Love it or leave it

When we decided to move to New England, we knew we’d have to jettison A LOT of our stuff before we left. Our space is going to be much more limited in Boston than it is in Dallas, so there’s no reason for us to lug things we don’t love across the country only to have them not fit in our apartment when we get there.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this part — the deciding-what-stays-behind-and-what-gets-to-go part — has been one of the most exciting things for me about moving so far. Because if there’s one thing that really gets my blood pumping, it’s hunting for stuff to toss out of my house.


Since we started packing last month, we’ve collected three separate mountains of things for the donation bin. The first one came together easily. It’d been a while since we’d purged, so most of the stuff was on borrowed time anyway. (A lot of it was from our neglected storage closet. We found treasures we didn’t even know we had in that thing. And then we flung them in the Goodwill pile.)

The second mountain was made up almost entirely of kitchen stuff. You’d think two people with a kitchen the size of a quarter would only stock it with the barest necessities, but you’d be wrong. I don’t know why we had three colanders, seven sets of measuring cups, and eight spatulas. All I know is that we don’t have them anymore.

The third mountain is a work in progress. It’s made up of all the stuff that survived the first two rounds but hasn’t ultimately been important enough to make it into a box. This wine bottle stopper is nice, but I have four others just like it. That extra cat litter box might come in handy someday, but I bet they have cat litter boxes in Boston. (Although they might cost three times as much per square inch. Time to get a job, Layla.)

But it’s not just knick knacks that are being shown the door — we’re also unloading about half of our furniture. There just won’t be room in our new place for a seven-foot wide entertainment unit, and we have to save space for the important stuff. (The worn-but-still-really-cute yellow chair we rescued from the trash and the coffee table I bought for $80 at a resale shop in college count as “important stuff,” as it turns out. The particle board bookshelves and rarely-used dining room table that we bought from Wal-Mart do not.)

That’s really what this whole process has been about — determining what’s truly fabulous and what’s just taking up space. And I’ve started to realize that what I love most in my house are things that have character. I can live without quite a lot as long as I get to keep the vintage typewriter Sean got me when I graduated.

I don’t plan on replacing much when we get settled in Boston — in fact, I’m betting we’ll have to get rid of even more once we start unpacking. But New England is America’s attic, and I imagine I’ll want to raid it at least once or twice. If that means I have to donate another cheap picture frame, so be it.