The Unpacking Begins

Well, we’re here, people. I have been trying to think of a more dramatic way to announce we’ve FINALLY moved, but there’s just no drama ’round these parts right now. We’re just back in the old ‘hood. All things are perfectly normal. It’s like we never left. All things are falling neatly into place.

Even though the mirror from the bedroom is leaning up against the couch in the living room, the crab leg crackers and the broken French press are co-mingling on the top of the fridge, and I’m using a metal box for an ottoman right now, I am perfectly calm. See me NOT freaking out about neatness? Isn’t it GREAT!?

Oh, and listen:

Hear anything? You don’t? Oh. Know why? BECAUSE I DON’T LIVE IN THE FLIGHT PATH OF AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ANYMORE!

The move itself went very smoothly… though it did take us one trip in a fully packed seventeen foot moving van and FOUR, count ’em, FOUR, separate trips in a borrowed pickup truck to get all our CRAP from the old place to the new place. That’s a LOT of crap, people. A LOT. As in, that’s WAY more stuff than I remember moving with. As in, I didn’t have time to be tired from moving it all because I was too busy being embarrassed at owning so much STUFF. Can you even imagine? A seventeen foot van was not enough room for two people, TWO PEOPLE, to move all their stuff out of their house. Granted, one of those pickup trucks was very full of potted tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers, but, still. Seventeen linear feet. That’s nearly 1800 cubic feet. And it was still not enough room to pack in all our thousands of pounds of stuff.

So, I am on a mission. The mission is simple: get rid of HALF of everything I own. HALF. Every time I open and unpack a box, I put half of its contents into one of several bins I’ve got stashed around the house. The contents of these bins will eventually all be sold at our enormous, enormous garage sale, date to be determined. There are people out there, young people just starting out, or older people starting over, who need my stuff. And I’m going to be selling it at rock bottom prices in about a month. It’s not about the money I can get for it all. It’s about dispensing it out in the world and letting someone else use it for a while. Seriously. Half of everything I own.

This move has made me very, very aware of how much stuff I have accumulated and carried around with me- some things in boxes that haven’t been sorted through in years– from living arrangement to living arrangement, for purely emotional reasons. Tonight I unearthed a blue glass candleholder that I bought with money I earned from the second job I ever had. My second job. Ever. That was more than 15 years ago. And, no, the candleholder isn’t plated in gold, or signed by the Pope. It’s just plain blue glass. And it was probably a dollar back in 1996 or whenever I bought it. And, no, I haven’t used it in YEARS. But I haven’t been able to let go of it, either. Why? Well, it’s probably one part minor hoarding compulsion, and one part nostalgia. It’s a symbol, more than anything. A symbol of emancipation from my parents’ financial woes, a symbol of my entering the “real world” workforce, and a symbol of my ability to build and decorate my own home, complete with blue glass candleholders, bean bag chairs, and posters of The Paperboys.

This is no small thing for me to let go of some of this stuff. I mean, I have literally been carting some of it around since before I moved to Seattle. The number on my lips these days is “10”. Some things I have been holding onto for ten years. But this move, this period in my life… it’s making me rethink all this carting around and holding on. I’m going to be doing some major sorting and thinning in the coming weeks. My goal is lightness. My mantra is consolidation. I don’t know what opportunities lie ahead of me, just that I will need to be treading lightly on this earth to take advantage of them.

So, the unpacking continues. The bedroom is done. The kitchen is a work in progress. For now, the spider plant sits in the middle of the living room. Still, I am calm and every day, I feel a little bit better about being here. I know that this is the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Also, I know that I don’t miss the airplanes overhead. Not. One. Bit.