Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Moving Sucks

When I was a kid, my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.
- Rodney Dangerfield


You know what? This isn't a fun topic.

I don't enjoy moving. I am well aware that I am not alone in that feeling, and perhaps that's why I've struggled for the last four weeks to finish this dumb post. From the packing and the loading and the cleaning to the more packing and loading and cleaning, it's a tedious, un-fun activity. Sure, there are high points (the rediscovery of lost things can be fun, and I enjoyed the heck out of purging entire boxes of stuff) but in the end you're still exhausted and your things are still in disarray.

And my stuff? It's all in disarray.

If you're lucky, you then get to take said things to a new place and begin undoing all that work you just did. If you're not lucky, said things sit and wait, hopefully in a place that's dry and relatively temperature-controlled. (If you're really unlucky... well, use your imagination.)

Now that I'm finding myself in a weird limbo, I've had more than enough time to think about my own process. I packed up one house and it's all stacked in corners while I float between the camp and the next step. This means a bunch of things. For one, I'm having a heck of a time finding some clothing items. I have dishes ... somewhere. As it happens, I also have some time to sort and repair that people don't always get, which is good given the state of my dining room chairs.

But I also have some threats. I don't know exactly how long my limbo will last (hopefully not too much longer) and at some point, there may be a merge of stuff as Mia Sorella and Jay will also be uprooting in the near future. Despite that, staying motivated isn't easy. The worst is behind me and oh my goodness, I just wanted a break.

It's time for me to buckle down again, though, and as I get into that, I've been thinking about what I learned in January and February about my own process.

It wasn't pretty. What I learned, though, was that as much as people tout having a labeling system (which I do) and being willing to purge stuff (which I was), none of the actual moving stuff was as important as how I was taking care of myself.

And that's what I'd like to pass along. Without further ado, here are my six rules for taking care of your own sanity while you move.

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1. Start. Right. Now.

Moving in a few months? Start sorting your stuff now. Just got transferred? Start sorting your stuff now. Looking at a move in two weeks? Seriously, why are you still on your computer?

I had plenty of warning and, as work will often expand to fill the available time, I still didn't get done till the eleventh hour. I should have started -- really started -- sooner.

1b. The longer you've lived in one place, the sooner you should start.

No, really. Been there for five years? You've got closets you haven't opened in three. Been there for twenty? ... I can't even imagine.

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2. Set up a command center.

When I really got moving, I set up a folding table with my charging station. (That's a Christmas present that just keeps giving.) This is where my laptop stayed, where my important mail landed, and where I left my remotes. Even my car keys were kept there, most of the time (aside from one eventful hour where I wasn't sure where they were), and where I always set my purse down. All of those little things I feared losing? They landed on the table. Was the table a mess? Yes, but the important stuff was there and somehow, I managed to not lose any of it. (I think.)

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3. Be realistic about what you're actually going to need.

Seriously. I packed up a whole lot more of my kitchen when I realized that all those things I might want weren't going to be important because I was NOT going to take the time to make anything extravagant. Even if you cook a meal every day, you can probably get by with one frying pan, one saucepan, and a one set of plates/silverware for each member of your household. Get the rest of the stuff out of your way.

Bonus -- if those few items are the last things you pack, you can then have them on hand the second you get moved until you find everything else. Seriously. Keep that box separate and label the heck out of it. You'll thank me later.

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4. Put together a care package for yourself.

Look, once you get settled in your new place, it'll take some time to unpack. Or it might take awhile before you get all of your stuff in the first place. I kept two boxes open until the very end and I put some essentials (I want a shower curtain right away, dang it) and a few indulgences (a bag of coffee, a couple of books, a few pictures and refrigerator magnets) in those boxes. Those dishes I mentioned before? Also in those boxes.

When I do get moved, it'll probably be several weeks before everything can make it to the new digs. I intend to have those boxes in the trunk of my car so I can feel relatively normal right away.

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5. Watch out for your physical well-being.

Drink lots of water. Don't skip meals. Take breaks. Look, it's all easy stuff to forget, but we've got technology -- set alarms and timers if that's what you need. Don't make the experience more miserable than it has to be.

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6. You can get by with a little help from your friends.

I'm not great at this one, but if you need help, ask. People are often willing to help with moving the big furniture (especially if they are promised pizza and beer) and let's face it, most of us shouldn't be moving a couch all by ourselves.

You can bet that I'll be making some calls when the next big move comes around, too. Daz, Other Brother, Mr. Rogers -- you've been warned.

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There. That's what I've learned.

I suppose there's a big one missing -- "BE PATIENT" -- but I can't say I've figured that one out. I don't intend to, either -- impatience is what's keeping me moving now.

Now, if I could just find that one pair of pants...

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