Death of a loved one, divorce, moving, major illness or injury, job loss: these are life’s five most stressful events according to the Right Honourable Mr Google. MOVING! Moving? Really? I would have thought being in the dog box more stressful than moving and the other four life events listed to be far more horrendous! I get it if moving means you’re fleeing a war zone and leaving your country forever, but moving households? Apparently, there’s lots of stressful components to the maneuver. There is finding a place, whether you’re renting, buying or building a new house- each come with their stressful idiosyncrasies.
Then there are the logistics of moving household items. We seem to have accumulated extraordinary amounts of items and artifacts over the years. I remember the last time we moved 8 odd years ago, we went through the cycle of decluttering and once we had settled again went through a frenzy of acquiring more clutter. My wife specialised in frequenting op shops in an never-ending hunt for that retro item that would embellish the beachy feel of Ruakaka; driftwood, Paua clocks, waterskis from the 50s and fishing rods with no reels, road signs saying “gone surfing” and the like. My particular forte of consumerism was online shopping. It has been equally productive in acquiring useless items, especially clothes that don’t fit and kitchen items you only use once and then cram into a cupboard on top of all the other white elephants.
We are on the move again, it’s imminent. Time to declutter, time to go minimalist. It is best to streamline the moving process, as it always amazes me how professional movers move one thing at a time whether it’s a 200kg desk or a handful of cutlery. Last weekend I started. Three bags full. One for the op shop, one for the rubbish and one for the house down the lane. As I worked through this, I realised why I hang on to the such superfluous junk- it is all about foolish sentimentality. Here is a leather jacket from the 80’s with Chinese collar and shoulder pads, cheek to check with an Aran jersey my grandmother knitted and that I haven’t worn for at least thirty years but can’t bear to throw out. Countless clothes that don’t suit my expanding waistline any longer (any day now I will go on that health kick). But it’s been different this time – I’ve been ruthless. Everything that I haven’t used or haven’t worn has been chucked or sent to recycling. It’s down to the bare minimum- the absolute essentials. Bear Grylls would be proud, Marie Kondo would be impressed (although I never individually thanked any of the discarded items).
That was only the wardrobe. There’s still countless cupboards, drawers and other assorted vessels to scourge and deliver into oblivion. I know deep down its cyclic, I know at some stage the replenishing will start again in the not too distant future. Hopefully this time more restraint will be shown. I hope we have invested enough pre-move mahi to avoid our move being in the top five stressors…
Jonny Wilkinson is the CEO of Tiaho Trust – Disability A Matter of Perception, a Whangarei based disability advocacy organisation.