Monday, August 30, 2010


Well, today was a momentous day.  David Strathairn won an Emmy, and spell-checkers for entertainment magazines are thereby going to have migraines tomorrow.  But that's not the momentous part.
Today, more than eighty percent of my dining room floor became visible again, as boxes were unpacked and put in their rightful places.  You know what that means?  The Husband and I are finally getting MOVED IN!

There's something vaguely magical about unpacking in your new home.  Every ear-plundering rip of packing tape as you open a box is worth it when you discover what was hidden inside.  It's like Christmas, only you already own everything, and you already know that the cardboard box you just untaped does not (hopefully) contain a pony.  This pseudo-Christmasy treasure hunt is greatly aided if you resist the urge to label boxes when packing; then you can Forrest Gump it up with every box you open!

I've assembled the following list as an abbreviated guide to moving, in the hope that you may find it useful when planning/executing your next moving adventure.*  Consider it an early Christmas present.  Sorry it's not a pony.


1. Set lofty goals when selecting a moving date.  Don't settle for giving yourself six weeks to prepare if you think it could be done in four.  Give yourself a challenge!  For example, our lease ended on July 28.  We planned to move on July 17, just because we could.  Granted, we ended up pushing the date back to July 24, then to July 27, but we burned off most of the stress and worry in apprehension of the first moving date.  In other words, because my internal procrastinate-then-freak-out clock was set for the 17th, when we gave ourselves the extra ten days, I ended up being (mostly) on schedule!

2. Yes, you absolutely WILL use that croquet set, you WILL make a quilt out of those old t-shirts and fabric pieces, and you WILL scrapbook all of those ticket stubs, programs, and photos.  Don't throw away anything when you move.  You never know when you might need dorm-length sheets again, or that "old-fashioned" tube TV with the twelve-inch screen!  And don't assume that because something has broken and gone unrepaired in your current home that you will not spontaneously have plenty of time/money to fix it after you move.  This stoic retention of all household sundry items may become confusing, as you forget exactly what you own and why you still own it.  This is called Crapatic Amnesia.  By the time we moved, you could have handed me a live armadillo and told me it went in the downstairs bathroom, and I would have tried to fit it into the medicine cabinet.  Judging from my lifelong pack-rat habits, as well as those of my family, Crapatic Amnesia seems to be congenital, hereditary, and incurable.  But non-fatal.  Unless you collect anvils.  Or dragons.

3. Since life events, such as moving, can be stressful, it's best to couple them with additional life events, such as getting married, in order to get all the stressors out of the way at once.  The Husband and I moved our stuff into our first place in Pittsburgh on August 1, 2008.  We were married on August 9, in Columbus, Ohio.  These events followed graduating from college in Florida in May, traversing the airspace between Ohio and Florida during the summer for visits, and completing a thousand-mile roadtrip in a moving truck to get all of our stuff to Pittsburgh.  This time we kept it simple; we waited a whole 48 hours after moving day to bring home our new dog.  Cramming as many stressful life changes into one year/month/week as possible is like hazing yourself into the Fraternity of Adulthood.

4. Replacing light-switch covers and painting walls are home improvement projects for pansies.  If you REALLY want to be an intrepid home improvementalist, pick more ambitious projects.  We had to sand the walls in two bedrooms to get rid of the hideous creative swirled plaster and stucco, and the resultant amount of dust allowed us to make fake snow-angels in the hallway.  The Husband managed to haul about 4000 pounds of concrete and rubble out of our 1950s-era upstairs bathroom, so that it could be re-done from scratch.  Even as I write this, I can look across the hall to our bathroom (which is a forthcoming post in itself), which has no lights, no sink, and no toilet.  Also, no floor.  Aaaand... we moved in a little over a month ago.

5. In all seriousness: look at the potential, not the present.  Moving into a new home is, honestly, quite stressful.  It can become difficult to envision the desired future of stylish decor, relaxing evenings, and home-cooked meals when the present state is one of chaotic cardboard, crushing exhaustion, and cheap pizza.  When I look across the hall (now, not two weeks ago when I wanted to throw lighter fluid on it all), I can visualize how much I will love our bathroom when it is finally done.  When I look at the unpainted walls in our master bedroom, which is currently the storage space for boxes and bathroom materials, I can imagine how nice it will be to collapse in after a hard day, once it's furnished and ready.  And when I look at the fruits of my Crapatic Amnesia, those mountain ranges of nameless boxes that shrink a few inches at a time, I know that we will eventually get them all into their proper place and feel like we have setttled in.  Unless one of those boxes contains a live armadillo.  Or a dragon.

*a lot of this advice is not meant to be taken seriously.  Taking it seriously would probably not work out well for you.  If you do take it seriously and find yourself injured/driven insane/selected to appear on "Hoarders," please don't blame me.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, oh wow. Joy, you should really host a moving show or something with all this expertise. :) P.S. Thanks for the link!