Moving Houses Brings Life Many Lessons


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Mark and I changed houses. Most women love moving because it gives them a chance to redecorate, but men see it for what it is — a lot of heavy lifting. First they have to move everything out of the old house. Then they have to move everything into the new house. Once the big pieces are in place, the woman starts unpacking, humming and decorating. The man sets out to “acquaint myself with the new neighborhood,” generally starting with the nearest bar.

I was lucky in that I had plenty of prior notice and that gave me lots of time to do what I do best — fuss over things.

I can now say with complete confidence that I have handled every single object I own and assigned it a value based on a) emotional attachment, b) monetary value and c) need.

This process started out easily enough. The things I deemed worth moving were necessary and/or beautiful things. It was nice to see how my taste has improved over the years. The things I “voted off the island” were things I’d wanted an excuse to dump for ages. But everything else, the bulk, required thought.

For instance, the raccoon coat from Great-Aunt Ella had to go. Emotional attachment? Yes. Monetary value? Some. Need? Hardly. Ella loved it; I loved it; but this bit of history ended up in my antiques store. It’s time for someone else to inherit those raccoons.

Wine glasses? I really only need one, but somehow they multiplied. I kept the gorgeous etched crystal set in case I throw a party, but the rest went to Goodwill. Oh, and I kept my redneck wineglass, made from a canning jar glued to a glass candlestick. Why? It can go in the dishwasher.

I didn’t realize how much I hated my clothes until I sorted through them. When the decision was made to buy new clothes, I magnanimously donated the old ones to the unfortunate. (They are called “the unfortunate” because they are now expected to wear my ugly, cast-off clothes.)

Along the way, I also learned a lot about packing. Things like:

1. Husbands who help are sweetie-pies but it took me two days to find the salt shaker, and then only because the box was leaking salt.

2. Conversely, wives who help must stay out of the garage. The guy gets to make all garage decisions.

3. If something needs to be disassembled, try to keep components together. (Putting the screws in your pocket will be a problem later.)

4. Don’t pack bath towels and pictures separately — wrap the pictures in the towels. At the new place, everything is going to be washed again anyway, and if the glass does break, cleanup will be a lot easier.

5. There is no sense using $20 worth of bubble wrap on a $10 vase.

Finally, because distressed objects with that “lived-in look” are now all the rage, I didn’t wrap anything that wasn’t really fragile. I decided to embrace any bumpy road encountered along the way as an “opportunity.” This is a good policy in moving — as in life.