Have you done it? As a child with your family? Going off to college? Out of your parents home into your first apartment, or perhaps into your first home with your partner? Most of us have, at least once. You’d be hard pressed to find someone that never has (and to be quite honest, those that I know that never have are just plain weird).
Moved. That exciting yet dreaded task of packing your life into brown boxes and starting over in a set of four new walls, most of the time. Sometimes you don’t have a choice and sometimes those four walls aren’t so new.
I have done this exercise a total of 20 times, 5 of which required long haul trucking companies and one round trip over seas. I’m tired of brown boxes, and you’d think by now, I’d have this crap down. My sister is the same way. Yet every time, when it comes down to the wire, and we are looking at things as we put them into the boxes, the same question pops into our head, “do I really need this?” And inevitably, the crap we really don’t ends up in the box and the crap we spend the next three weeks looking for as we unpack doesn’t.
While packing, you always start smart. You pack away the things you can live without for a few weeks, pack them nice and gingerly. You mark the box and even include a detailed contents list so you know what’s in each box. This activity lasts about a week. As your time starts to crunch, your stuff starts to look never ending and you start to wonder why you have so much shit. Do you really need five serving bowls? What the hell? How many times have you ever put out that many Doritos? What about all of those A/C adapters, you don’t even know what they belong to, but you hang onto them anyway, and they get thrown into that box labeled ‘misc. crap’ which by the time the movers come, you have about 7 of those boxes. The rest of it, starts to get boxed ‘however’. Can’t find the bubble wrap, no problem, those dishes are getting packed in dish towels. Out of boxes, trash bags work great for linens. Honey, can you go to the liquor store, get me a bottle of vodka and whatever boxes they have? You’d be amazed at how much shit you can fit into a Fiat.
Oddly enough, I had more crap go wrong and more crap break in my last move (which I’m still unpacking from AND still actually moving) which was a local move and my shortest distance by far, a whopping 3.4 miles, than I had in any other move. I even paid extra to have three guys instead of two, I had clarified like five times in the days before, “three guys, three hours, $199 – yes” NOPE, two hours into it, the owner is calling saying it will be another $100 for another hour! This was after they had broken a custom framed photo that cost me $250! After some arguing, we agreed to a compromise but in the end, we still ran out of time and I still have boxes at the old address. That much, I can’t fit into a Fiat!
In the meantime, I’m unpacking, putting things in their new home, discovering things about the new place, getting to know my neighbors. I open boxes, some I know exactly what’s in them because of the label on the outside with the careful description on the box telling me the contents. Others, I open them like on Christmas morning, wondering what kind of surprise is inside, and just like Christmas, am totally disappointed wondering, “what in the hell is this shit, and why do I have it?”