Packing it up, packing it in

Knowing you will soon have to pack up and move everything in your possession, even the stuff that’s yours by default rather than choice, really forces you to make some decisions about what has value and to finally deal with all that damn clutter that built up while you weren’t paying attention. Translation: No way in hell am I taking all this stuff with me.

Here are some random things I’ve learned recently, most of which serve to reinforce the conclusion that this house is indeed too big for my current needs and it is way past time to move:

  • I have too much stuff and it has predictably expanded to fill the available space, but some of this stuff is not mine and some of it I’ve never even seen before, so I suspect at some point I must have agreed to store things for the neighbors, and all their friends.
  • The cat has expressed her digestive displeasure in some places I almost never see, in some rooms I rarely frequent.
  • I had forgotten how very nice my kitchen table looks with nothing on it.
  • My refrigerator looks very nice too, without all those cute magnets and funny notes from the kids (all now stored safely, no need for panic here).
  • My daughter made the Dean’s List last year — which I knew, of course, and I’m very proud of her accomplishment — but I didn’t realize the university had sent me a certificate of recognition.
  • I have managed to accumulate more shoe boxes than I have pairs of shoes.
  • There are definite tactical disadvantages to being the last one to move out of a place, after others have taken only what they really want and then disavowed responsibility for disposition of the remainder.
  • Getting rid of some of this stuff is entirely too satisfying and is no doubt damaging my karma.
  • The fact that a house has a lot of closet space is not always a positive feature, something I do not intend to point out to prospective buyers.
  • Three broken fingernails, a smashed thumb and a bruised shin can be seen as badges of courage (as opposed to sheer stupidity) for doing some things yourself instead of waiting for help — especially if, once you stop swearing, you squint your eyes and tilt your head just right.
  • Old dust makes me sneeze, violently.
  • Taking pictures of things you are about to throw out, maybe even a few things you plan to keep, then emailing said pictures to the kids with a message saying, “You didn’t really want this stuff anymore, did you?” will prompt some rather interesting phone calls and provide an entertaining break from the tedium.
  • There are times, unlikely as it may seem, when a 96-gallon garbage can is Just Not Big Enough for the needs of a one-person, one-cat, one-dog household.
  • Some things do not fit easily into either a packing box or a trash bag; interestingly, they tend to be the same things that were damn near impossible to wrap as gifts.
  • Loud music helps ground me to present day reality when memories threaten the momentum.
  • It has been way too long since my mom came for a visit and, in spite of telling me not to go to any bother on her account, prompted that guilt-induced flurry of “Oh My God I Have To Clean Up This Mess Before The Woman Who Knows She Raised Me Better Than This Gets Here” activity.
  • It’s shocking, I know, but it seems possible that procrastination is not always the best course of action.

I’m exhausted and I’ve barely made a dent in it. I’ve decided the only way I’m going to get all this done is to give up either sleeping or writing. There’s no question as to which would provide more motivation. So today I packed up my ms pages and my research notes and my reference books, though I couldn’t make myself seal the boxes. Good thing I have also recently discovered my very impressive talent for stubborn determination. I’m going to need it.


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5 responses to “Packing it up, packing it in

  1. Louisa

    If this is a duplicate, please delete it. I know this song–I was the last to leave the house where seven of us had lived for ten years. I never could have gotten through it without the help of my next door angel & best friend. I hope you have someone like her, too.


  2. Christina

    I have much admiration for you, but definitely no envy. Stick to it—stubbornness can get you a long way, let me tell you. 🙂

    Take care and good luck.


  3. McB

    Oh dear. You know, you need to keep that MS safe. Send it to me and I’ll hold onto it for you. Seriously, that is something that could all too easily get misplaced.

    The thing to do is not to try and tackle everything at once. We tend to put this stuff off until it becomes overwhelming and then think we have to deal with it all at once. But it didn’t get that way all at once. One room at a time, that’s the way to go.


  4. Robin

    Need a shovel?

    Something I learned the hard way when all our boxes came back into the house–remember whatever you pack will have to be unpacked or stored and in your new place you will have to find space for both. It makes it a little easier to let go of some of that borderline stuff.

    I’ve met you. You can do anything and I know having the MS packed and waiting will help spur you to inhuman accomplishments.


  5. Mary

    You could always hold a Mystery garage sale. Seal up everything in well-taped boxes (first give your mss. to RSS for safekeeping) and then offer people the chance to play “Let’s Make a Deal.”

    “What’s inside box #3? Well before we come to that, why don’t you fork over $30 to Vanna here, and I’ll get my handsome DS to load up the box into the back of your truck. Yes, that’s right, no refunds.”

    gucvk – the sound made by a customer who’s just discovered he paid $30 for a box wherein a cat has evidently been expressing his displeasure all over the contents.