Reversing packrattery: Part II of the simple life


This week we start the good stuff – we’ve set our priorities, now we can open up space in our lives to allow more time for them.

We begin by purging our stuff.  With each discarded or repurposed item, we’re are promised a new freedom.   Get trashbags ready for things that are broken, or boxes for things you’d like to give away.  You’ll need a big box for those things you are incapable of addressing right now.


I can see that this will be painful, so I’ll begin my purging with 30-minute boogie scoots.  A boogie scoot is where you set a kitchen timer or your smart phone for 30 minutes. You scoot around making decisions about whether an items stays or goes. When the alarm goes off, stop.  You can do another scoot later after you can appreciate the new space you’ve already produced.

Get rid of the big items first.  The little clutter won’t give you instant gratification the way the big stuff will.  Edit your rooms by walking through as if you are seeing your space in the eyes of someone who is visiting. Eliminate all items that are not drop dead beautiful, extremely sentimental, or that serve no function.  Just remember, the less items you have, the less time you will spend dusting.

Once you’ve gone through the main parts of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time. You may be doing these little boogie scoots for a long time, but I predict you will be so buoyed by the experience that you will look forward to your next scoot.

I warn you that you will spend moments in reverie as you turn up photos or mementos from the past. That’s okay, just have a special box available for the priceless things you don’t want to treat so carelessly in the future.  I have a big hat box that contains these slices of my life until I have time to put them in an album or file cabinet. (No doubt they’ll still be in the hat box when I check out of this life.  No problem.  Someone else can deal with them then.)

If you are a slave to materialism and consumerism, there are ways to escape it.  Here’s what works for me:  You spot some gazinka pin in the store and you want it.  You NEED it.  You tell yourself that you can have it,  BUT you must wait three days.  At the end of that time period,

walsh if it’s still calling your name, go ahead and buy it, but you must let something else go.  Chances are you will have spotted something you want more in the meantime.  Don’t forget to wait three more days.

I’ve been on this quest to simplify for almost a week.  I swear I feel a new energy and appreciation for my formerly cramped little cottage.  Mysteriously, I’ve lost four pounds along with six boxes of stuff.  No kidding.  I don’t know what one has to do with the other, but there MUST be a connection.

4 thoughts on “Reversing packrattery: Part II of the simple life

  1. During my working life I moved many times and each time I did what all of my generation did: I bought a bigger house… When it was time to move to California from Michigan, I had a 4,000 sq. house that was packed. 4 bedrooms, formal dining room., all the trimmings., etc.

    When I retired I decided to give everything away or sell it…, but low and behold…none of my family wanted my stuff. They all had stuff of their own, so I moved a few personal items that had come from the McLemore family into one room and called the Salvation Army.

    Two moving vans later, I had a house with a few pictures, a china cabinet and two chairs plus my china and personal items.

    As the last load left the house I was so emotional wrought that I sat down in the middle of the living room floor and cried.

    Next day I was overjoyed. I packed the few items in a moving van and off to Mississippi I went with 2 chairs that were 100 plus years old., a china cabinet for my neice and some personal item.

    When I got to California I moved into a house with 1300 sq. feet that was already furnished and Thanked God that I didn’t have all my 40 years of accumulations.

    Life is good when you downsize.

    I still find myself saying to myself: I wish I had that leaf blower, or WOW, I don’t have a pitch fork anymore., but you know what.

    Not having all those belongings is a exercise in returning to one youth.

    I went to Michigan in 1962 with everything that I owned in the back seat of a 1962 Comet and left with everything I owned in the rear of a Hertz Rental Truck.

  2. Not bad for keeping the economy going for 40 years.. I always said that if I had lost my job and didn’t have what I use to spend each month, the economy would crash…

    Well, I retired and it took 7 years for our economy to Crash.

    See I was right.

  3. Emily you did it to me again, made me say ME TOOOOOO! The only thing is that my boogie scoot (by the way I kept thinking it said bootie scoot, and I could see you scooting around on the floor dusting or something) turns out to be 6 hours as I keep telling myself just put this one more thing away, so I wind up avoiding doing any of it!

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