Learning five lessons after only three days of packing

Smaller image of the featured image, cat and boxes

This week I’ve finally started to pack up my home. Something that I’ve been secretly looking forward to, for some reason. Maybe it’s because I finally have an excuse to get rid of things or maybe because it’s the next step towards starting my travels. Either way, this week the packing could begin.

Abundance of stuff

Pretty soon, I realized that my packing expectations didn’t really match reality. In my daydreams I’d envisioned myself making quick and determined decisions while packing. My home isn’t that big, so I really thought packing would be a small job.

But alas. I now realize that you own (much) more things than you think you do. As only when you have to make a decisions (to keep or not to keep) over each and every paper and knick-knack, you begin to understand how much stuff (or rubbish) you really have. The most inconspicuous drawer suddenly turns out to be filled with decisions. Making those decisions is only part of the work. Next up is the actual packing or donating, recycling or throwing away.

Already at the first closet, I realized that I’ve been thinking way too easy about packing. I kept finding things that I forgot I owned or had lost ages ago. Regrettably, this didn’t make the choice between keeping or letting go any easier.

One thing is for sure, I’m really glad that I have three weeks to get everything packed. Those first three days of packing already taught me five lessons.

Cat sitting on cartboard boxes with title of post

Packing is hard work

The first lesson I learned is that packing is really hard work. I thought I could just let my mind go blank and put everything in boxes. But when they’re your belongings and you want to make unpacking as easy as possible, it really helps if you make some decisions now. What do I want to keep and what can I let go? All those decisions require a surprising amount of energy. After twenty minutes of packing my brain becomes tired and it’s time for a break.

Planning helps

Now I live in a small apartment, but still that first day was overwhelming. As where do you begin and which logic or system do you follow? After two days of muddling along, I decided to make things easier. When getting up I’d choose three places to pack that day. A drawer, wardrobe and basket for example. Combined with all the breaks, this became my new workday. It isn’t fast but it’s doable.

Keep the end goal in mind

I still find it difficult to let go of things. Especially when they were gifts or when I can envision a (possible) future use. Still, I don’t want to move things out of some misplaced guilt or ‘just in case’. To make the process of letting go easier, I keep my end goal in mind. That image about how I would like to live in the future. In my case that’s somewhere in nature, in an off-the-grid tiny house on wheels. Not idea if that will ever come to pass, but it sure helps to let go of things.

It’s great to let go

When you finally decide to let go of things, you fortunately get rewarded by a sense of relief. Or at least that’s my experience. Apparently I needed the excuse of moving out to fully go thought my belongings. Something that I hope to change in the future. I mean, why should I hold onto things that don’t make me happy?

Take your time and accept help

I’m really glad that I’ve cleared some time for this. Especially as it isn’t just packing up your stuff. Moving also requires a of paperwork as you have to inform various authorities and organisations of the change of address. Moving is a lot of work. For the coming weeks I still have a long to-do list remaining. Luckily I’m getting a lot of help, the accepting of which is a lesson all on its own.

Of course all these things also apply if you don’t have a brain injury. But I can only speak from my experience and well, the brain injury isn’t making it any easier. Luckily I have the time and well, rewarding myself for all the adjustments will hopefully keep this whole thing a pleasant experience. 🙂

What are your packing experiences? Do you have any tips or other lessons learned?

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