I’ve moved across the nation several times. I’ve gone from Arkansas to Oregon for a summer of wildland firefighting in college (wound up just doing prevention instead of fighting fires, though). I’ve gone from Arkansas to Wyoming for an intensive EMT course another summer. I’ve moved from Georgia all the way to San Francisco, passing north through Colorado on the way. I think the biggest one was moving from San Fransisco to Tampa — a 41-hour drive in a 14 ft. A U-haul towing my Toyota Corolla behind. My roommate and I managed a 29 hour stretch in the middle, one driving and one sleeping for as long as we could.

Now it’s from Tampa to upstate NY. Most of the times I’ve moved, I’ve done two things — picked what I would rather have at my destination, and sorted through the trash and what I could do without. I usually wound up with a whole lot of material things that, realistically, I didn’t need at all. A “sentimental” pile of posters that I haven’t hung up in years, a mini-fridge laden with stickers and other commercial memorabilia, or a few musical instruments I haven’t played in years.

So this time I decided to purge.

I ditched the usual kitchen things, donated clothes, shoes, and books — but I also got rid of the vast majority of my furniture, replaceable pots and pans, and emptied the endless piles of excess military clothing I had somehow accrued during my service. That used lamp that I’ve had for six years? Gone. The special backpack that my mom gave me ten years ago, and now is frayed at every end? Gone. And an easily printable picture in a cheap frame? Gone.