humour / memoir

How to Get Ready to Move

Yep, I’m still going through some old files on my computer that I saved from long-ago blog posts on a long-ago blog. This one made me chuckle! (And remember–it’s past tense! I am NOT moving again!)

Dec 5, 2008

Right! So It’s a dull, gray, cold-and-damp, snowy ice-showers kind of day. The kind of day that makes you dream of summer! Actually, it’s been that kind of a day for a few days now. Which may perhaps be the reason I’ve gotten into the downsizing, simplifying, clearing-out-junk, yard-sale mood. Of course, there are other good reasons as well, such as the fact that we plan to move fairly soon, and also the fact that with all our kids, their spouses, and the grandkids coming to spend Christmas here at our little three-small-bedroom duplex, it is going to be mighty cozy, so I need to free up as much space as possible.

Do you really have any idea how much STUFF you own? I was thinking about how big a U-Haul we’ll need to rent for the move, so I decided I would go through the yard, shed, and house, make a list of everything we have, and then decide what is really necessary. Let me warn you – if you’re thinking, “Oh, I should do that,” you might want to think twice! First of all, you will probably need a notebook with a lot of blank pages. Second, it will probably take a lot longer than you expect just to make the list. Third, when you show the list to your family and explain what you are planning to do with all the not-so-necessary-stuff, you may find that other folks in your house don’t agree so much with your analysis; in fact, you may be starting a war!

Since the sun just happened to be peeking through for a few minutes when I came up with this brilliant plan, I started with the gazebo. After all, what’s more summer-inspiring than a gazebo, wrapped in an oversize white tarp for winter protection and further layered in snow? There I found a comfortable cot, lawnchairs, toys for the grandkids… oh! and everything layered deeply in dust (Hmmm. Haven’t been out there for awhile, I guess); and a bunch of junk piled in there temporarily when we were autumn-cleaning-the-yard a couple months ago (You know: broken garden tools, broken golf bag, cracked flower pots, bagged garbage, etc., etc., etc.); and the lawnmower pushed in there to get it out of the fall rain (Oops, forgot to empty the oil and gas for the winter); and so on and so forth.

Of course, I immediately had to gather up all the broken stuff and take it out beside the garbage can, hoping upon hope that the garbage man will take pity on me and take it away, even though the City did set aside a week for that a month or so ago! Then I had to dust a bunch of stuff off, to discover what it all was under the layer of grime. And that was when I found the deep fryer, full of dusty, gooey, thick, sticky oil (Oh! That’s where the fryer got to! Forgot it out there after making all that fried bread on a summer day that was too hot to cook inside), so I had to dump it out in the weeds by the road (hope nobody was looking!) and bring it indoors to clean it (had to boil 3 pots of water, as well as use a degreaser that just about took my skin off, in order to get rid of the sticky grime). Finally, I was done! It only took 2 hours to list the items in the gazebo (which I had counted on being the easiest place to list. Yikes!)

Then I went on to the shed. Okay, so I  just looked into the shed. Well, goodness, we really DO need all that very useful stuff, right? You know–camping supplies, bikes, shovels and rakes, 3 totes full of 3/4 empty containers of car oil, window washing fluid, and other items (hubby is convinced that one should buy new products before checking the shed to see if there are any left-overs … or even full ones!). And then there are hubby’s fishing rods and lures, and his longbow and arrows, none of which have moved from their spot since we put them there when we moved in 5 years ago. Plus 4 or 5 boxes of various tools, odd nails and screws, and other important items which have also had a good 5-year rest (not to mention the 4-year rest in the last home we lived in. Or the home before that!) Hmmm. I should have known better than to even crack open the shed door! (Yes, we do use the camping supplies, or at least I do, and sometimes I even drag hubby along, kicking and screaming: having grown up without electricity or indoor plumbing, he is baffled as to why anyone would want to camp). I quickly listed: bikes, camping supplies, fishing and hunting supplies. No details! Some things are just too precious (to some people) to give up. They might come in handy someday–if they haven’t totally rusted away!

Into the house, and down to the crawl space. Actually, this was quite a cheerful proposition. Nothing down there belongs to me! Well, there are 4 or 5 boxes of hubby’s treasures, plus 20 or so boxes of stuff left by the kids (which I have warned them is going to the dump if they don’t come and get it before we move! Easy! Well, except for hubby’s stuff!). Oh, and the Christmas decorations, and the 3 summer fans. And since it’s already December, I solved the problem of listing the Christmas decorations on the crawl space list, by bringing them upstairs. I need to decorate anyway, and since they’ll only be upstairs temporarily, they don’t need to be listed on the upstairs list either, right?

The storage room, however, was a different story. I am a teacher-librarian by training, and unfortunately, I’m rather attached to my books! Now I have already done two yard sales, one in June, and one in August, and both times I got rid of piles of books, and recently I listed a bunch more on Freecycle and got rid of them too. I was pretty proud of myself, so started packing up the “valuable” ones I saved, thinking maybe I’d end up with half a dozen boxes. Well… let’s just put it this way: my next task is to go through every box of books and put aside one book to sell or give away for every book I keep. That is painful! The other thing I noticed in the storage room was toys, lots and lots and lots of toys, most of which were bought cheap at garage sales, to have around for when the grandkids and other kidlings come to visit. Very kind of us–but what a pile of junk! So, since I didn’t want to spend all day listing all those toys, I had to pull out all the less-than-necessary ones, which took some time, since they were all mixed up after the last group of little people who didn’t know that it is polite to put things back in the correct boxes! Arggh! Well, now I have a reasonable list: Barbies, legos, Potato Heads, log cabin set. Yay! (But I still need to do something about that enormous pile of table games).

Okay, that just left the front entry, living room, dining room, kitchen, pantry, downstairs bathroom, stairwell, upstairs hallway (which happens to be my office!), spare bedroom, our bedroom, son’s bedroom, upstairs bathroom. Yes, I finally finished that list! Took me all day! Pages and pages and pages. Boy, do we have STUFF (and how on earth did we fit in all that other stuff we had before the two yard sales, plus all the stuff the other 4 kids have taken with them when they moved out?).

So I have spent the past two or three days acting on that list. My gazebo is now overflowing with STUFF, as is my dining room. Please feel free to drop by anytime (before Christmas, please!) and help yourself to my treasures…. which I’d just love to convert into your treasures. [No! no! Remember: this was written many years ago! It’s all long gone! Though I do admit to some newly collected STUFF…maybe I need to get out some paper and start making lists again? But to carry on…] After all, Christmas is coming, and this would be the perfect way for you to save gift money in these recession-bound times, be a noble friend of the environment (reduce, recycle, reuse), and of course, get revenge on your enemies by loading them up with yard-sale goodies (oh, sorry, it’s supposed to be the season for peace!). Merry Christmas!

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