Therein lies the problem. If we end up getting rid of things when we move, then why do we have them at all?

This goes beyond decluttering. Having things organized simply means they’re hid better in our homes. But freeing ourselves from the possessions we no longer truly love can help us prepare for the inevitable and help alleviate the necessary maintenance that comes with making a home for “stuff.”

We have a long way to go, but I’m thankful we’re edging toward the mindset of only having things in our home that we value. And perhaps, if we’re diligent, we won’t have many things at the curb when we’re ready to move on to the next place.