Dec 202013

almost everything I ownI’ve moved five times in the last six years. The first two times it was forced on me by circumstance, but I’ve come to enjoy it. Nowadays I try to move every 1-2 years. I recommend it to everyone.

You learn a lot about yourself when you’re forced to move often. One of the early things you learn is just how worthless most physical possessions are. I used to accumulate stuff, like everyone else. Just because it was the thing to do. But when you move often you become conscious of how much it costs simply to have things, even if you don’t use them. This cost becomes most clear on moving day.

Helping your friends move is the go-to example of things friends do for each other just because they’re friends. But it’s still quite an imposition, and it’s assumed that you won’t impose on your friends in this way more than once every five or six years – if that. When you start requesting help every 12 months, you start to really feel the social capital that consumes. When you see a friend moving the same box that they moved last year AND the year before that, and which hasn’t even been opened in the time between any of these three moves, you feel on a gut level that those THINGS are costing you a lot. The time and energy of your friends is expensive, you don’t want to squander that social capital. Whatever is in that box has not been even slightly useful to you – it certainly has not paid for the social capital it’s consuming with utility to you. Your belongings must pay rent. If they aren’t paying rent they are wasting your life. It was at this point that I started throwing things away very liberally. Last time I moved the entire operation (from first item being picked up to move to the truck to last item being taken out of the truck – including drive time) took only four hours, with a grand total of four people working (one of them being myself).

Nowadays before I buy anything I always think “Will this bring enough enjoyment/utility to my life to be worth moving in 6 months, and then every 12 months for decades?” The answer is often no. I recently came across TNG action figures – still in the original packaging! – going for $3 each at a thrift store. God do I love TNG. And the entire crew was there! But was it worth that? After a couple minutes I decided no… this was one more thing that was extremely cool right now, and would end up in a box and never see the light of day again after my next move. So I passed.

I know it’s a cliché, but your possessions really do end up weighing you down. Move often, find out what is actually important. Jettison the rest.

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