I suck at packing. For someone who is usually so organized at everything else in life, I sure do have a delicate way of shoving all my s**t into boxes with zero organizational skills. The idea of unpacking it all gives me anxiety–but I don’t have to deal with that part for another week or so… so I’ll keep pushing that off.
The idea of moving, however, brings excitement, anticipation, and eagerness–but packing makes me wanna…
I’m getting ready to make my move from Sioux City, Iowa to Madison, Wisconsin. When I lived in California two years ago, I never knew anything about any Midwest town, besides Chicago.
Now that I’ve visited a good chunk of Midwestern towns and states, I can honestly say I’m ready to explore Madison. After hearing positive reviews of the area, and knowing how much more I’ll feel “at home” in a bigger city, I can’t wait to see what the state can offer me and what I can offer it.
But let me tell you, the process of getting there has successfully made me want to burn all of my belongings and live that nomadic life.
Every move I’ve made so far has been a bigger headache than the time before. When I moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles, I had only a car full of stuff. When I moved from Los Angeles to Sioux City, I had maybe 7 boxes of stuff. Now that I am moving from Sioux City to Madison, I have a truck load of stuff.
I have three times the amount of clothes, an embarrassing number of shoes, and now I have furniture. I never thought I would say I hate my couch, but when it comes to moving…
I started packing about a week ago. When I first started taping the bottoms of boxes together to begin filling them with my stuff, I glanced around and thought, “Eh, this won’t be that bad. I don’t have THAT much stuff.”
My technique started nice and neat but the more boxes I had to tape together, the lazier I got. I used absolutely zero creativity in “packing smart” and saving space. I have no idea where anything is. It’s off to a great start, really.
But besides being unorganized, packing has gotten me deeper into my thoughts with every box flap closure and tape tear I manage to roll my eyes through.
I find myself taking breaks from lifting, sorting, and shoving–and instead getting lost in the once decorated walls as they now stare at me with their nude nostalgic tones.
I stare at the dusty furniture that I was always too lazy to clean. I look at the floors that always have a million strands of my hair all over it, no matter how many times I clean them. I find myself slowly spinning in a room I never realized was so spacious before. I find myself contemplating the few items I left out for last minute packing–makeup, towels, work clothes, toiletries.
Through the unorganized thoughts and motions, packing has made me realize several things:
- You never think you have that much stuff until you have to de-construct your entire living space. Ninety percent of my boxes are clothes. I always knew I had a lot of clothes but I was never annoyed by the amount until I had to pack them all up and it was only then I realized…MY GOD I HAVE SO MANY CLOTHES. I found clothes I thought I lost years ago. I found things I haven’t worn in years but still fit. Found things with tags still on them, found things I forgot I had then found more things that look almost entirely the same because I didn’t know I had the first things. Things. That’s all they are. Although my job does require me to always wear something new, I think I took that a bit overboard. I could wear something different every day for three years and probably never repeat an outfit with the amount of clothes that I have. While I was packing all of it up, I thought about cleansing during the process.. then realized I love and need everything in my closet and can’t part ways with anything so it’s fantastic that my new place has two walk-in closets because SOMEONE was going to have to adjust and it wasn’t going to be me.
- It’s hard to appreciate how lucky you are until you have everything in front of you. Even though I am slightly embarrassed by the amount of clothes I have, I can truthfully say I worked hard to afford all of it. Even beyond the depths of my closet–the couch, the TV, the dresser, the bed–I worked hard for everything. I earned every penny it took to be able to afford the things in my life. Although far from luxurious, I sure do have a lot to be grateful for. I have things other people would be working twice as hard to get. Packing it all up and seeing how much of my stuff is wholly mine, makes me feel accomplished for what I do have in my life.
- Packing every item into a box is kind of like putting a puzzle together. Sorting through pieces of the past, present and future and placing them side by side as they get buried at the bottom of a cardboard box. Like memories being stored in the brain, waiting to reemerge. I find that when I’m packing, I’m not just placing physical items into a box. I’m placing memories, emotions, and feelings into an enclosed space and sealing them shut momentarily. It allows me to reflect on the past couple years I’ve spent and how much I’ve changed, whether immediately noticeable or not. It’s like figuring out the puzzle of life and building on it more and more with every big move I make. Placing more memories, each fitting exactly as it was meant to.
So to wrap up my final thoughts on this, and before getting too emotional, packing is not fun. It’s actually a laborious process that makes me sad thinking about some of the things I’m leaving behind. Things I can’t take with me–people and the irreplaceable sentiments of being physically present for the relationships I’ve developed. Moving to a new place can be rather lonely at first. But just like my move from California to Iowa, I know it will be worth it. I will have so many new emotions, feelings, accomplishments, and gratitudes to pack with me for my next move; to add more pieces to life’s puzzle.