Soon - alarmingly soon - every single one of my physical possessions will have to be assigned to one of these categories:
1. Things to store - These items will be put into the smallest storage container possible, in Winnipeg. I'm hoping that this storage space will be about 5' wide x 10' long x 8' high. I think at some point I'll actually have to mark out that space in the middle of my living room and see how much will fit in it.
2. Things to sell - I'm gradually trying to sell some "bigger ticket" items through online classifieds like Kijiji. Everything else in this category will be put on offer at a giant garage sale, probably held on a Saturday in May, 2009. (Mark your calendar. Friends who come help with the sale get first dibs!).
(Note/Warning to My Generous Friends and Family: If you come to my Garage Sale and discover an item that YOU GAVE ME being sold for ten cents on the dollar, please don't be offended. It's not that I didn't like your gift, or appreciate it, or use it and love it every day. It's just that, well, I had to make some hard choices. It doesn't mean I don't love you.)
3. Things to give away - I figure there are some things that belong in a new home without me having to try to get a few bucks for them. For instance, Henry's old kennels and other small dog accessories will be going to the great people at Blackjack Bassets, where I got him from in the first place, and who really were Henry's other family. It's nice to think that future generations of basset hounds will benefit a bit from this. Also, I imagine there will be lots of stuff that doesn't sell in the garage sale, so I may be calling a charity to come and pick it up.
4. Things to toss - If it's not worth storing, or selling, and nobody wants it, and no charity will take it... well all I can say is I wonder why I owned such a thing to being with.
5. Things to take - the smallest category of all. Everything I take will have to fit into one carry-on sized bag, not including the clothes I wear.I know there are some really hard decisions about stuff in my future. I know it's all just stuff, but a lot of it is stuff that's important to me, or at least I think it's important. Emblematic of this whole struggle is my couch. I love my couch. It's the first piece of grown-up, non-futon-based furniture I ever bought. It's leather, but not that poofy marshmallow style of leather couch. And it's comfy. And it was expensive (at least to me) (at least at the time), and it would be expensive to replace. It may not look too special but it's... well, it's mine.
Then again, I have no idea where I'll be living when this is all over. I may end up in a small bachelor apartment where the size of the couch would be comically out of proportion. Maybe I'll store it for a year, at great expense, and then have to sell it anyways.
Here's a related post on the subject from Nomadic Matt:
Selling Your Stuff - Get rid of it all! When you come back you’ll find you have a new appreciation for simplicity and you’ll be amazed at how much stuff you had that you didn’t really need so sell everything. Many times people go away and end up staying away. Better to get rid of what you can than worry about... You don’t want to be in Nepal and thinking “I hope my TV is ok.”Maybe Nomadic Matt is right. Maybe when I get back after living with so little for so long I'll end up opening up my 5' x 10' x 8' storage space and think, "What am I going to do with all this stuff?" But part of me also thinks that I really like my couch and I want it to be there to come home to. I've pretty much decided to let it go - I even have a friend who may be interested in buying it - but it continues to tug at my heartstrings. It's like a big leather reminder of what I'm leaving behind.