Life in Boxes, A Moving Story

When moving, every item needs to be accessed on whether it gets packed, donated or discarded. Every. Single. Item. When downsizing, you can’t take it all with you and soon realize how emotionally and physically exhausting the process is. A few readers and I share some thoughts on decluttering and moving.

“Buy the best selling book, ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’ by Marie Kondo then be inspired to remove from your home anything that does not spark joy. I was immediately energized to take action then lost momentum and left it on the coffee table for months, taunting me and inciting a massive guilt trip as I realized instead of decluttering I now have it as clutter on my coffee table. The book stopped sparking joy so I donated it. The Konmari principle in action! Mission accomplished!”

-Noreen Fennell, Tuxedo Park


The Marie Kondo series on Netflix based on the book is worth the watch for helpful hints to apply to your own situation. However you approach the tidying up process, do what works for you. I am in doing the Konmari method in reverse as I unpack. The reality is items you can’t decide on will end up moving with you. Once you start unpacking, you know immediately what you don’t want to keep in your new house. On a weekly basis I am donating or giving items to friends. Where does Kondo get all those little boxes? I threw out lots of little boxes with the move. Who knew?


“We downsized incredibly when we moved to Key West and it was the most liberating thing ever! Everything we kept, we use of has meaning. Everything else is gone. Our circumstances were unusual, but we had an ongoing garage sale for months. People would just message me on Facebook and set up a time to stop by.”

-Susan Crocker, Key West



“When we moved, I did most of the packing and started early going through everything and getting rid of stuff either by donation or garbage. I kept bags and boxes labeled of where they were going. I kept a clipboard of a list of every box packed for the move and what room they went in. I also labeled each box the same. Each day I made enough time to deliver those items. A lot of people have the problem of getting rid of stuff once the donation or giveaway is ready to go. I made a list of everywhere I was dropping stuff off and then hit the road. As a professional organizer, when I organize apartments in the city, getting rid of the bags of stuff is usually an issue. I take it for my clients and trash or donate everything. Find out what places collect donations. Try not to hold things at your house for others. If you are a parent of older kids, have them come and take what they want including childhood items. Don’t keep holding on to their stuff.”

-Lisa Haas Murray, New Hampton


There is great joy in donating unwanted items. In a future column I will share places to donate. Email your favorites to


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