September 15, 2008

A Moving Experience

Buona sera. Cowboy Bob really hates the moving process, and that's what I'm in the middle of right now. There was the search process (which is frustrating and irritating enough), and I came through that in one piece. After the elation of finding a new place to go, there's the very tedious and stressful process of getting everything over there. Sure, the boys in the crew are more than willing to be pals and help drag furniture and boxes. But I have to put the stuff in the boxes, pack fragile items carefully, mark the boxes correctly ("Where the hell did I put the spare clip for the P-99?") -- and sort things.

The older we get, the more we need (and often want) to simplify. When moving day comes, you regret being a pack rat for all those years because you have to carry things that you haven't looked at in years or even forgot that you own in the first place. When the moving process is not hurried, you have time to sort through things and get rid of stuff. (When the moving process is hurried, you realize how much you don't need much more than the clothes on your back because you don't want certain unpleasant people to find you.) Simplify.

Here are some thoughts for getting ready for moving day (and uncluttering your life):

  • Act like there will be a moving day someday, even if you're not planning on one. That way, you're less likely to hold onto stuff that you really don't need; less hassle if the time does arrive.
  • Be honest with yourself. The old rule that "if you don't miss something when it's been out of sight and out of mind for a year, then you really don't need it" is a useful guideline. Especially if it's a picture of a lover that dumped you.
  • You can't be absolutely strict, however. Sometimes, there's a certain inner desire that you can't define that makes you keep something that's not practical. OK, if it doesn't take up too much room, and you don't have too many of those sentimental draws, fine, keep it.
  • Check with yourself later on. Maybe something you held onto can be discarded now; you're finally ready to let it go.
  • Re-evaluate every once in a while. "Where does this belong, instead of the junk drawer? Do I really need this in the first place?"
For the active packing aspect:
  • Give to charity or get in touch with Freecycle. I really hate it when people throw something perfectly good into the trash instead of giving it to someone else. It helps your conscience, is a form of recycling and probably brings you good karma.
  • Think about where it's going. Do you have room for it?
  • Plan the packing itself. Sure, that box will hold quite a few books. But can you lift it? Also, how much travel is involved? Your porcelain James Bond figurine may need extra bubble wrap if it's going to survive.
  • Don't judge your friends. Sure, there's always someone that will promise to help you move and then be a no-show. Forgive them. Also, some people that you think will help may have back problems or just have something that demands their time and they just can't do it. Get over it. However, if you are the one making the promise to help, be a man of your word. If you don't want to do it, don't make someone think you'll be there when you have no intention of doing it.
OK, that's enough. You get the picture, and you'll develop your own thinking and planning habits. And you'll learn to simplify.

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