I dread preparing to move. The thought of packing boxes, moving my stuff, and dealing with everything is just awful. I always swear I'll pare down, but it's never quite enough.
Right now, I'm preparing to move yet again. I haven't even touched some of the stuff I unpacked last year when I moved in; mostly, I spend my time these days outdoors or hanging out with Matt. But I've been trying to sort through items and get rid of things, and it is so difficult. Having all that stuff around is almost like a security blanket.
I'm starting to get some ideas, however. I just read The Simple Dollar post The Source of Frugal Misery, where Trent talks about making informed decisions based on your values. And something really hit me: I don't have to get rid of everything I own. I don't even have to get rid of whole categories. But I do need to get down to the items I functionally use.
The example I like best, and the one I'm hoping to start with, is paring down the DVDs. I own quite a number of DVDs (50 or so? maybe more). I watch plenty of them on a regular basis; I think "When Harry Met Sally" is at least a yearly priority for me. And I know I wouldn't watch movies as much if I didn't have some of my old favorites around. But do I need to keep all the movies I own?
Yesterday, Matt and I discovered a new rental store in town. I've had a gift certificate there for about 10 months and finally got around to using it. We figure the $10 would get us two or three movies. Surprise! Most of the movies are $1 for a 5 day rental. Yes, one single dollar for five days to enjoy a movie. And they have lots of classic movies and old favorites. And perhaps the coolest part of all is that their kids movies are completely free, so we can rent Disney movies to our hearts' content.
Reading the post combined with discovering the rental store makes me think I really can shed some of these movies. I'll get Matt involved in helping me decide which ones we don't need anymore. Even great movies might need to go. For example, I've owned Amelie for at least two years now, and the movie itself is still wrapped in plastic. Definitely time to reconsider whether or not I actually watch it. (side note: this reminds me of a good trick -- tape all your DVD boxes. After 6 months or a year, see which DVDs you've actually watched. Get rid of the rest!)
My attitude towards stuff may be a bit radical, considering all the things I own fit in a 4x4x8 U-haul trailer and my car. But it's sobering to realize how much time it takes to care for all these items, especially when moving frequently. I've written often about wanting to reduce what I own, and little steps like this are helping me achieve that goal. Maybe the next move won't be quite so horrible.