So I’m in the process of moving again. And although you do things differently when you move a little bit at a time, there are still seven distinct stages that everyone goes through when transporting an entire life from one place to another.
Stage 1: Dread
Before you start moving or packing or perhaps even looking for another place to live, there is a deep sense of dread that sets in. It is directly related to the amount of time you have to find a place and the amount of crap you have to haul there. The shorter the time, the greater the dread. The more the crap, the greater the dread. Just thinking about the fact that you might not find a place to live before your lease ends, and you’ll be out on the street or couch surfing with all your stuff in some overpriced storage unit somewhere is enough to make anyone cringe. And then you experience a moment of clarity, you take an honest inventory of all the stuff you have in your “simple” life, and you consequently crap yourself while having a stress-induced seizure, which leaves you in a catatonic state for at least a week.
Stage 2: Action Plan
After someone dunks your head in ice cream, and you emerge from your dread coma, it’s time to get to work. You scour the classifieds, you have everyone you know keeping their ears open for an available apartment, and you start to get it through your thick head that you’re moving whether you like it or not, and it will be far less painful if you’re ready for it.
Stage 3: Paying a Butt-Load of Money
Last month’s rent on old place + first AND last month’s rent on new place + security deposit + rental truck + pizza for all your friends who help you move for free = your bank account all shriveled and whimpering in the corner, beat to a bloody pulp and softly singing “Amazing Grace.”
Stage 4: Purging
After your moment of insight into the truth about just how much junk you have, you decide it’s time to clean house. The organized will get straight to work on a yard sale while the procrastinators and the lazy will make a few trips to Goodwill and then leave a large mountain of crap by the dumpster on moving day because they’re just sick of thinking about it.
Stage 5.1: Organized Packing
The packing has to be broken down into two sections because that’s how it happens. In the first stage, you crank up “SexyBack” and get eagerly to work. You fold all your clothes very neatly and wrap all your dishes in newspaper or paper towels or plastic bags or whatever you have. And you feel pretty good about how it’s all going, and you think you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You have hope that you might actually survive, and this continues until the moment that will inevitably happen in every move.
Stage 5.2: Throwing in the towel…with the DVDs, the office supplies and the pile of dirty dishes in the sink
There comes a point when you start to think Great! I’m almost finished. But you could not be more wrong. The moment you even think this, all of your inanimate objects will begin to breed like rabbits, and the five or six more boxes you thought you had to pack suddenly become twenty boxes, six grocery bags, a garbage bag and the sacrifice of all your exotic fish for the use of the packing space the aquarium affords. No longer do you label the boxes with helpful words like “Master Bath” or “Kitchen FRAGILE.” If anything, you start writing things like “Beth’s Miscellaneous Crap,” “Uhhh…” or “Dear God WHY?!?!” punctuated with the water stains left by the tears you cried at 5 a.m. because you were up ALL night the night before the move finishing the packing you thought was almost done last week.
Stage 6: Adrenaline Rush
You haven’t slept in two days. You don’t know where anything is. You accidentally packed your toothbrush, shampoo and every pair of underwear you own prematurely. But by golly it’s MOVING DAY!! And moving day is an exciting day. People are bustling about, there’s a lot of Gatorade, you get to drive a big truck, and at the end of the day, you know you’re going to be living in that great new place you picked out! That place that must be better than your current place or you wouldn’t be moving. And magically, you have the strength of at least three men and the energy of a hyperactive puppy on crack.
This will carry you through the moving day and perhaps one or two days following.
Stage 7: Unpacking
Unpacking takes you basically the entire time you live there. And then you decide to move again.
**In case anyone’s wondering, I’m currently in the part of stage 5.2 where you have to take a break from packing or you’ll decide you don’t need any pots, pans or kitchen utensils ever again.