Note: We’re much, much closer to moving now, and that panic threshold is starting to loom….
We’re only a few weeks away from moving, and as we are “moving ourselves,” I’m deep into sorting through our belongings and packing them up. To my surprise, I have not yet reached the exasperated “throw a match on the pile and walk away” phase. Perhaps I just haven’t reached the necessary panic threshold.
Actually, we’ve been surprised to find that we don’t have as many belongings as we had thought, which is a relief. We’ve also been selling and donating quite a bit, which perhaps creates a mental counter-balance. In a way, for this move it would make sense to take as little with us as possible. We’ll be moving into a someone else’s home, which is already occupied by their things. We will have access to free, adequate storage, but that is where most of our belongings will be for some time: packed up, unused, and out of sight. It would make sense to pare down to just the basics and the irreplaceables.
The truth is, though, that I don’t want to reduce our things down to the basics. I don’t want to start again from zero. There’s already been so much uncontrollable change in my life over the last few years–I just want something to stay the same. Even if it’s invisible, wrapped up in paper, inside a cardboard box; it’s still there.
I’ve realized that I want–perhaps need–my belongings to remind me of who I am right now. If I have books, surely I am still a reader? If I have needles and floss, I must still be an embroiderer. If I have travel souvenirs, it means that at one time I liked to see new places, and perhaps I will again someday. If I already have a trowel and flower pot, I only need seeds and soil to be a gardener.
I am not keeping everything, by any means; but there will be a small library of books, and thrift-store plates, and terra-cotta flower-pots, and ribbon scraps, and embroidery hoops in my moving boxes. I’ve always surrounded myself with things that evoke memories of places or people, or simply a sense of happiness. And, like many creative people, with things that indicate my intentions. Even before this move, I was trying to become better about clutter, and about not bogging myself down physically in either the past, or the future. For now, though, I feel the need to take some of those reminders with me as I uproot myself.
And when I finally move into my own house again someday, I hope unpacking will be like welcoming old friends into my new home.