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The Big Purge

It has been eight months in the making.  Yup.  Eight whopping months of preparing for this move out west.  We decided to make a cross Canada road trip out of it and take only whatever we can fit into our mini-van.  This meant selling or donating 95% of everything we owned. 

And how exactly did we accomplish this?  Well, it started with reading Marie Kondo’s book Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up cover to cover and watching her Netflix series Tidying Up that happened to air around the same time I started my purging mission.  And then it just came down to rolling up my sleeves and going through everything that eight years of marriage plus two kids later had accumulated for us.

The entire process took roughly four months on and off, which may sound pretty dreadful. However, because my businesses were getting a bit stressful during this time, purging was actually a nice break away from it all and was a fun trip down memory lane. I thoroughly enjoyed each moment of it and everything I was able to get rid of something, it gave me a boost of confidence and it felt really good. I also made a few discoveries about myself along the way.

Our Not-So Minimalistic Life

I always thought we lived a very minimalistic life.  I don’t like shopping and I hate clutter.  I believe that we don’t need all our possessions or a big house to be happy.  But this purging experience has made me realize that I was not quite living this notion of a minimalistic life.  

Once I started digging items out of their hiding places, I uncovered items that were long forgotten, items that were still in its original packaging and even items that I had no idea I had.  I felt slightly disgusted with myself because not only was I living wastefully but somehow, I was able to convince myself that I was doing pretty well with clutter-free living.

Sacrifice vs. Enlightenment

To my mom, who came over to help me everyday, she felt sad watching me get rid of so much of our stuff.  In her eyes, these were items that Albert and I had collected over the years that sort of defined us and our ‘home’.  She saw it as a huge sacrifice.  

To me, the entire process felt extremely freeing and liberating.  Every time I was able to get rid of something, I felt a burst of joy. The more I purged, the more I wanted to purge because the sudden rush of satisfaction was so addictive. I had never been one to allow our possessions to define who we were as a family.  I’ve never been particularly attached to one house or any particular items unless they had strong sentimental value. This process brought me closer to this core value.

The Hardest Part?

This is no doubt the biggest undertaking I have ever experienced.  Bigger than planning our wedding.  Even bigger than prepping for our first and second baby.

So what was the hardest part if it wasn’t the ‘letting go’ part? The hardest part was actually jigsawing everything that I wanted to keep into our mini-van.  Whenever I came across a photo album or one of my daughter’s favourite bedtime storybooks that was in the definitely-keep pile, all that came to mind was…how heavy is this book?  Are we over the weight capacity of our van?  

Leading up to our departure date, we loaded and reloaded the mini-van at least half a dozen times.  We had purged 90% of our items back in June.  But when we finally got down to mocking up our footprint inside our mini-van two weeks prior to departure, we realized we had to purge some more.  And then of course, there was the two-finger test.  In fear that we were overweight, we purged one last round the night before departure.  If there was a contest for bare-bones living, I think we would honestly win gold medal because of how far we’ve come with paring down.

The Final Discovery

If there is anything for me to learn about our big move out west, it is the fact that I love minimalistic living but I was not fully living up to this notion.  During this process of purging, I learned a lot about myself and my past.  I learned a lot about what I want to do differently for myself and for my family when we start our new life in Vancouver.  

When everything ultimately got packed into boxes, Daryl was happy playing with takeout containers found in my parent’s kitchen.  Blythe was happy rotating between the same five bedtime stories night after night.  I only needed a few staple pieces in my wardrobe.  And it made clearer than ever before that I only want to shop with intention going forward and choose quality over price so that items have a longer usage life and result in less overall waste.

We are so down to the barebones right now, it gives me such a good feeling. I feel so alive, so open and so unbelievably free.  Best spa treatment ever in my opinion!

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