Saturday, June 30, 2012

My apartment looks lonely

The one part of moving that I hate, detest, abhor, and loathe is packing. There is nothing fun about packing. Part of this comes from my history of moving. When I was younger and we moved every 3-4 years (thanks U.S. Army), moving companies would just magically show up at our house and pack everything. And I do mean everything. If you didn't watch carefully, your garbage would get packed. I remember my parents stationing themselves around the house to watch and as we got older, I believe my brother and I did this too. My parents had to be very specific about certain areas of the house that we'll call "packer free zones." Family photos, important papers, and some of my mom's antiques would be in this zone. We had many items walk over the years from my dad's tools to an afghan my grandmother made for my brother. I'm convinced that my enormous Cheer Bear Care Bear (the pink one with the rainbow on its tummy) was stolen not just left behind when we moved to Alabama.

It's not like we never had to pack when we moved. Obviously we had to pack our clothes and things we'd need in the car but the majority of the work was done by someone else. (In most instances. Don't ever ask my mother about the move from Georgia to Hawaii. Ever.) It wasn't until I went to college that I had to start packing on my own. In college, packing wasn't so terrible because I didn't have much to pack. As I moved from dorm room to my first apartment, most of my belongings fit in a few suitcases and boxes. Furniture was minimal. I think my roommate and I had only a few big things between us (beds, the sofa) and everything else we got once we moved. Friends gave us most of our furniture anyway so it wasn't like it mattered if it got a little beat up. Even as we moved from that apartment to a larger one the next year, we still didn't really spend much time packing. We probably needed a few more boxes to accommodate my roommate's love of all things Christmas (we could have a tree!) and I think we had acquired more kitchen stuff since eating on campus was not really as much of an option anymore. Packing was fun because it usually involved drinking and planning all the awesome things we'd need to get once we got settled into our new place. I miss college some days.

Between 2001 (when I graduated from college and spent a year in Hawaii) and now, I've begun the very grown-up process of accumulating stuff. And when you accumulate stuff you have to pack it when you move. That's how moving works. When I moved back to Louisiana after the year in Hawaii, I moved into my first apartment by myself. I was responsible for all the furniture and dishes and everything else you think you need in your house. I started buying real furniture, got my first television, starting collecting Fiesta dishes, got a stand mixer, and began my collection of baking accoutrement. I also have a lot of books and a decent CD collection. And clothes and shoes-so many shoes.

Packing takes forever. I started the process in mid-May and you'd think I'd be done by now but I'm not. Once you've started accumulating stuff, packing becomes a multi-stage process. My packing process goes something like this:
  1. Purge the clothes. I go through my closets (I have 2 here), my stored clothes, and my chest of drawers and get rid of anything I have not worn in over a year or that doesn't fit anymore. I do the same thing with shoes. If it's still wearable, it goes into the donation box. If not, the trash.
  2. Purge books, DVDs, and CDs. This is much harder than the clothes purging. I'm ridiculously attached to my books and CDs so deciding to get rid of any of them is always difficult. For books, I use a few questions like "Did I buy you at the airport?" and "Did my friend who loves chick lit recommend you to me?" Those go in the donation box. For CDs, I think about the last time I listened to it. If it's over 2 years and I don't anticipate listening anytime soon, it goes in the box. I might add a few songs to my iTunes library first but it still goes in the box.
  3. Purge kitchen and housewares. This is relatively easy so I do it last because I don't agonize over getting rid of the extra set of cake pans that I don't really need or the plastic holiday serving trays that I will never use again.
  4. Begin packing. I start with non-essentials. Non-essentials include my books, CDs, DVDs, all kitchen stuff I don't use frequently, extra sets of sets and towels, and all clothes I won't wear until I get resettled. I usually find more stuff to donate or throw away during this process.
  5. Pack everything else. This allows you to put things you'll need immediately towards the back of the truck (because you will need them first when you get to your new place) and separate what you'll need in the car and on the drive (and this is true whether you're moving across town or across the country).
I've just recently finished steps 1-3 and I'm almost through with step 4. Step 4 is proving to be the hardest because this step includes pretty much all the stuff that makes my apartment my home. I've taken pictures off the wall, boxed up all my books (sorry little friends), and just packed all the little randoms that live around my apartment (including my Sex Pistols lunchbox, a Mr. T figurine, and my owl collection). My apartment looks lonely.

You probably can't tell but there are nails in the wall where my awesome NOLA photo collection used to be.

Red is for avoidance
 I've been trying to avoid the lonely apartment phase of moving. I dyed my hair, decided to reorganize my bathroom cabinet, watched Rhinestone again (too bad it's not in the On Demand free movies section or I'd watch it a third time this month), and have read about 7 free books on my Kindle. (This is why I shouldn't have ever gotten a Kindle - free books are just too tempting.) I'm writing this post instead of dealing with my kitchen. I've also spent way too much time looking at the things I've found as I repack and organize. For example, I found my patch sash from when I was in Brownies in 1986. It was at the bottom of a box of pictures and mementos from school (elementary through high school-yeah, I save everything). And now I want to figure out how to give patches out for everything in life. The last two steps are taking forever.

           The move is going to happen a lot sooner than I think. I have this week, then I'm out of town for a work trip, and then it's my last week in Alameda. I have to finish packing, clean my apartment, drop off another load of donations, figure out what to do with the tv and furniture I don't want, pick up the truck, and fetch Scott from the airport. Then we have to get the truck loaded and get on the road. And of course, I need to say goodbye to people, do those last few California/East Bay things I want to do before I leave, and say goodbye to my favorite apartment of all time. When does the fun part of moving start?


  1. Can you give us first crack at the CD/DVD/Book box, say over a tasty beverage @ FI?

  2. Sure thing! Let me know when you guys want to go.

  3. And don't forget you have to bake Nutella poptarts as well! You had better get to work lady!

    P.S. I want a patch. I was a girl scout as well, and yes, I still have my sash.

  4. I have the shopping list prepared! I think I'm going to do both Nutella raspberry and a Nutella/S'Mores version. Should be interesting.

    You totally need a patch. Let's think of something for a patch.