Life lately feels like a continuum of boxes.
Mentally, we are checking off the many boxes that will enable us to move to another town, another house: find a new job, find renters, find financing, find a new house, find a way to move between houses.
Our conversations have more frequently consisted of verbally checking off boxes: “I did a, b, and c today.” “Were you able to do x, y, z?” We make a list of tasks and split them between us, and proudly report on our progress at the end of the day. It’s very romantic.
Most noticeably, we are surrounded by physical boxes, of the cardboard type. I spent two and a half weeks sorting through and packing up the items which we had stored on the unrented side of our duplex, in preparation for persons yet unknown to fill it with their own possessions. Those few weeks have made me into something of a cardboard box connoisseur. I am collecting them, in various sizes and shapes, from a variety of sources–book boxes from my work at the library, paper boxes from the office of a family member, Easter candy boxes from the local convenience store. I am becoming quite adept at eyeballing a heap of variously-shaped items, carefully selecting a box of just the right volume and shape, and packing everything so the contents fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Sturdy boxes with pre-cut handles are gold, the Holy Grail of packing supplies. My enthusiasm for them may border on the effusive.
I have also started packing up on our side of the house, choosing the least-used items to pack first. We have no idea when we will be able to move (this depends on the person(s)-yet-unknown who will hopefully want to rent out our apartment), so I try to keep in mind that I might not have access to the items for months or, possibly, for more than a year. This sort of rigorous selection process has resulted in another round of de-cluttering–“if I really won’t need it for a year, will I ever need it again, and in that case, do I want to spend the time and energy to move it?” Sometimes, unfortunately, I can’t recall if a certain item has been packed up out of sight in a box, or has been gotten rid-of altogether. I’ve also started “losing” items, in general chaos that is my house lately, and I’m never quite sure that some necessity hasn’t been accidentally slipped into a box and sealed up. I regularly check on the cats for this reason.
There are stacks of empty cardboard boxes scattered around my house, waiting to be either broken-down or filled up. I’m starting to feel like a hoarder. I try to remind myself that this is temporary, but then I remember that I don’t know how temporary. I also know that when the time to move actually arrives, it will be much, much worse. A sea of boxes. A forest of boxes. I’ll be wading through them, in every room. I myself may wind up swathed in newspaper and sealed inside one with packing tape. If you help us move, be sure to carefully check my labels scrawled in Sharpie, and be mindful of This End Up.