Monday, August 20, 2012

Packing, purging, moving and other things less pleasant than a golf shoe to the face.

So, I may have recently mentioned that I bought a house.  Did I mention that? I might have mentioned that.  I only keep mentioning it in an effort to actually convince myself it's true.

The downside to buying a house (aside from mortgage payments, house insurance, lawyers fees and having to do your own repairs without being able to legally call your landlord/dad to do the them... I mean, if I ask I'm sure he'd help, but after this move he's no longer legally obligated to it) is, unless you're planning to rent (which comes with it's own set of issues I won't pretend to understand or care about) then the purchase of a home usually entails MOVING.  Which, although I'm only moving 15 minutes away and not across the country, is generally a giant pain in the ass.

Ever see those movies/tv shows where someone moves out of a place and they move out with ONE BOX?

I laugh when I see that bullshit.  Laugh in a bitter, ironic sort of way.  I have never had a move that has required less than a full truckload and several car loads.   What kind of bizarre ascetic existence do these people live that all their shit fits into ONE BOX?

When my late former mother-in-law passed, she was without a will.  My ex and I, who was the last child at home, were pretty much tasked with dealing with whatever was left after his myriad brothers and sisters had gathered their belongings from the matriarchal home.   Which was a lot.  Most went to storage and when we were finally ready to move into our first apartment, we were pretty much fully furnished.  Over subsequent moves we would try to purge some of our stuff... We had so much stuff.   When we were expecting our oldest we moved to a single room in Barrie, so we had to get rid of a LOT.  When things didn't work out there and we came back to my parents place, tails between respective legs, there was even less.

In my adult life, moving has always been mostly disastrous.  Moves with the ex-hub were disorganized at best, with frantic calls to friends-with-trucks the night before we were due to leave.  After we split, moving became a hassle for different reasons.  I seemed to always end up in hospital when I was supposed to move.  After ex-hub and I split, I had to move out of the apartment we were in, since although I was carrying it on my own, I was also pregnant and knew I wouldn't be able to afford it once I went on maternity leave.   So when my sister and I moved in together, the moving date ended up falling on the same date I was in the hospital giving birth.  Less than two years later, the stress of the house fire and having to suddenly move again caused a flare-up in my colitis that landed me in hospital again.  Which meant my family was tasked with moving me, again.

The last move, into the dollhouse here, was the most successful, if you gauge success as not being hospitalized and having both parents still talking to you at the end of the move to be the definition of success.

Before the move comes the purging.  I have a hard time throwing things away.  I think I'm closer to a pack-rat than a hoarder, although there was a time that my insistence on keeping a box full of broken cuckoo clocks for possible craft use may have said something different.   My aversion to throwing things away is borne of a) sentimentality, b) guilt, c) stinginess and d) a distinct distaste for landfills.

A) sentimentality. It's over rated.  This move, I finally threw out most of my wedding shit.  FINALLY.  I kept some for years thinking that the girls might like to have it... But really, what kid wants souvenirs of their parents wedding that eventually crashed and burned before they were even old enough to remember?  There are still pictures and stories.  That will have to be good enough for them.

B) Guilt.  Holy shit do I have a love-hate with school work.  I hate that the schools send home every last piece of it and that I feel like the worlds worst mother if I throw out any of it.  I love keeping the artwork and creative writing... But everything else? I KNOW my kids can spell.  I KNOW they can do basic math.  I don't need every last scrap of evidence to that effect.  But I go to throw that stuff out and I feel like I might as well give up my mom card.   I even tried to throw out my OWN school work that my mother kept and passed down to me and I couldn't do it.  I felt like I was slapping 6-year-old Andrea In. The. Face.

C) I'm cheap.  I don't buy things just to toss them or give them away later.

D) I hate the idea of throwing things into landfills. I once held on to four broken DVD players and three broken VCRS for well over two years because..Gah, LANDFILLS. Organizations like FreeCycle have helped, as has discovering the electronics disposal and scrap metal donation bins. Our local one have been seeing a lot of action.

Well, I'm off to packs a few more boxes. Time to pack the bookshelf. Last move I had over seven boxes of books. It'll be interesting to see how many I have now. It will also be fun to see the book shelves work them back into their original, non-bowed shape.


  1. Hey! What do you have against everything you own being able to fit in one box?


    What kind of bizarre avaricious/rapacious existence do people that can't fit all their shit into one box live?

  2. Touché. And I have nothing against it, just rarely see it happen, except in the rare, special case ;)

  3. Where did you get hold of a boxful of cuckoo clocks? And why?

  4. I got it through the aforementioned freecycle group. I picked it up in hopes of harvesting them for their gears and springs for steampunk type craft projects. Never got around to it, though.

  5. Moving to a new house, I think, is a process that is just innately difficult. It does add some drama to the satisfaction of house ownership, and it does help convince us to stay in the house for a long time. Haha! I’m sure you wouldn’t have to face the same situation again if not for something really important. Are things going well now?

  6. Things are calming down, thankfully. Still lots of boxes to be unpacked, but definitely settling in. Thanks for reading!

  7. Moving can be really stressful, but look at the bright side: It gives you the chance to start anew. Why don’t you just stay in your ancestral house? No one’s asking you to leave, right? And if there’s too much clutter in your home, you should consider getting a self-storage unit where you can keep everything that you don’t need or want.

    -Erik Littles

  8. Hi Erik,

    Don't get me wrong, I was very excited to be moving and starting over. Buying a house is something I've worked very hard for.. However, I have always found the ACT of moving to be a giant pain.

    Your suggestions, although I'm sure they are well-intended, make a lot of assumptions... one, actually yes, I WAS being asked to leave. My 'ancestral' home is in the process of being sold. Secondly, storage units cost more money than I have just to hold onto stuff that I'm not going to use.

  9. Aaaand I just hovered over your name and caught on to why you might just be pro-storage. Yup.

  10. Well, people can experience different emotions when moving out of the house. Some may feel lost because they feel like they’re losing something they’ve come to love for so long; some may feel glad that they are finally facing new chapter in life. For you, I think leaving your ancestral home was a really painful experience because of all the memories you had there. So how was the move? Have you finally settled in your new home?


Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.