The 1st Purge of Everything I Own

I have done it! I am home! I graduated college! And now, because I lack anything resembling an instinct for self-preservation, I’m going to grad school.

But before I do that, I’m working at a summer-stock theatre in Indiana for 9 weeks over the summer. For the two weeks I’m home from school before leaving for Indiana, most of what I own is in my mom’s living room. As I moved out of the dorm, I performed the first great big purge of the sum total of my earthly possessions.

Throughout the last semester, I’ve been slowly pulling things out of my closet and putting them into a bag. These are things I don’t enjoy wearing anymore, haven’t worn in ages, that sort of thing, but that I’m a bit wary of absolutely getting rid of quite yet. They’re things I’m pretty sure I’ll never want again, but they’re still within reach, just in case. That particular cleaning-out has been happening since January. I finally consigned them to my mother to donate or give to my younger sister a few weeks ago. However, now, moving out of my on-campus apartment for the last time, I’m doing a real purge.

Some of you may be acquainted with the KonMari method of de-cluttering. To summarize her entire book in a sentence, “if it doesn’t give you joy, toss it.” So, piece by piece, I’ll be going through every. single. thing. in this apartment and deciding, based on usefulness (sorry, Marie Kondo) and whether I still like it, to keep or toss it. I’ll probably actually do this full-scale in August, but I’ve started sorting through things using this method now.

To elaborate on the destination for these items:
There are four general categories. Number 1 is “get rid of it entirely”. Whether this is being donated to my little sister or the local Goodwill, it’s no longer my problem if it lands in this pile. Some of what’s in this pile is being sold; for instance, my TV. Plenty of college kids would be happy with a 3-year-old TV for much less than sticker price, and I’m certainly not carting it across the Atlantic.
Number 2 is “store at home”. I’m not getting rid of it, but I’m not packing it either. It’s things like PJs, non-essential but much-loved books, and a smattering of home furnishings and accessories.
Number 3 is “I need it for this summer”. These are things I will need for my summer job/furnishing housing there, whose fate won’t be relevant until August. I suppose, technically, there are three subcategories here: “Definitely Keeping It”, “Definitely Getting Rid of It in August”, and “TBD”.
Number 4 is “taking it to London”. These are the things that are for sure, absolutely, no doubt about it, coming with me.

Group Number 1

Included in this group are the contents of that bag I told you about earlier. This bag holds a lot of dresses I wasn’t quite ready to admit I’d outgrown, some pieces that no longer mesh with the rest of my closet, and a handful of bras that I should have gotten rid of a year or two ago.I threw away a lot of school supplies that weren’t worth the space to store them, some old binders, a lot of paper or scribbled notes from classes that I took three years ago. I also sold my microwave, TV, a bookshelf, some rugs, and a lamp, along with a handful of other odd dorm furnishings I’ve purchased over the last four years. Luckily for me, I don’t own a lot of the furniture that I was using – the school does – so that was left at the dorm.

Group Number 2

As mentioned, many of my beloved books are included here. I can’t justify shipping them but I can’t bare to get rid of them. I also have more t-shirts than a single human being needs, so most of those will live at home. Some other articles of clothing will also be permanently housed at my parents’. A lot of this stuff is not necessarily always banished to my parents’ house, but it will stay here until I know with some certainty what my postgrad plans are. For instance, I might ship some more kitchen stuff or some things with sentimental value if I end up in the UK permanently.

Group Number 3

This includes my rolling laundry hamper, a lot of kitchen stuff, and an assortment of furniture. I don’t plan to take a lot of my kitchen stuff to London – most of it can be replaced for cheaper than shipping it. In addition, I’ll sort through most of this clothing when I get back and probably end up getting rid of some of it and storing some of it here for me to pick up when I come back at Christmas. London is far milder in September than north Arkansas is, so a lot of my “summer” clothing that I usually think of as being needed in September and October can wait to make it over.

Group Number 4

Things in this group that aren’t also going to Indiana with me include a lot of fall/winter clothing and my full-sized bedding. According to the accommodations website, the beds in on-campus housing are some in-between size between full and twin, so I’m taking my full bedding with me, or at least that’s the plan right now.

All that being said, I have survived and made it out with a few tips:

  • The more you can get rid of before you have to move it, the better. Getting rid of stuff as I encountered it was a good idea – I felt less frantic and I had time to consider each item individually instead of feeling like I was throwing things out willy-nilly.
  • Try to consolidate boxes and sort them by their contents to make finding stuff easier on the other end. I still haven’t found my eye cream.
  • No matter how packed you are the night before, you still have so much to do the next morning. I recommend laying out exactly what you’ll need for the next day at the end of the night before and packing literally everything else.
  • There is a sweet spot in terms of having help. I find that more than two people helping becomes more of a stressor than a help. Think about how many people you can fit in your living space comfortably, and then remember it’s full of boxes.
  • Always plan as though you won’t have as much time as you think you’ll have. You won’t. Inevitably there will be traffic, someone will oversleep, a whole box of stuff you forgot to pack appears.
  • It’s probably not worth keeping most of what’s in your pantry. Throw it out, replace it later.
  • Sometimes throwing things away can feel really cleansing. Don’t underestimate that feeling.

Also, you guys, SPACE BAGS. Ziploc makes some great ones but pretty much Space Bags in general. They will save your life. So much fits. We live in the future.

I haven’t moved terribly many times in my life; I do a lot of back and forth between my parents’ house and my dorm. Do you have any advice for moving? Leave it in the comments!

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