Having learned my lesson about materialistic mismanagement, I now have certain places in my living room for clutter in certain stages. This rack is the final stop before items go out for donations [soon: sales]. I’ve said my “goodbyes” to everything on this rack, so it’s easier to get it out of the door. There’s a nice psychological side effect to having a shelf like this: I compulsively want to fill this rack with stuff.
If there’s one piece of practical advice I can give: Keep everything important in unique boxes. The most unnecessary pain surrounding this move was having all my important documents in one area, then another, then… where did they go!? If I could estimate the number of hours I lost because I needed this document or that within one month of moving… My fatal mistake was leaving everything in open boxes, free to shuffle freely around.
My ideal apartment isn’t this one. Everything from the big things – like the neighbors – to the small things – the floor is uneven and I don’t like many of the aesthetics. Getting to a more ideal apartment will require me to figure out what possessions I can edit out. This apartment is also too big. I just want somewhere big enough for me to write, store my prized possessions, and work or entertain the occasional guest.
If there’s one thing that I’ve returned to when readjusting to apartment living is that at any moment, someone, somewhere, could knock on the door and stop on in. It’s the same as a phone call, really. You can set your phone to “do not disturb,” but people will still knock, sometimes with reason. This time, it was the police, asking to search for any signs of domestic violence. Sure. I have nothing to hide.
I’ve already moved. Other than some stuff in storage, everything I own is under one roof. Shouldn’t I have returned to writing fiction? If this move has taught me anything, it’s that I’m not attached to 80% of what I own. The sooner I get rid of that 80%, the sooner I can write with less stress weighing me down. With these overflowing material and minor financial worries, I can’t focus as well as I once could.
Why do we need objects to tell us stories? Can’t we tell our own stories? Do the objects carry a certain external storage for certain events? When are objects imbued with such honors? Upon significant achievement, heroic sacrifice, or humble ascertainments of quaint aspects of reality first encountered through interacting with the object in question? If it’s the third abstractly-worded answer, here’s a story about a bathtub part and an overall pleasant customer service experience.
“Before I picked Chris up this morning, I donated three “bags” of stuff.” “Of what?” “School supplies, mainly. Childhood school supplies.[1,2,1]” Moving from a rental house into an apartment was a nice way to get rid of the biggest clutter in my life, but without changes in materialistic mentality, I was likely to return to that same hoarding lifestyle. “I had to rent a big apartment to fit all this stuff… I don’t care about…” 
I consider each box I own, now, to be an unsorted box whose contents will end up in one of three piles: keep, pending, or donate. “Keep” and “donate” are self-explanatory, but how about “pending?” That’s anything that I’m not sure if I want to keep. I have a whole “downsizing wall” dedicated to pending things. It’s the last-stop-shop for many of my possessions, with a week-long time-limit, and it feels surprisingly refreshing for me.
How much are you comfortable sacrificing to achieve your goals? What personal/professional comforts will you give up in order to do what you find most valuable? Would you give up a good paying job if it got you closer to your goals? Would you donate a childhood collection of pencils you’ll never appreciate again so that you could free up the time, space, and mental energy for everything else you want to do in life?
I donated my former favorite hoodie today. If there were any regrets, it’d be over wondering and wishing if things could have worked out so I didn’t need to downsize, but that’s not a positive mindset for me. Instead, I’ve adopted a methodology for keeping or donating: Is it worth $10? This hoodie is probably in a cloth bale being shipped overseas, but it wouldn’t be worth $10 for me to retrieve. Why would I keep it?