Weeding is a term used often by library staff. Weeding refers to getting rid of materials to make room for new materials. Weeding does not mean throwing stuff in the garbage. While this is sometimes the case, many times materials find new life through book sales and donations. For example, the old newspapers from a library I used to work are picked up by a farmer to use as bedding for animals.
What does this have to do with us, you ask? Before we moved, we went through almost everything we owned and either deemed it worthy to keep, sell or give away and only a few items were tossed in preparation of putting our house on the market. Before moving to California we lived on a busy street and we could place things in our front yard with a free or for sale sign and within minutes someone would be picking up our unwanted items. This spring we bought a third kayak and were unsure about whether or not we wanted to keep one of the older ones. We finally decided to sell the extra and within ten minutes a man stopped and paid our asking price. After getting rid of some things and doing a intense cleaning of our house it looked amazing.
Now that we've moved and trying to find places for the stuff that we did keep we are again realizing we need to do some thinning. Today we made a trip to Goodwill and last week we were able to give away some our boxes and packing paper on Craigslist. As we have unpacked and started organizing our stuff and trying to fit it in a smaller space (there are no basements in California), we have weeded things out and asked ourselves what we really need to keep. Asking ourselves is this really necessary to our life?
Today, I was trying to catch up on my blog reading. One of the blogs I follow, Small Notebook: for a simple home, discusses simplifying your life and living with less. The post, Freedom and Opportunity: the Advantages of Owning Less, stood out and has had me thinking all afternoon, thinking more about thinning out and weeding our stuff to be ready for whatever comes next. Joel and I know we will be in Sacramento until September 1, 2011, but we do not know what comes next. We could be moving back to Wisconsin or we could be moving somewhere else or we may even stay in Sacramento, but we do not know and we will not know for quite some time. The author of the post suggests that our stuff holds us back and by owning less we actually free ourselves to opportunities we may not have taken if we were tied to our stuff. The more I think about this the more truth I see in this statement. Now that we've sold our house and gotten rid of lots of stuff that we thought we needed, but really did not, it feels freeing like we could get rid of more and it would not matter. Also, as we looked for a place to live in Sacramento we found ourselves limited by what we owned. Could we fit all all of our stuff? We needed a garage or some place to store our kayaks. We needed space for our large furniture. We were focused and limited by our stuff. But we knew what is important--us--that is why we moved, so we could be together.
I will continue to weed as I unpack and will probably make another trip or two to Goodwill. I will keep in mind there is a good chance we will be moving again in a year or two and do I really want to keep moving all this stuff again and again. I am not likely to sell or give away everything, but I will think twice about buying more stuff.