Move Out, Get Organized (Part One)

by Chris McGinty
Do you know why Nathan and Miguel love me so much? Neither do I. But if I had to guess why, it’s because I tend to do some really extreme things at times, without once landing them in jail. Though if you read through Miguel’s Show History in the Season Zero section, you will find a couple of tales of run-ins with the law. Basically, I think they’re entertained by me at times, and they put up with me when I’m not so entertaining just holding out for the next bit of entertainment. How about some examples:

Three Minutes a Day of Usable Footage – I know Miguel loved watching me run around like a chicken with its head cut off (if the chicken were holding a camera) one summer trying to get together four and a half hours of sketches to pick the best hour and a half from. I know he loved it, because he couldn’t really care less, and got to sit back and watch me go nuts. He simply put up with the parts where I bitched at him that we weren’t getting enough done so he could be entertained later.

Let’s Quit Our Jobs and Spend 40 Hours a Week Trying to Figure Out How to Make Money – This was one of those things that I was serious enough about that I seemed like I meant it, but I would sometimes get so crazy when I’d talk about it, because I like watching them squirm, that they weren’t sure I was serious. I think the best one was when I had Miguel convinced that his wife needed to work two jobs, one regular and one our business, to pay for us to do it. Not that he was convinced that’s what should happen, but rather that he was convinced that I was convinced that that’s what should happen.

So what’s my latest extreme idea?

Move Out, Get Organized – Seriously. Do you feel like you have too much crap? Do you feel like you can’t organize the crap you have? Do you feel like you could get rid of half of everything you own and never miss it? Then move out. Don’t mess around. Move out. You bring me down. Um, I’ll stop now.

Here’s my idea, and then I’ll explain how I came to this conclusion. Get a new place. And move everything you own into storage. Everything. Pick an ideal percentage of things you’d like to get rid of. Then pick a number. Only remove that many items from storage a day. When you bring them to your new place throw away whatever percentage you chose. For instance if you choose to get rid of 20% bring home ten items and throw away two. If you choose 15 % then bring home twenty items and throw away three.

This isn’t for the person who can clean up their clutter if they spend a weekend on it. This is for the person who spends a weekend on it, and only then realizes what kind of a mess they really have. If you’re clutter is a multi-weekend job that may be slipping into multi-month territory, then this plan is for you. Read on! Oh, and search through your crap and find the key that opens your mind, because some of what I’m about to say, you may have never heard anyone suggest before, because I’m kind of extreme that way.

If you’d like to go try somebody else’s method of getting your [stuff organized] then by all means, go ahead. I’m not claiming this to be the only way, but if you’ve tried other things and they’ve not worked for you, then please try this out.

We’ll start with the idea of actually moving. I know some of you may be saying, “I can’t move right now.” We’ll discuss an alternative in a little bit. First, I want to discuss some of my earlier thoughts on the matter, before they formed into this extreme version.

I actually discussed my first wife in a recent post, and how she seemed to believe that if we just got a nicer place, then things would be better. It may then seem odd for me to make a similar suggestion. This is not what I’m suggesting. I believe that when people move, they don’t move properly. I think it’s one of the big inherent flaws in our society, making things harder than they need to be, and it happens because they don’t think things through long term.

The first time I left my first wife I moved all of my stuff into storage, and for most of my adult life I have had stuff in storage. It occurred to me at some point that for as much as I seemed to move that it might make sense to keep a bulk of my stuff in storage so I don’t have to move it every time. In concept it’s a good idea, but I also learned that it makes it a bigger pain in the ass to look through things when you can’t find something. In concept that’s an important realization, but it’s not as important as realizing that if I didn’t have so much stuff, neither consideration would matter so much.

I’ve seen many moves in my life. Just counting when I married in 1991 to the present, I’ve moved thirteen times maybe, because I’m not counting anything that questionably wasn’t a full move. On top of that I’ve helped many friends move. Rarely do people have everything packed and ready to go on the day of the move. Usually part of the moving activity involves taping up boxes and throwing things indiscriminately into the boxes with the promise that it can be gone through at the new place.

This is the wrong way to do it, and I know not everyone will agree with me. Well, maybe about throwing stuff in indiscriminately, but I’m talking about more than that. This only applies if you’re moving close by, but you should have an overlap between the place you’re coming from, and the place you’re going to of about two weeks to a month. This way you don’t have to get people to help except for with the moving of furniture. The problem with most moves I’ve seen is that they have to be out in the next couple of days and so it has to be indiscriminately packed and indiscriminately moved usually all in the same day. And that promise, “I’ll go through everything at new place.”

A thought I had a while back was: Why move everything in one day? If you have a few days to move; move your furniture, your dishes, and maybe a few other things that you use frequently. Each day load up a few boxes throwing away things you no longer need, and then go to the new place and unload them. This way you don’t have 40 boxes sitting around and not knowing where anything is. It’s either put away at the new place or where it normally was at the old place.

This is the difference between doing a little at a time and doing it all at once. Sure the ideal situation would be to start one day on the task of packing everything. Then as soon as you’re done move everything in one trip, and then work on unpacking until it’s done. But most of our lives don’t allow us the luxury of such a focused effort, so we do things in bite sized portions. Why we try to act differently when we move, I don’t know.

The next thought came from watching an episode of that show “Hoarders.” They were telling this woman to pick stuff to throw away, and she didn’t want to let anything go of course. I thought at that time that I could easily get rid of half of everything I own and not really miss anything.

(End Part One. Tomorrow I’ll deal with how to move if you’re not moving.)

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