Stuffocation and Why Packing SUCKS!
Packing up your life into a couple of bags after living in a place for three and a half years SUCKS.
We have been planning this for several months now and have been gradually donating more and more clothes and, more recently, we’ve sold a bunch of furniture and our television on Gumtree. You’d think a couple of months of planning would mean now, less than a week from leaving, we should be pretty sorted right? Wrong.
We had planned for our last week in London to be this wonderful relaxing week of sightseeing, seeing friends, drinking coffee in our favourite cafes and properly saying goodbye to our home here.
Unfortunately, the universe didn’t like that idea and we’ve had a series of mishaps and things that have gone wrong over the last few weeks that have meant we’re not really where we wanted to be at all.
First, I broke my wrist playing my last game of indoor football and after many hours in waiting rooms, getting X-Rays and MRIs I was left in a splint and not really able to use my left wrist for 6 weeks. I’ve just thrown the splint out and although my wrist is a lot better, carrying anything heavy or putting weight on it is still not working. Great when you’re constantly sorting through and lifting stuff.
Then Dayna got really sick and was struggling through her days at work. This would be fine normally (you know, when we aren’t already pressed for time) but not great when we have a long list of stuff to get through.
After that I thought if Dayna can do it, so can I and I put my neck out so badly I’ve had a migraine for the last week. On days that I was meant to spend sorting out our house I was stuck moaning and feeling sorry for myself in a darkened room instead.
Through all of this we’ve been dealing with one of the worst bits of humanity: people who buy stuff off Gumtree (like Ebay or Trademe for those who don’t know it). About 10% of these people are perfectly normal functioning human beings. The rest are late every time, never follow through with what they said, struggle to piece together a coherent sentence and can’t read a basic ad. On the plus side we have had some entertaining emails. I think my favourite was the offer to swap our playstation for an old cracked Ipad. No thanks!
The charity stores on Clapham High Street probably know us on a first name basis already and we have a few more runs down there to do. Each time made more difficult by the fact that we’re getting rid of things we are attached to and want to keep but we just don’t have the room.
One of the hardest goodbyes was to “Sharky”. Dayna even told the lady working at the donations shop, “Make sure he goes to a nice person. I’m very sad to give him up”.
I’m sure there will be more tough calls to make.
We still have a few more loads to do but the final hurdle now is the fact that our stuff just doesn’t fit in our bags. Not even close.
The amount of stuff you accumulate over a few years is amazing. We went to a talk earlier in the year by James Wallman, the author of “Stuffocation”. He pushes the idea that we should all value experiences more than material possessions and that decluttering can have a huge positive impact on our lives.
We agreed completely and at the time we went through a bit of a spring clean (ironically donating our 2 copies of Stuffocation). That process of throwing stuff out and clearing more space in our house was really good for us and I thought we had cleared the bulk of our “stuff”.
More than that, getting rid of things we didn’t need or use cleared our heads and eased up the subconscious stress we felt from our flat being cluttered.
I mean really, why do 2 people need 16 dinner plates? We never have friends over and would keep using clean plates instead of washing the dirty ones until they filled our sink.
Six months later and we still seem to have an incredible amount of “stuff”. There has been a lot of times in the last few days where I have turned to Dayna and asked what something is. If neither of us can work out what the thing is for or what it’s a part of then we throw it out. I’m sure this will backfire at some point when we’re missing a crucial Gopro accessory but oh well.
The light at the end of the tunnel is hopping on the flight next Tuesday but right now that feels more like a looming deadline than anything. Thankfully we have a forced deadline before that – Thursday is when we move out of our flat so one way or another we have to pack everything up.
And friends & family, we will no longer be accepting gifts of “stuff”. Experiences, accommodation, or monetary gifts are great but I don’t think we can handle any more sad discussions about throwing out sentimental items! (but maybe the odd shark related item for Dayna)