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I have just moved house.  What a rigourously discombobulating process that is.  I always forget how much it shakes you (well, me) up. Transferring all your possessions to a new location doesn’t seem like a big deal on paper, but unpacking — being brought face-to-face with all the things you’ve bought or that someone has bought for you — can be a little confronting if you’re not entirely ready for it.  We unpacked, stared at, and then reboxed-to-give-away cartons and cartons of stuff.

M and I have been boarding with family for the past nine months, and most of our stuff was boxed up and stored while we were doing so, and I had forgotten how many obviously unnecessary things we had (note the use of the past tense). It was a bit surprising to find so many boxes waiting for us when the time came to move.  We sent a lot of things off to live with other people, a lot to charity and a lot to the dump. I’m glad we moved so much stuff along (and how I am coming to hate the concept of stuff acquisition), but I feel a little ashamed of how many stupid things I considered necessary or just cool enough to buy at different points in my life.  It’s not just a question of money — although we could lose hours discussing all the better uses of the money that was spent on unnecessities over the course of my life — it’s a question of consumption and greed and entangling my identity and time with useless, silly things.

I feel really good about how many of those useless, silly things are no longer mine.  It’s strange that possessions can have such a clinging, negative effect on you sometimes.  I haven’t got rid of everything: I like having a big pot for cooking and I like having a variety of books waiting to be read or re-read (although many will be forcibly marched on after reading). But when you start keeping things because you want to be branded with the values that you think other people will associate with those things, you run into trouble.  Put it this way: you can own every Le Creuset piece on the market, but if you’re a shit cook, your guests won’t be fooled for a second.

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