Time to De-clutter
“How did I accumulate so much STUFF?” is the question we find ourselves asking after a school term comes to an end, or when we are packing and moving. I’ll give you the recipe right now, so even if you don’t finish this article, you have the key secret: Keep the best, get rid of all the rest.
As someone who tries to live comfortably but minimally, I’ve enjoyed the great luxuries of living with less ‘STUFF’ ever since I came to Canada. I remember packing for a whole week, taking things in and out of my three luggage bags before embarking on my international full-time education back in August 2011.
It was such a frustrating process because I couldn’t decide what was an ‘essential’ personal belonging, and how do you pack up 18 years of your life in a suitcase? Sometimes it’s just about letting go; it is easier said than done, but once you get through, you never want to go back.
Over the course of 4.5 years of university, I’ve moved houses 5 times. By the third time, you are pretty wise to not accumulate too many possessions, because more things means more packing and unpacking.
I think for many students who may be going to university far away from home, it is common for us to be moving around for co-ops or summer work. If you are like me, where my home is thousands of miles away, keeping things in storage will incur extra costs, so I would rather not have it in the first place. I thought it would be a useful idea to provide some tips on how to keep your place comfortable and uncluttered.
- Try to rent room/shares that have all furniture and kitchen appliances included so you won’t have to move bulky items which generally cost more to move as well.
- One In One Out Clothing Rule: If you want or need something new, have a rule that you must give up something old before purchasing the new.
- Books: Okay, I know some of us really like our textbooks and novels, but if you are up for a challenge, I would sell all textbooks, get the money, and save it. Utilize the free public library services to borrow print and e-books, magazines, and more.
- Name Cards: So many name cards! As a business student, this is essential for our networking, but I ended up with over 200 name cards that were already in my e-contact list, so I recycled them. After each networking event, e-save all your important contacts, and recycle their name cards or use Apps like CamCard.
- Kitchen Appliances: I really love cooking, and I have an attachment to my cooking tools, but I did end up selling my kettle, rice cooker, and blender before I moved since the new place already had them, and there was no use in duplicating.
- Technology: If your phone or computer isn’t broken, you don’t need a second. As tempting as it is to get the ‘new’ version, changing a phone every year or 6 months is a waste of your hard-earned money.
Last but not least….
This may be the best advice. When it comes to moving out, the reasons why we find so many textbooks, dishes, appliances, and furniture in the garbage dump or on the roadside is because people wait till the last minute.
You could have donated all those things or sold them on Used Victoria, but if you wait till the last minute, you have no time. So have a clear future in mind. If you plan to do a co-op or an exchange term abroad, start making your packing list, and “de-clutter list.”
In the last two months, as I am preparing to move to Vancouver, I’ve donated bags, shoes, books, stationery, markers, notebooks, and made some money off the kitchen appliances I had. My goal is to fit everything in a regular sized car. I don’t really do any shopping at all except for groceries, and I’m even starting to use up items in my cupboard so I can move less ‘food’ things. For example, I already used up everything I had in my freezer.
It’s hardest when you first start, but living in less ‘stuff’ gives you more space, and enjoyment. It’s also more sustainable financially, emotionally, and mentally. Like the saying goes… ‘Less, is more’ 🙂