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  • Felice Cohen

When Push Comes to Shove

“I need a push,” Maryann told me. “To help get rid of clothes and other stuff because I have to move in three weeks.”

Usually, people have time to prepare before a move, but Maryann had to vacate her one-bedroom apartment (where she’s lived – according to the dust balls unearthed in the back of her closets – for decades) and go into a studio.

There are plenty of reasons to downsize, but often we’re not motivated to do it. For Maryann, that motivator was an eviction notice. Suddenly, items she never thought she’d part with went “Buh-Bye” without a second glance. Having no choice can sometimes make the choice easier.

Going through clothes, Maryann deemed items “keep” or “donate.” Those she wasn’t sure of she tried on.

“Why did I buy this in such a small size?” she said, attempting to button a blazer she hadn’t worn in years. I didn’t add that perhaps she’d gained a pound or two since the purchase.

When moving, many people want to sell some of their belongings and Maryann was no exception. While some things are worth the time and energy involved in the process, some are not. For instance, she had a tall halogen lamp lilting dangerously to one side.

“No one’s going to buy a broken lamp that they can buy new at Bed Bath & Beyond for the same price,” I told her, before hauling the lamp to the garbage room. We think our stuff is worth something and at one point it was, but often is no longer. That’s why it’s important before a purchase to make sure you’re really going to use it. Like Maryann’s stereo system from the 1980s.

“But it cost a lot of money,” she said. There was music on in the room at the time. It sounded nice.

“Is that music coming from the stereo?” I asked.

“Oh no, that’s the TV,” Maryann said. “I haven’t used the stereo in years.”

Maybe you’re not planning to move next month or next year, but look around your home. Are there items you don’t use? Don’t need? Why wait until you’re forced to move to get rid of stuff that’s only collecting dust? Also, by doing it now gives you time to go through items, reflect on them and then give to those who want or sell without being desperate to do so.

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