And that’s about as exciting as it gets.
Last Sunday we loaded up two trucks, an SUV and a station wagon and uprooted ourselves from Canonsburg to officially make our home in Sewickley. I should probably write a blog entry on “Best Moving Tips” or “Lessons Learned” but to be completely honest, I can’t. It would be a lie. I’ve probably moved 6 or 7 times in my life and every time it’s a complete mess.
This time we started packing boxes of stuff we knew we wouldn’t need for a while like winter clothes, camping/skiing/snowboarding/hiking gear, jackets (of which we apparently have 1 million), extra sets of dishes and rarely used kitchen appliances, decorative home accessories, etc. All of these boxes were delivered to my parents house (closer to our new home) a few weeks before we closed. Look at us, so ahead of schedule! These boxes were clearly marked with their contents and organized in a way that made sense. Yay.
Throughout the month of July, we continued to take various contents to the house every night as we were working on the walls and floors. Again, so ahead of schedule, so organized, so “go us!” Then the floor finishing happened (see this post to understand my out-of-control stress level) and I completely abandoned all hope of thinking about anything else, including moving.
So now it’s Sunday morning, the last non-work-day that we have our apartment and 5 guys are showing up at noon to pack our cars and take us out of town. And the apartment is a mess. And I don’t have enough boxes. And I don’t know how all of this will fit. And I don’t know how many trips we’re making. And I can’t find freaking anything. And I have absolutely no idea if I want to take this wall clock, or not…or this coat rack, or not…or this mixer that I probably should return, or not…or the slightly torn but still very useful rug, or not.
The questions you begin to ask yourself truly are mind-boggling, endless, and cyclical.
“Well you see, the futon cover fits. But it’s kind of gross. But I like the color. But I’ve tried washing it, and it’s still gross. It doesn’t take up that much space. But I’d never sleep/sit on it. But someone else might? But is it really something I want…?!” Then you stand there and stare at it hoping for some kind of divine intervention to make the decision for you. Which of course doesn’t happen. So you walk away, having wasted 5 precious minutes only to come back to it an hour later and re-live the same conversation again.
“This mirror frame is cracked. But the mirror is good. I could fix the frame. Or at least re-paint it. But will I ever have the time? I could just buy a new one. But I’m already buying so much. Where would this mirror go? Could I sell it for anything? Do I want to mess with trying to sell it? Will it fit in the truck? Should I give it away? I dunno…the frame is cracked…”
I meant to give this to ‘fill-in-name-here’ for ‘fill-in-life-event-here’ last year, but I still haven’t wrapped it. Shoot. It’s cute. She’d like it. But I have no use for it. And it’s been a year.” Sigh heavily, throw it in a box…probably not see it again for another year. Or give it to someone else. Or end up throwing it away after the move. Or it gets lost. Yea, hopefully it gets lost then I don’t have to worry about it or feel bad for throwing it away… (I seriously had that thought about something I packed!)
My favorite “what to do with this?” item was the couch. Initially we were going to keep it. It’s in good condition, why not? Then we realized it didn’t fit in the living room. So we were going to sell it. Then we decided to use it on the 3rd floor until we buy another one. Then it didn’t fit up to the third floor. So we were going to sell it. We actually even listed it! Then we realized it was going to take at least 3 months for the new couch to come in. So, we kept it. In the living room. Like we originally planned.
To further complicate the already crazy moving mess, my husband and I had very different ideas about what deserved a “toss it” and a “keep it” designation. I was using moving as an excuse to do some necessary cleansing and if I found myself asking “keep it or toss it?” I usually erred on the side of plopping it in the trash. One night I went on a crazy rampage and threw away everything I found that I hadn’t looked at in a year. It seemed like a good rule of thumb…until I tossed my passport. Mmmm maybe I should reevaluate?!
My husband, on the other hand, was much more apt to hang onto things. All things. All the time. I discovered, half way through the early stages of packing, that he wasn’t tossing anything. What?! Nothing?! But this is a time to purge! “When in doubt, throw it out!” I said, sounding like a middle school camp councilor. He looked at me like I was insane and proceeded to put a pair of pants I know he hasn’t worn in YEARS into a box. “Whoa, whoa, whoa there hoarder, why are you packing those?!” He went on to explain that he planned to lose weight so they’d fit again. Oh, and he’ll fix the pocket. Oh, and he’ll replace the button. Oh, and the stain on them is barely noticeable. So…yea, I moved them to the trash.
But, sigh, most items didn’t make it to the trash and I’m quite sure we moved with a lot of stuff we don’t need, which is a frustrating reality. At least it’s not bothering me at the moment since I can’t find ANYTHING anyway. The days of perfectly organized, clearly labeled boxes didn’t last forever and I have more than one box with “RANDOM” written on the side of it. Oh I’m sure I’ll remember what I put in here. Uhh, nope. In the end, we moved dirty clothes, broken household items, partial dish sets, mostly empty shampoo bottles (6, to be exact), and wildly outdated packaged food and prescriptions.
That is moving, however. That is just the way it goes. At least, it was for us. Your first trip is perfectly packaged, labeled and organized. Your last trip is a clusterf*ck of random household items that you can’t fully identify, aren’t sure why you’re keeping, and have absolutely no idea where they’ll go. Oh and the cat. Yes, the cat! Ian remembered to put the cat in his car. Thank god – that’s one item I definitely wanted to keep!