Before you pack it all in

Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do. Once you’ve packed and all your stuff is safely at your new home the unpacking, and trying to find a space for each of your treasured items begins. And it can be exhausting!  There are all sorts of methods and approaches that you can use to get things in order in your home. The Netflix series “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” is all the rage right now. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a show about a tiny Japanese woman who revolutionizes people’s homes by teaching them how to tidy up. Many of these families have recently moved or have brought two households together and there is plenty of “stuff” around that is making their lives uncomfortable. In the final episode of Season 1, a recently married couple-  Angela and Alishia- have just moved in together and they are struggling to find space for all their combined belongings. Marie comes in and slowly helps them to find a home for each item that they own. At one point the couple is sorting through their kitchen items and Alishia discovers a gem of an item amongst Angela’s things: A packet of powdered Turkey Gravy.

That expired.

Three Years ago.

Food items like powdered gravy usually keep for years in your cupboard, but this one was already three years past it’s expiry date so it’s plausible it had been in a pantry cupboard for 10 years. A decade!

When you move into your new home it’s unlikely you will want to have to find a spot for 10year old turkey gravy powder, so we have created a list of questions to ask yourself BEFORE you pack an item into a box.

  1. Is this item usable? If it’s expired, chuck it out. If it’s broken the next question to ask yourself is:
  2. Can I fix it? If you can’t fix it, throw it out. If you can fix it ask yourself :
  3. Will I fix it? If you won’t fix it, throw it out. If you think you will fix it, put a deadline on when you’ll do it by. We suggest doing it immediately otherwise it’s likely to end up next to the expired turkey gravy in the back of your cupboard. Which leads us to question 4…
  4. Do you really need it? If seeing something is the only reason you remembered that you had it – chuck it out. If it’s an item you use regularly move on to question 5.
  5. Do I have a similar item that does the same job as this one but better? If you do, chuck this one out (no one needs 25 takeout paper straws when they have 6 great stainless steel ones). If you don’t move on to the next question.
  6. Decide if this is something you want to take with you into the future – this is straight out of Marie Kondo’s play book. If you don’t feel you really want or need something in your future, if you’re holding onto it out of guilt, throw it out or donate it to someone who will get better use out of it. If you really feel you need it move on to the final question…
  7. Does it spark joy? This is such a lovely KonMari concept. If an item gives you a happy zing when you see it, keep it. If not, toss it out.

Marie also suggests thanking each item that you plan to throw out or donate. Thank the throw away items for the lessons they have taught you (thank you paper straws for teaching me to decline these at the burger joint).

This process may take a little longer than just shoving items into boxes, but having only the items in your life that Spark Joy when you unpack them at your new home will make the unpacking that much more bearable. Hopefully these questions will help you and your family to whittle down your belongings before you move so that you don’t have invite a tiny Japanese woman into your new home to tidy up your life.

And remember… Chuck out the old turkey gravy.