Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Moving advice? Stop storing your memories in boxes.

I am an expert mover. I have not lived longer than a year in any single house since I went to college, including IN college. If there were anyone who could give you tips on moving, it would be me. After moving yesterday for the umpteenth time in my life, the only advice I want to give you is that memories store a lot more easily – and cheaply – in your head.
I didn’t always feel this way. I love to travel, and I used to gather things when I traveled that would remind me of where I’d been. I used to get a kick out of imagining all my worldly possessions in a new place: they were from all over the world, and now here they were, with me, in a new city, state or apartment.
This move was a little different for me. It’s the first lease I’ve signed since I left Bellevue and my job there two and a half years ago, and it’s also the first time I will be utilizing most of my furniture and other possessions that have very neatly organized (and repeatedly reorganized) in my storage unit until yesterday. (Another moving tip? Get boxes with lids or that at least close, and LABEL THEM.) Since Bellevue, I’ve been living in other peoples’ houses and using their furniture and utensils while using the bare minimum of my own stuff: not everyone has a box labeled “Kitchen Bare Essentials,” but I do.
It doesn’t help that I haven’t been feeling well, but the truth of the matter is that when I started opening up all my boxes and going through them, I was amazed at the stuff I’ve been spending good money storing.
I love to cook, but even I do not need 10 mixing bowls. My parents claimed nostalgia over my first pair of skis (Dad) and the first baby dishes (Mom) but didn’t want to haul them around themselves, so they gave them to me. Same goes for some very beautiful but unwieldy painted platters from Mexico that they didn’t want. Come to think of it, that’s why I have a fern the size of a trash can, too.
I can’t blame all of it (or even most of it) on my parents, though. Despite the fact that I purge with every move, I am apparently part pack rat. In the back and bottom of my storage unit is a monstrous trunk, about 100 pounds with no handles, chock FULL of high school memorabilia. I NEVER look in it. The last time I cracked the lid, I threw out a bunch of stuff, wondering why exactly I had kept it. I think I have the idea -- like most people -- that eventually someone else will be interested in the things I have hoarded my whole life, but the truth of the matter is that no one else knows their significance but me. For example, I have been holding onto a really nice expensive coffee maker given to me by an ex-boyfriend, who sadly never understood why I was attached to making coffee with my Melita. Surely I’m not nostalgically holding onto a coffeemaker…am I? Who else but me would even know where it came from, and why I'm packing it around if I never use it?
Don’t get me wrong: I am just as nostalgic as the next person. What I’m realizing, however, after two plus years of living without my prized possessions, is that perhaps they aren’t so prized and necessary after all. Seeing them does not evoke anymore nostalgia than thinking about them did, and I don’t have to pay to store the memories. The only thing that I’m really glad I kept are my old journals, and those are much smaller and easier to carry. They also pack a lot more memories per square inch than the monstrous Mexican rug I have no room for.
Obviously at some point in my life I thought it was worth packing these things into boxes to keep them from breaking and holding onto them until I had a place to put them again. Now that I have a place, however, I’m wondering what exactly that supposed worth was.

Love and moving kisses,