Saturday, March 25, 2006

Moving Day

Okay, everyone, show of hands, please.

Everyone who has moved at least twice, please raise your hand.

Ah, ha! Every one of you!

Then you remember what it’s like. Or maybe you would rather forget.

Depending on your personal organization skills, how much stuff you had, and the length of time you had to round up boxes and toss out junk, probably reflects your feelings about your moves. Have you noticed that after five or six relocations, sentiment gives way to practicality, but no matter how many times you move, part of your heart is still in your first real “home.”

Have you also noticed how stuff accumulates in proportion to the space you are leaving? You always have one more room full of stuff than you have rooms. When I moved from my parents’ house, it was a couple of suitcases, three or four boxes of shoes (I was big into shoes), and a few dresses in dry cleaning bags. In no time, boom, I filled a one-bedroom apartment. Eventually I worked up to a three-bedroom house with closets to spare. Five years later, a long-distance move from that house now bulging at the seams delighted the movers. A few houses later, I came back to an apartment with half the stuff and shortly worked up to another house with over-flowing closets.

Now I’m thinking of down-sizing (again) and have been cleaning out closets. I’ve been cleaning out closets for almost three years and I’m convinced they refill on their own. I’ve discovered weird things on top shelves and things I don’t even remember buying. There must be someone living here that I don’t know about who slips out, brings in things and crams them in the closets.

My ideal closet would be poised over a bottomless pit with a spring-activated door in the floor. When the weight on the floor door reached a certain weight, the door would silently swing downward, permanently “storing” the contents of the closet in the pit below. There would always be plenty of room in that closet to pile, stack and heap more stuff, and when asked where something was, the answer would be, “I put it in the closet!”

I have a friend who has a small place that is always neat and tidy. If she brings something in, something goes out. She can pack up and move with two days notice – and has done it. My neighbors just moved. Took them four days, three friends and a huge rented van to move the furniture and yard equipment. That’s after a week of several pickup truck loads of boxes every evening. They should finish up by tomorrow!

I’m not looking forward to moving again. My perfect move would be to pick up my purse, have a lovely drive and then walk in the front door of my completely furnished and stocked new place. Since that’s not about to happen, I guess I’m back to cleaning closets. You wouldn’t happen to want twelve pairs of sandals, fifteen pairs of sneakers and athletic shoes, eighteen pairs of casuals, and nine pairs of pumps, would you?

© Copyright 2006 Suzzwords


  1. I know the feeling and I agree closets breed among themselves like rabbits. Multiplying. Never subtracting. Once they get the upper hand it is futile to resist.

    I thought you might enjoy this essay by E. B. White

    From the Essays of E.B White

    ...I read this book of essays many years ago but this on stayed with me. It illustrates how difficult it is to whittle possessions down to a manageable size; especially when moving. Notice what White says about the "feasibility" of taking one object per day to the trash. A "Thousand Days" :)

    __________________"GOODBYE TO FORTY EIGHTH STREET"

    E.B. WHITE

    For some weeks now I have been engaged in dispersing the contents of this apartment, trying to persuade hundreds of inanimate objects to scatter and leave me alone. It is not a simple matter. I am impressed by the reluctance of one’s worldly goods to go out again into the world. During September I kept hoping that some morning, as if by magic, books , picturers, records, chairs, beds, curtains, lamps, china, glass utensils, keepsakes would drain away from around my feet, like the outgoing tide, leaving me standing on a bare beach. But this did not happen. My wife and I diligently sorted and discarded things from day to day, and packed other objects for the movers, but a six room apartment holds as much paraphernalia as an aircraft carrier. You can whittle away at it, but to empty the place completely takes real ingenuity and great staying power. .................................

    Every morning, when I left for work, I would take something in my hand and walk off with it, for deposit in the big municipal wire trash basket at the corner of Third, on the theory that the physical act of disposal was the real key to the problem. My wife, a strategist, knew better and began quietly mobilizing the forces that would eventually put our goods to rout. A man could walk away for a thousand mornings carrying something with him to the corner and there would still be a house full of stuff.. It is not possible to keep abreast of the normal tides of acquisition. A home is like a reservoir equipped with a check valve; the valve permits influx but prevents outflow. Acquisition goes on night and day----smoothly, subtly, imperceptibly. Goods and chattels seek a man out; they find him even when his guard is up. Books and oddities arrive in the mail. Gifts arriveThis steady influx is not counterbalanced by any comparable outgo. Under ordinary circumstances the only stuff that leaves a hone is paper trash and garbage; everything else stays on and digs in

    But that was weeks ago. I sit here this afternoon in this disheveled room, surrounded by the boxes and bales that hold my undisposable treasures, I feel the onset of melancholy. I look out onto Forty-eighth Street; one out of ten passers-by is familiar to me. After a dozen year of gazing idly at the passing show, I have assembled a cast of characters that I depend on. They are the nameless actors who have a daily walk-on part in my play....................................................

    Over a period of thirty years I have occupied eight caves in New York, eight digs–four in the Village, one on Murray Hill, three in Turtle Bay. In New York, a citizen is likely to keep on the move, shopping for the perfect arrangement of rooms and vistas, changing his habitation according to fortune, whim and need. And in every place that he abandons he leaves something vital, it seems to me, and starts a new life somewhat less encrusted, like a lobster that has shed its skin and is for a time soft and vulnerable.

  2. Anonymous7:45 PM

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  3. Anonymous10:42 PM

    I know what causes MY closets to overrun! H-U-S-B-A-N-D! He cannot stand to see one spare inch of clear space in any closet, or for that matter, in any storage area. I like your "ideal closet" with the spring-activated door.