The One Great Thing About Moving? Getting Rid Of Old Shit


There are few things that inspire the type of unanimous hate that moving does. Sure, living in a new space can be fun and exciting. But the process of transporting each of your earthly possessions from your old place to you new place is a fucking drag.


Gathering boxes sucks. Collecting your items together sucks. Packing sucks. Labeling sucks. Renting a moving van — or hiring movers — sucks. Asking friends and family to help you do something you don't want to do and you know they don't want to do sucks. Moving boxes on the van sucks. Moving the things like couches and mattresses and random-ass full length mirrors — things that can't fix into boxes — on to the van sucks even more. Making sure nothing important breaks — because it's inevitable that something will break — sucks. Cleaning the old place — a process that sometimes takes as long as the move — sucks. This might actually suck the most. I would not be surprised if Hell was nothing but a giant mansion where the Devil made you clean his baseboards for eternity.

Moving stuff into the new place sucks less. As does unpacking. But although it sucks less, it still sucks.

But the process isn't entirely bad. There's going through closets and old boxes and "rediscovering" items you forgot you owned. ("Oh shit! I forgot about that book!") There's also the occasional nostalgia that process inspires, especially if you've held on to any items from college or even earlier. ("Oh shit! This pic has to be the last surviving image of anyone in a full Mecca sweatsuit") And, if you have a group of friends and family helping you, it can be fun. (Well, kind of fun. Actually, not fun at all. Forget I even said that.)

And, you know what's easily the awesomest part of moving? The lone rose amid of plot of strip club concrete? The opportunity to get rid of old shit.

I experienced this awesomeness last week, as the wife person and I moved into a new place. As mentioned earlier, this process gives you an opportunity to assess each of your possessions and do a cost-benefit analysis of whether it's worth bringing to the new place. Interestingly enough, I didn't think I'd have to do that much. When single, I always attempted to live somewhat of a Spartan life. People who'd visit me would joke that my places would look like hotel rooms. There'd be a TV, a bed, a couple couches, a couple pics on the wall…and that's it. Everything had a purpose…or so I thought. When my wife and I first moved in together a year and a half ago, I probably gave away or threw away 20% of my stuff. And now, although we're moving to a bigger place, I probably gave away or threw away 30% of my stuff.

Which is something I'm sure we can all do. We're all shit collectors. Some of us collect more shit, some collect less. But we all collect shit. And a sizable percentage of the shit we collect has passed its point of usefulness. Just think about the 2013 calender still on your fridge. Or the stack of bills on your dresser you're never going to open because you pay all your bills online, but you haven't thrown away because…you just haven't thrown them away. Or the textbooks from college you've kept because you think they might be useful again one day even though you haven't opened them since 2005. Or the several pairs of jeans you haven't worn in so long that the only reason you still own them is because of how nice they look in your closet. Or the electric guitar you bought after listening to The Love Below and became inspired to create a folk trap rap album you still haven't completed. Or the collection of, um, "friendly" pictures from old girlfriends and other "friends" that you probably shouldn't own anymore because you're married now and your wife is eventually going to ask you about that mysterious Evisu shoebox that was packed separately from your other stuff and you won't have a good answer unless you lie and say you printed them from a p*rn website you used to have a membership to which is an awful lie but you're going to say it anyway because after each of the dozen or so times you went over that potential scenario in your head, it was the best lie you could come up with.


Anyway, think about all of that stuff, and now think about how it's just taking up space in your life and could be best utilized if given to someone who'll actually appreciate it.

Admittedly, I understand why people would be hesitant to do this. These things aren't just things. They're memories. Landmarks of your yet-to-be completed journey through life. Letting go can feel like you're letting go of a piece of yourself and the memories attached to it. But, those memories will always be there. Perhaps a rediscovery might have jogged them, but they'll always be there. And trust when I tell you it will feel good when you let go. And even better when you see all the space you've freed up and all the shit you don't have to move.


Of course, not everyone agrees with this. Some people like to hold on to things they haven't seen or used in years and won't seen or use for years to come. I happen to be living with one of those people. To her credit, she's getting much better. We have one vacuum cleaner now instead of three, and only 2873 pillows instead of 2973. Which might not seem like much of a difference. But it's progress. Baby steps, you know?

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I moved to Atlanta with only the things that could fit into my car, and sold/gave away/threw out everything else. The boyfriend did the same. It was actually a really smooth experience moving in together! *wonders if he would say the same thing*