Have you ever moved? I don’t mean from your parents’ house to a dorm room or from a dorm room to an apartment or even from an apartment to your first house. The move I am discussing is from an established home to another home. After the kids have grown a bit or even after they have their own kids. It really does not matter, what does matter is that the home is permanently established (or rather semi-permanently established), fully functional and everybody’s everything is in the home. Then for some reason it is time to pull up roots and move to the new house.
Moving, for some, like those in the military, is as common as buying a newer vehicle every few years. No big deal, they just take what they want and sell or give away what they do not need. Many families that relocate frequently often rent their furniture because it is easier to rent and return it, than to move it. Sure, renting furniture is more costly for the long term, but it is so much easier than lugging all that stuff from one place to another, especially if you are traveling a long distance. For the rest of the population that tends to stay in one place for extended periods, renting appliances, TV’s, and furniture is not cost effective, so we buy, accumulate and oftentimes store it in sheds, garages and storage facilities.
One of my favorite moving terms is “Shift and shove.” You shift it from one area of the home to another; from the living room to the basement, from the basement to the shed or garage, from the garage to a rented storage unit. Then you shove the stuff from here to there to make room for more stuff. Like squirrels gathering nuts for winter, we gather our belongings and for some unknown reason cannot or will not relinquish those articles to the recycle bin, trash or to a charitable organization. We hold on to our stuff until it becomes so old it is outdated, obsolete, faded or moldy. Do we throw the stuff away? No, of course not. We just shove it further back into the storage area, among the rest of the forgotten things, to sit silently until we move.
Our stuff is important to us, not important enough to display it in our living rooms or to (heaven forbid) wear again, so we justify keeping it. We hang on to a lamp that never got a new shade, or curtains because maybe we’ll paint the room a different color and they might match, or that screwdriver that Dad gave you but is so rounded it could not tighten a screw, and toys that should be in a museum. Stuff upon stuff, some say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, but when you are moving, that “treasure” will cost you in moving expenses. We worked hard to earn the money to buy that plastic decoration, the latest toy (remember the Cabbage Patch Doll or Nintendo craze?) or those almost unbreakable dishes with the blue cornflower. We justify keeping it because we might fix it (that rarely happens), as memorabilia because Auntie Margaret gave it to you, or because we think it has value even though it is broken. Therefore, as time goes on, we acquire stuff and more stuff. So much stuff, as a matter of fact, that we do not even know what we have any more. That is, until we have to move.
If you are planning a move, whether it is across town, or across the country, be aware that moving your belongings is only the tip of the iceberg. Be diligent, shift and shove all of that stuff before the movers arrive. Give it to charity, sell what you can and recycle or throw (most of it) away. Save yourself the headache and expense of moving it and having to dispose of it at your new home.
Preparing for a major move is similar to preparing for an emergency or a disaster, plan your course of action before it happens. You will have less stress during the move and like emergency disaster preparedness planning; the stress of the situation will not be as overwhelming.
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