moving apartments

I am moving apartments. I am actually pretty much done with packing a few days early, but it’s still stressful and there’s a lot of mess in the apt I can’t really clean up until all the furniture leaves.


I’ve lived in this apartment for almost four years, which is the longest I have lived in any one domicile since I was 15.  I am used to moving every year or so, often across the country, meaning I have been very buddhist about belongings–used to throwing them out every year or so, not getting attached.  Staying in one apartment for so long meant a LOT of stuff being thrown out.  A LOT.  With that and the inheriting of all of one side of my family’s worldly possessions, I am super overwhelmed by STUFF at the moment.  I hate stuff!  I’ve never been a person who needed to collect objects, but then I’ve never really had objects worth keeping for the most part.  Do I need 3 sets of family china?  I’d say no, but would me 20 years from now regret parting with them? I have no idea.  Future Jenny, answer me!


But the irony is, in the process of throwing all this stuff out, I have an ongoing list of stuff I need to buy when I finally get out of here.  I need new glasses, and another sodastream bottle, a swim metronome, a jawbone up, and a clarisonic.


While I think most of my friends would laugh at the idea that I spend frivolously and buy too much stuff, I still feel like we all wrestle individually with what is a necessity and what is not.  When you’re on day 10 of packing your house nothing seems like a necessity–except for the stuff you’re unwilling to pack yet.  In my house this is: the electric kettle, beer (it’s hot out and the weather would ruin it!) cleansers, reading material, my computer & router, and tea.  In fact, I packed too many of my clothes and have to do laundry in order to be able to wear anything.


While I could live a life with only these few things, clearly some things make my life easier/happier.  How do you make the decision though if it’s something you’ll be throwing out a few years from now? And does throwing it out a few years from now mean it wasn’t worth it?  And if you throw it out a few years from now, will you regret it a few years after that?


I’d love your rules of thumb.  In the meantime I will go watch some Hoarders and then throw out a lot more stuff.


  1. Molly says:

    I often say it’s only the fact that my love for getting rid of things is stronger than my love for thrift stores that keeps me out of hoarder-ville. I go by the old “useful, beautiful, or loved” mantra. Everything in my house should be at least one of those things. Because the stuff I buy tends to be super-cheap it’s also easy to adopt an easy-come, easy-go philosophy. If I only spent $5 on something I bought on a whim, it’s easy to let it go back to the Goodwill without feeling like I need to hold onto it out of some sunk-cost fallacy. I’m even pretty brutal with childhood mementos. If it isn’t something that I still want to have in my house today, I’ll take a picture and then get rid of it. I allow myself one rubbermaid tub of exceptions, like the plastic farmhouse I played with at my grandma’s house. I won’t ever use it, I don’t plan to have kids, but it just holds so many good memories that I don’t want to let it go.

    Someone on Metafilter once had a great comment. They said that ebay was their closet. It stored everything that they had ever owned, and if they ever wanted any of it back they just had to pay a small fee to bring it back to their home. 🙂

  2. Abigail says:

    Good for you cleaning out before you move! We’re still cleaning out from the move that’s now two months old and I’m kind of horrified how much stuff I’ve gotten rid of already and how much more stuff I”m really hoping to get out of here soon. Clothing, books I don’t really care about, stuff I might use but haven’t. Combining households has meant getting rid of duplicates, which is also extra super scary (not that I expect to have to replace that stuff anytime soon).

    I have the hardest time with gifts. “But X gave it to me” I think. Does X care if I still have it? Probably not, assuming X remembers but I still drag it on. I used to do the every year move too and that definitely helps.

    Good luck and sturdy cardboard to you!

  3. E says:

    I have extra Soda Stream bottles (have 4, never use more than 2) if you want ’em. I’ll trade you for something awesome!

    I’m in the same boat about moving. We stayed in the A2 apt for 2 years, which was the longest I’d been at any one address since the 90s. I have a lot of shit, but have been winnowing over the years. There are a few things I really regret discarding, but am now sticking to Molly’s principles mentioned above. Do I really need the medicine bottle from my grandpa’s practice? No, but I love it, and I would be sad to lose it. Do I keep the giant dehydrator even though I haven’t used it in a year? Yes, because it will be a bigger pain to replace – and I got it for free! Same thing with the giant canner, as I had a hard time finding one that met my specifications, and would almost certainly pay more.

    What’s hard for me is stuff from my childhood. How do I know what will be important to my future kin? My aunt’s high school clothes make up a huge part of my wardrobe. No one will say the same about mine, in part because they were awful, and in part because they no longer exist. I’ve taken a firm line with my mom about this stuff coming into my house, though it’s a line I won’t be able to maintain forever – which is, if you think this is important enough to keep AND you have storage space, you keep it, because I’ll throw it away.

  4. Heidi says:

    Moving overseas and having to sell a house makes you cut out a lot of crap. My friends went nuts pillaging our place the week before we left, and although part of me did not enjoy it at all (who knew how much they coveted some silly things I owned??) it was a relief to not have to pack it and store it all.

    The only thing I truly hoard is craft supplies. And over pretty much a lifetime of being crafty, I have always been pleased that X or Y that I’ve had for 20+ years was still there to cut up or whatever. I don’t feel bad about those things at all, except I will probably get mad at them when I have to send them all back from Dubai next year. Because I stupidly couldn’t live without most of it.

    I like that thought about ebay too.

    Good luck with all the decisions!

  5. Mark says:

    Did you get a jawbone up? Those look really intriguing! I kind of am coveting one myself.

  6. jenny says:

    Mark–I haven’t. The old version seems to die in water, so I am waiting for the new one.

    Everyone else–I am doing another post about it, but it’s funny. I have a problem KEEPING things, not a problem throwing them away. I like that everyone thought the opposite.

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