Personal Inventory: Take Two.

How does one go about moving everything in nine days? How do you get to that moment where you’re driving off from where you were, headed to where you’re going, with nothing but what’s in your car? As I go through this process, there seem to be some simple truths emerging.

  1. Decide to do it

    This may seem obvious, but it may be the single biggest challenge. In my particular situation, I’m leaving a job I’ve had for almost nine years and moving across the state. It is no small decision. The whys and hows are another matter, but the going through of it is relevant here.

    Before you can drop the clutch and roll, crank the radio, light a cigarette, or whatever it is you do, you have to get to that moment where you’re driving away. Before that, you have to get to the moment where you get into the car to drive away. And before that, you have to get to the moment where woke up that final day.

    Before you can get there, you have to decide to get there.

  2. Reverse the approach

    OMGponies, you’re going to do it! How exciting! Now what? My initial inclination was to start making a list of stuff to sell. But what ultimately proved more valuable was what I’ve come to refer to as the “if i only had N things” exercise.

    Focusing on what you’re keeping and why you’re keeping it proved a much more enlightening experience than I had anticipated. After I got through item four, I couldn’t really think of a reason to keep other stuff.

    If you only keep one possession, what would it be? Seriously. One thing. Take some time to think about it. What if you only owned one thing? After that, the process is simply a mathematical exercise. What if you could have second thing? And so on.

    Also, if you are having trouble small-i-fying your list, consider what you’re moving via as a motivator. For myself it’s a 1997 Subaru Imprezza Outback Sport; Basically the cheap Outback, but it does have the hatchback. I simple cannot fit any of my furniture in it. And after even a few small moving boxes, it starts to get pretty full in there.

  3. Price to sell

    What would be do without Craigslist? Though, I still think they/he should consider a subtle refresh; Nothing major, just some typography improvements and slight user interface refinements.

    Sometimes the goal at this point can become clouded as we look around at the floating dollar signs above all of our things. But clarity is just a moment away. The simple truth is: The lack of possessions is the goal, not cash. Money as compensation is a bonus. Sweet – gas money for the trip!

    I’m currently having a bit of concern for myself regarding this point. I’m afraid my initial price points may have been to high. But, I’m trying to be patient. I did list stuff on easter morning (jesus, rabbits, and eggs? i don’t get it), and it’s only been about 24 hours, as of 11:24am, Monday, April 13. Lots of nibbles, no sales yet.

  4. Pack attack

    What ever can one do while fidgeting, waiting for stuff to sell? Pack my child, pack. When the goal is a greatly reduced number of possessions, packing sure is a hell-of-a-lot easier.

    In the past eighteen months, I’ve gone from a large two bedroom (which is more like a one bedroom, plus another room where all the shit you don’t use goes) at 1100 square feet, through a large one bedroom condo at 750 square feet, through a small one bedroom (technically a one bedroom since there is a window in the “bedroom” but it’s a large studio) at 300 square feet, and soon to my car at X amount of cubic feet.

    It is amazing how much shit I used to own. It’s more obvious when listed in one sentence like that. Wow. I still feel weird about not having what I’ve come to think of as my few possessions, but when I look back I certainly don’t miss all that stuff I don’t remember. As long as I keep what’s important to me I’ll be fine.

    My pack attack plan is to have between 6-10 small boxes, two guitars, a case of toilet paper (not a plan, just happened to reorder at this time), a pack, and two tubes of clothes (these are those compressions sacks for hiking. i recommend them for clothes.). Plus other random items. A couple suits, and any other things.

    I’m almost fully packed about four to eight hours of packing, over the course of a few days.

    This isn’t to say I’m close to being done. I’ve got a bin for the goodwill almost full, and likely to be filled a couple times over before next Monday. And I will also likely have several bags of garbage.

  5. Test the waters

    I’m actively waiting on this exercise. Waiting for it to not be so wet out. I plan on taking all my things which are packed up, and that I know I’m taking, explicitly, and packing up the car.

    I recently took the car, good ol’ blue, on a drive up over the pass and back as a test. I haven’t been driving much these past five years or so, and almost no driving in 2009, so a test drive seemed prudent.

    Here’s the thing with this exercise. It’s sole purpose is to show me the things I’m not aware of. Unknown unknowns I think they’ve been referred to as.

    One thing I caught this morning was “important” papers. I have a few small hanging file boxes of “important” papers. I will endeavor to parse and reduce them before the move, but I already have a contingency plan of shipping them if I can’t parse them.

    I wasn’t made aware of this particular previously unconsidered item via a pack test, but I fully expect to be made aware of many other similar kinds of items when I do the pack test tomorrow morning.

  6. Patience is an art

    This is another emergent truth I am personally struggling with. It feels like there is so much to do and so little happening. Why am I writing this right now?

    I had to take a clothes tube stuffing break to eat something, I’ll I’d had previously was a muffin and several cups of delicious coffee. Plus I’m waiting for stuff to sell.

    Come one Craigslist. I know you can kick easter’s ass.

Random survey for all those out there not reading this: Would you prefer the posts to have pictures or not? This post could have included pictures of the compression sacks, of a 1997 subaru, some of my things, a zen-y patience photo, etc… What do you think?

Also, if you’re looking for some stuff, I know where you can get some great deals on some quality, well loved things. http://folktrash.com/2009/04/09/my-life-transition-is-your-chance-to-clean-up/