The pleasure of purging

It happens when I move: I am packing, conscientiously and religiously, what I have accumulated since my last move. I have organised the boxes so the movers just have to pick them up, and it is easy, especially when I know where I am going, and more space is like a gift to me. Logistically, the packing part is a formality.

To my eyes, a move is like a new contract: unaware of my next environment, and keen on recreating a comfortable and friendly one, I now spend more time being strategic preparing. Planning the unknown leads me to think ahead enough without carrying too much along. Over the years, I have created a guideline I use like my foundations: moving forward, keeping the essential, debating on the necessary and letting go of the useless (which, at some point in the past, qualified as “essential”). The difference is that I do not wait until I get to move or switch clients to purge.

B14_-_FreecycleYes, I spend longer scanning, now that I have checked with professional auditors how long documents are to be kept as original ones, and when official documents still have a legal value once electronically saved (in general, rules vary based on the issuer, the extent of use and the country). Yes, I spend some interesting time selecting, indexing, deleting (or shredding most of the time) and saving. Sticking to a simple, and flexible, naming convention tremendously helps when organising a folder (or a box, for that matter), and, even better, retrieving the sought-after piece of information. As for the tangible items, whether it is clothes, tools (speaking of which, if you are around Vancouver, please go and check the recently opened tool library), music instruments, furniture, electronics or toys, there are a multitude of organisations which coordinate and dispatch the donations, locally at least. For the traders who want to reuse and preserve the landfill, Freecycle is a good option.

Some follow the one-year rule: if not touched, worn or used for the past year, the item can go. Others, whom I know, have a tough time letting go: I respect, and understand, the sentimental value of objects, and the fear (often noticed within older generations) of lacking, and sponsoring the “we never know/just in case” idea. Suggestions have come to take a picture of items bringing back as much memory as dust…

Organising and purging is not rocket science, and it feels so much better when it is done! Donating to the ones who actually are in need of what I have in excess is what I do without thinking about it: it is a constant flow and a renewal. I make space to welcome and write a new chapter, and that costs close to nothing, when it does, and if my actions reward me some social responsibility points, then why not. There is no typical season to purge, give, build and contribute to the new life episode of someone around, regardless of the fact that I know this person or not. It just feels good, and usually brings a smile on a few faces.

Image reblogged from Freecycle