The mad dash to pack for my move across the country has made one thing crystal clear to me: I am (was) a pack rat.
Over the last several days I couldn’t believe the stuff I pulled out from storage bins, boxes, and bags. While I knew I would face some tough decisions on what to keep and what to toss I ended up becoming very accustomed to doing the latter. It was almost automatic for my hand to grab something and then transfer it immediately to the black garbage sack right beside me. In an earlier stage of my life I naively thought that every receipt I ever received or every game program I brought home would somehow enlighten me years down the road. Well, when you are about to move 2,500+ miles eastward the $28.74 receipt from 2010 at Johnny Carino’s doesn’t bring about the wisdom you thought it would.
Besides bagging up eight garbage sacks of clothes, an absolute embarrassing amount for a guy, I bagged up an equal number of bags filled with useless junk. I am talking electric and cable bills galore, hundreds of magazines, an obscene amount of stationary pads, no less than thirty decks of cards, enough shoe boxes to fill a Foot Locker, game tickets for every sporting event I have attended in my life, peechee folders to supply a medium sized elementary school, countless key chains/bottle openers/cozies, way too many hotel room cards, an impressive collection of hats that I would never wear, ripped calendar pages spanning eight years, and probably every single cheesy souvenir that you could brainstorm in five minutes.
With allowing myself to finally throw away many of these knick-knacks it prepared me for getting rid of more important and sentimental items that would just bog me down on my trek to Myrtle Beach. I tossed my JanSport backpack that I had used since high school. I disposed of old cell phones. I sent my two flip cameras to the dumpster. I said adios to cords, chargers, and batteries. I even whispered goodbye to the lap top computer I received as a high school graduation present and that I used all the way through college.
So what did I keep? Besides the essentials I made sure to keep the significant number of cards, letters, and notes I have received from my family over the years. It crossed my mind for maybe a split second that I should part with them too but I couldn’t do it. Traveling to South Carolina with me will be over 100 envelopes filled with birthday wishes, holiday greetings, and thinking of you notes that I have received from my parents and siblings. I feel it will just give me one more connection to them as I live far away.
I am getting better at letting go. Of course it is aided by a sense of urgency and practicality but that’s okay. If anyone out there is looking for some real bargains, I suggest dumpster diving at the Crestview Apartments. Don’t Blink.