(8) Deciding What to Keep and What to Let Go

(8) Deciding What to Keep and What to Let Go

It’s amazing how much you can accumulate in thirty three years! My wife and I are collectors of many different types of items, and we hate throwing things out. We assign sentimental value, assume rarity, ponder some possible future use, or find just about any excuse to keep an item. Can any of you relate to this? As HSPs, it doesn’t take much for us to form emotional attachments, even to inanimate objects!

To further illustrate this point, I’ll admit that we still had my daughter’s baby clothes, crib, and the many projects that she had from all of her school years. She’s currently thirty-seven! A word of warning to parents of all ages… Your kids don’t want anything that you’re saving!

As I mentioned in a previous post, our goal was to have our house ready for sale by May 2015. This was a very ambitious plan that gave us only two months to accomplish a monumental task. While we knew that we probably couldn’t meet this deadline, we wanted to get as close as we could. It never hurts to have high expectations, and you can always make adjustments as needed!

We made up our minds to do whatever it took to alleviate the stress of deciding what to do with all of our stuff. Instead of focusing on the difficulties we had, we put our attention on what we wanted to accomplish. To keep us motivated, we did our best to keep our eyes on “the prize,” which was to live closer to our daughter and leaving New Jersey.

When you have a really big goal, I’ve found that it helps to have a clear vision of the outcome you want. Although we didn’t know exactly where we were going to live, we gave a lot of thought to our ideal home. We knew that we wanted to live within a thirty-minute drive from our daughter. We envisioned a three-bedroom ranch home with an updated kitchen, family room, a finished basement with a room for an office, a “man cave” for my many collectibles, and a spacious two car garage. We also wanted to be in a nice neighborhood and have a small yard where we could plant flowers and have barbecues.

Sometimes, after a long day’s work, we’d call up our daughter and talk about our move to Missouri, discussing different neighborhoods, interesting things in the area, and other things we could look forward to. It was important to remind ourselves of the benefits we’d eventually experience, especially when things got really challenging.

During a painful process of sorting through our things, my wife and I had more arguments than we did in our whole marriage, and we are currently married 41 years! We accused each other of being hoarders and argued about who was the biggest hoarder. (I still say that she’s worse than I am!) The stress was unbearable at times, but we were able to work through it. When one of us got frustrated or too tired to go on, the other one would pick up the slack and offer encouragement. It was the hardest project that we ever took on, but giving up was NOT an option for us! We weren’t getting any younger, and we knew that if we didn’t act now, the move would never happen.

We felt that we had to reduce the clutter in order to show our house in the best possible light and to save on moving costs. We donated or sold everything that we could. We had a portable storage unit delivered to our house, filled it up, and had these items sent to a storage facility.

My wife and I were often daunted by the tasks before us. Instead of trying to figure everything out by ourselves, we sought help when we needed it. As people came to our house for different situations, we asked for advice and sought referrals. We did research and talked to others who had gone through a major move. This was a good strategy because we were ultimately able to find all of the people and resources that we needed to succeed.

Do you have trouble letting things go? Did you ever try to drastically downsize or simplify your life? If so, how did you handle it? How did you keep yourself motivated? Did you visualize success? Did you ask for help when you needed it? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

The next post, (9) What do we do with our house?, is about the challenge and stress of getting our house ready for the sale.


About Cliff’s Big Move Series: In this series of blog posts, I chronicle a really “Big Move” that my wife and I made to move halfway across the country to be closer to our daughter. This was a HUGE change for us, as we had lived in our home in New Jersey for over 30 years! My mother had recently passed away, and our only daughter had moved to Missouri. It is my hope that this series will motivate you, as a highly sensitive person, to take on something that’s truly important to you. I tell the story sequentially in 23 posts, with each one numbered. It’s best to start at the beginning. You can access all the posts by clicking on the Cliff’s Big Move category in the sidebar.

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