|Crespi, "Music Library," 1720|
The last few days before The Big Move were a whirlwind of packing and disposing and re-packing and disposing of the huge number of Things (some of them quite nice) we had accumulated over our own lifetimes and the lifetimes of several others.
We were delighted to give things to people who helped or to donate them to charity; but a lot of stuff went to the dump. Now that we're unpacking -- slowly -- in New Mexico, we've been wondering why we brought some of the stuff we did to our home here and why we disposed of some of the things we did (that we now see we either need or would enjoy and use if we still had them.)
Sometimes we laugh over what's "lost," while sometimes there are real -- if temporary -- pangs over nice things we "should have kept" but didn't or couldn't due to lack of space.
We hadn't moved in many years, but prior to settling down a couple of decades ago we were moving constantly, several times a year, so we'd pared our stuff down to essentials that we could pack into a station wagon and (sometimes) a trailer and head to our next destination. We could move most or all of it ourselves without additional help and we didn't need a truck -- or, except briefly, did we need to put things in storage for later sorting and disposition.
But once we settled, we started accumulating (we called it "collecting"), and that accumulation became our main burden during the final days and weeks of The Big Move. What to do with it?
The problem was compounded by the fact that our house in New Mexico was already fully furnished and quite liveable without a single additional item at all -- and it already had its own assortment of "collectibles".
What to do?
Though we gave away or donated hundreds of books, perhaps 90% of what we sent out to New Mexico via truck turned out to be... paper. Books primarily. Boxes and boxes of them. Thousands of volumes. Much other paper as well: Writings, newspaper clippings about ourselves, scripts by the box full (most by others), ancestral documents, memories and souvenirs, photographs. There was a lot of stuff we don't need but couldn't just throw away because it has ID information on it (like SS numbers and such). It would have taken too long to shred it all. So we brought it with us to shred here. (But we didn't have room to pack a shredder!)
The sense of loss was hard for a while. We had so many "nice things" in California, much of which is now either in other hands or disposed of. But we have plenty of "nice things" in New Mexico. Too much as we're coming to understand.
So part of our task since we've been here is... getting rid of stuff. Paring down. Simplifying.
Re-conceptualizing our lifestyle.
I think that happens to most people who move here.