Some Comments On Purging

I was just going to respond to Emily’s earlier post, but again there was so much…so here they are:

It was difficult, but it became rhythmic. We started letting go of things early enough that it wasn’t an urgent and stressful matter. In fact, I’m not sure how it could have been easier. Earlier I read a post by a single guy who went on his own little departure from the “American Dream”, and he said it very aptly…”My house was a revolving door of Craigslist buyers”. Early on it didn’t go as smoothly, as understanding the best way to manage the potential buyers would come only through experience. Emily may have held to the recommendation of another blogger to say “phone calls only”. I stuck to phone calls and texts, more because I didn’t want to count on being able to answer the phone and have it inconvenience me while I was working. Another thing I learned was never to hold anything for anyone, to sell to whomever gets to it first. And that’s one of another couple boundaries I set: “No meet ups or deliveries, pick up’s only”, and “Price is Firm”. I held onto a compressor for nearly a week at which point I had to take down the ad because I had so many calls for it, evidently as posting it too low will do. I had other similar matters later, but after maybe three, I finally got the hint. Oh, and when posting as “Free Stuff”, it’s best to say where you’re leaving it (like in the back alley) and check on it every hour or two to take the ad down once a vulture has descended.

Between the Craigslist sales that were created the revolving door into our house for three months, Emily did a great job advertising, planning, and setting up for our sale. The best part of all was 90+% of the folks who bought from us either through Craigslist or at the sale were simply great people to meet, appreciative, and excited for our “Taking the Leap” plans. Many even had their own similar experiences and stories that further reinforced our decision to jump. One young couple was just fresh off of their minimalist travels in a conversion van with a cooler! They were still driving it when they came to buy furniture for their new “trip” back to “reality”. I believe they are following our blog now. We really felt the universe was showing support for our “fearlessness” by showing us how people in our lives are now going to be…full of peace, support, and kindness.

In the end once we exhausted all efforts of effectively selling our wares, we made it to the finish line after many, many trips to various donation stores and several fill-ups (overflows really, right Ralph???) of our trash and recycling containers as well as some friendly neighbors who found good homes for many nice and/or cherished items. Oddly, what we were left with at the very last moment was our (maybe) nine-month old La-Z-Boy couch, ottoman, and recliner. I believe we had parted with maybe $3,500 for them and they were still in showroom condition. As we found, it really didn’t matter. No one was going to pay even close to what we considered a very low asking price of $600 for the couch and $200 for the recliner. The weekend prior to us leaving, Emily called a couple different furniture consignment dealers, and were getting offers of $150 to take it off our hands. Granted, they would pick it up, but as opposed to give them that great of a deal, I’d rather have taken it in the back alley, driven over it with the truck, and left it for trash pick-up! Thankfully in the 11th hour, our property manager agreed to $400 for all the items and later sent us photos of the wonderful new home she had for them!

As purging affected me emotionally, well it was a roller coaster. Early on, it was more an effort of pulling teeth, every item had to be pondered deeply. The toll this took, especially when coupled with my workload, came in the form of physical exhaustion, and this honestly continued up until I made the 800 mile drive to my first camp spot in Arizona. It wasn’t all that difficult, because as is the case with timelines, at some point you have to accept reality and keep moving things. Over time, the routine became easy and even therapeutic. In the end, I was easily letting go of things. I mean giving things away I never thought I could part with, and doing so quite easily. The main motivator was the knowledge that we had only 175 square feet of living space plus my truck in which to contain 98% of our belongings. What may have helped me the most at that point was a somewhat conscious decision to keep only items that I intended to use this year. In my pre-taking the leap life, I rarely stuck to my two material purging commitments of 1) nothing new without letting go of at least one other item, and 2) if I haven’t used it in two years, it’s gone, so this really was a new beginning!

Despite never having lived in an RV before, the items we held onto didn’t leave us busting at the seams, having to make more hard decisions at which point I finally was able to load for the maiden voyage (a deep and worrisome fear). And, even now that Emily has joined me with two large (and heavy!) suitcases, we’ve already purged more, even though it wasn’t really necessary for space. We truly are comfortable in the space already (with space to spare!) and surely will lose more things as we get even more into the groove of living this way. When asked by someone if there were any items I’d wished I hung onto, I said, “Not at all, if anything, there are more things I wish I had ditched!”. And so it goes, living lighter and with more freedom, recognizing that if something doesn’t serve a regular purpose for us in daily life, it’s not likely to make the next cut!

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