Under the best of circumstances, moving is a bitch. Weâ€™re in the middle of moving right now (and running at least two weeks behind with it); the internet is already turned off, so Iâ€™ll have to post this days from now. I should be packing, but Iâ€™ll use the excuse of a cup of coffee to do some philosophizing on it.
This move is a big downsizer. After combining two households two years ago (weâ€™re both over fifty, so I figger we had over a hundred years of crap between the two of us, which we smooshed very inefficiently into a modest-sized house), weâ€™re going into to a small apartment and a storage locker. Half of the nightmare of packing is the endless deciding â€“ apartment? can I live without this two or three years? storage? can I live with out this entirely? trash? donation? eBay? Arggh. Weâ€™re rapidly hitting the â€œweâ€™ve got to get out of here; pack it all and sort it out as we unpack itâ€ point. Itâ€™s not a pretty picture. (By the Gods, which of these many, many pictures will fit on those new walls? Arrrggggh â€¦)
Now, Itâ€™s not like Iâ€™ve never downsized before. Why, every time Iâ€™ve left a previous spouse, Iâ€™ve left behind a big chunk of my personal possessions, too. Some things I thought Iâ€™d never get back, but did eventually; sometimes years later. And a lot of things I never did see again (like a huge stash of family snapshots â€“ Murph, if youâ€™re reading this, Iâ€™d really, really like to get those back some day). But what the heck, Iâ€™ve survived with barely the clothes on my back. I survived being destitute and homeless. I learned to live with whatever I didnâ€™t have. I rebuilt my life. I survived.
However, knowing that I can start at nothing and rebuild a life is one thing; being inclined to do it again, at my age, is another. Knowing that there is nothing without which I cannot live (except maybe meds) is one thing; having the choice taken out of my hands is another.
I donâ€™t want to have to leave everything behind, not again. And if I do leave things behind, I want to be the one who decides what stays and what goes. Itâ€™s not the downsizing, itâ€™s the deciding.
To make it all the more interesting, that three years from now we intend to move again, cross-country, most likely to southern Oregon. So, Iâ€™m looking at everything from that perspective, too. Am I really so attached to this piece of furniture (or this book, or this coffee cup, or this box of files) that itâ€™s worth moving cross-country? Should I get rid of it now, or enjoy it for another couple of years, or store it and move it, or what? Weâ€™re not kids any more; what do we really need?
Damned if I know. Gotta go pack.
We had the decided that the long, low chest of drawers in Artâ€™s room is under-utilized, and was unlikely to fit into his new bedroom anyway. (You know how the ads will describe a place as â€œcozy,â€ which translates to â€œyouâ€™ll never fit all your furniture inâ€? Thatâ€™s the new place.) We were going to put it instead in the non-cozy bathroom, which has a lot of floor space but no storage beyond a tiny medicine cabinet. Towels and things could go in the drawers. Art could use the tall skinny chest of drawers that Isaac used in the bathroom in his old house to store towels and things, which is now sitting mostly empty in the spare room. A simple switch.
We also have two small sideboard-type cabinets with drawers and doors. Since the sofa in the living room/office will be towards the center of the room (fine with me, Iâ€™ll be able to watch tv without my glasses), I thought to put the two cabinets behind the sofa. Theyâ€™d function as a console table, eliminating the need for end tables or even a coffee table, plus give storage. We need a lot of storage.
The more I thought about it, though (and the more I used the bathroom in the new place), I wanted the two cabinets in the bathroom. They could go at right-angles to each other and use the space more efficiently. The shelves inside the cabinet doors would be better for storing towels and linens, and the shallow drawers would be better than the deep dresser drawers for storing toiletries. Maybe the long chest could go behind the sofa, instead. I grabbed the tape and started measuring sofas, cabinets, and dressers.
The long chest is shorter than the cabinets, which would make it a better console table. (The cabinets are higher than the back of the sofa.) Itâ€™s five feet long, same as the long, low dresser in my bedroom. Almost the same height and width as the one in my bedroom, too. And, I realize, itâ€™s a lot newer and in a lot better shape than the one in my bedroom. Hmmm.
Do we need two long, low dressers? One is barely being used, so obviously not. One matches Isaacâ€™s dresser drawers; one does not. One is practically new, and one is really old. We could eliminate one large piece of furniture from this and all future moves.
Easy decision, right?
Hah. The chest of drawers that I use has been part of the family for a good forty years. It was part of the bedroom suite my parents got for my sister and me when we were in grade school. Iâ€™ve hauled that dresser around the country with me through I donâ€™t even want to count how many moves. Get rid of my dresser?
Ok, the top center drawer sticks something awful. And the bottom right-hand drawer broke a support last year, but thatâ€™s fixable with two nails. And the top is a little scarred up from use. And it hasnâ€™t been painted in forty years. I always meant to refinish it with collage work to match the other chest of drawers I decorated, but I never got to it.
But get rid of my dresser? One of the few things Iâ€™ve hung onto since childhood? Something thatâ€™s lasted for me longer than three marriages? Something Iâ€™ve had for forty years?
Two teary hours later, I decided. Itâ€™s gotta go. Sniff.
This morning, Isaac and I were once again discussing furniture. Mostly what to do with the famous dresser drawers in the bedroom. Sell it? Itâ€™s practically an antique â€“ with the original finish! Should we put it on Rockland Freenet and give it away? Could one of our friends use it for their kids? After all, the rest of its matching pieces, lovingly painted by my brother-in-law, are now used by my nieces. Should we stick it in the storage locker until we figure out what in the world to do?
Well, we decided, for the moment, to put it behind the sofa in the living room. Weâ€™ll put office supplies in it. After all, we have no other place to put them; neither of our computer desks has drawers.
Back to packing. Theyâ€™re turning off the electricity in three days. No internet at the new place until next week, though. Damn.