Cleaning House

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Most people I know regard moving with dread and loathing. I suppose that’s reasonable: It’s expensive and disruptive, there will be some yelling and things will get broken. No matter how organized you are, there’s a period of chaos that you just have to accept.

In two days, Two Men And A Truck (no kidding, that’s the moving company’s name) will come into my home and load everything up for a trip across town — one of the shortest of the 20 or so moves I’ve made since college. It’s never fun, but I’ve learned to appreciate some of the benefits of moving.

High on my list is the opportunity to manage my relationship with my possessions. Do you own your stuff? Or does your stuff own you? You know the stuff I mean: Stuff you don’t need. Stuff that doesn’t work. Stuff that doesn’t fit. Stuff that you didn’t unpack the last time you moved. Stuff you borrowed from someone and forgot to return. Stuff you forgot you had.

As I sort and evaluate and pack the contents of my old place, I’m finding lots of things that I’ll discard, but I have been surprised by how much of my stuff has stood the test of time and will be moving with me for the third or fifth or even tenth time.

Another great thing about moving is the opportunity to change the way you do things. You can arrange things physically to make it easier to adopt more efficient habits. For example in my old place, the kitchen cabinets were too small and poorly arranged to make it easy to recycle. In the new house, I have organized the kitchen so there’s a place for recycling receptacles. I am also planning a space with a desk that will be devoted to office type tasks. In the old place, record keeping and bill paying had to share the dining table with dinner and sometimes a sewing machine.

Does some of this sound like the office or work space in your retail shop? Moving is a good exercise to undertake periodically even if you’re staying in the same house — or office or store.
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