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How Moving to Germany Made Me Re-examine My Habits (Part 1)

I went ahead and added the “Part 1” this time, because I know that this move is going to affect my life in more ways than one. There’s gonna be at least one follow-up post on this topic. Just gonna set the correct expectation up front. :)

Our goal is to get absolutely everything we can packed up as soon as possible, so we aren’t making last minute trips to the post office or trying to figure out how we are going to fit this into that already-completely-full-to-the-brim suitcase. Tonight, Rob and I tackled some of the remaining piles in the bedroom. The other day, I had “consolidated” my embarrassingly large Post-It Note collection into one of those Rubbermaid “shoe boxes.” I had a pencil case full of binder clips, and another full of pens. It was probably 10 pounds of office supplies. At least.

Rob was flabbergasted that I thought this was acceptable. The look on his face (plus the discussions we have had this week about controlling our tempers…) made me calmly reflect on his opinion and point of view. I took a deep breath and tried to see it his way. Here’s what I realized.

Well, we’re trying to move 4,100 miles and I want to take over 10 pounds of crap that I’ve accumulated with me, crap that I should be able to buy there. Not only should those pens, cool sticky note cards, and three different sizes of binder clips be available in Germany, but I obviously haven’t used them since I bought them.

Why did I buy them in the first place? Ah, now we are getting to the heart of the issue. I’m not exactly sure where I got it, but I love office supplies. The stereotypical female loves shopping at the mall. Me? Office Depot any day! I don’t think it’d be too much of a stretch to say I’m addicted to buying unique or particularly useful office supplies. I start to feel the desire to just peruse the aisles of Staples to see what’s new. Sometimes I’ll even give in. When I find something cool, get it home, and start to use it, I feel happier, more fulfilled. (Wow. Sounds pretty bad when I actually write it all down.)

Rob wanted me to pick two items out of all three boxes to keep. We compromised, and I got to keep one of this type/size of Post-It Notes, but I have to give/throw the rest of them away. I WAAAY condensed my office supply collection. In the process, I realized that I have just got to be using these THINGS to fill some hole in my life.

It’s probably a little to early in the process for me to realize entirely what I use the office supplies for, but I do think that I buy new office supplies to make me feel more organized. For one thing, they themselves actually give me something manageable to organize. For another, when I can use a Post-it flag to mark a page or jot a reminder on a sticky note, maybe I am keeping track of ideas and sources better.

I don’t know. I really struggled emotionally tonight, and I think the “good” part of me won. I hope that part won anyway.


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