FOR SALE: One Power Painter – used once. One Herbicide Sprayer – still in original box. One Mr. Clean Car-Wash thingy — never used.
Let me clarify: Until 2001, I lived my entire life in apartments. But one year I was lucky enough to be able to buy a HOUSE. A self-contained, no-upstairs (or downstairs) neighbors, do-what-you-will house. Starry eyed, I moved in and learned the harsh realities of house-ownership.
When you live in a house, you might have a lawn. This requires mowing, edging, fertilizing, seeding, and other various and sundry machinations to make your lawn look presentable. I learned this when I moved in and didn’t have a lawn mower. The grass was as high as an elephant’s eye… ok, not that bad, but almost. A co-worker gave me his old mower. Sadly, it was not the ‘self-propelled’ or ‘4-wheel drive’ kind — whichever it is that makes it easier to push around your lawn. Now, granted, my lawn is not very large, but I was a nearing-50, non-athletic woman who had never mowed a lawn in her life. In my previous urban life, there was no lawn. And when I lived in a big complex in Arizona, what little lawn there might have been was cared for by professionals. So, it came as a shock to me that lawnmowing was sweaty work, in that, it would be my sweat doing the work.
I have moved approximately 152 times. Ok, not that many. But it feels like it. My first move was when I was about 27 and here’s how it went. I put all the personal belongings that I could fit into my Plymouth Duster (named Geoffrey) and headed off into the sunset. My belongings included clothing, a set of Corelle dishes my mother gave me, some towels I had purchased at the local discount store (in the days before Walmart or the Dollar Store), most likely some books, and anything else my mother ‘donated to the cause’… like maybe a pot or pan or two.
The second time I moved, was from a studio apartment into a one bedroom apt. in the same complex. I carried boxes, and used the ‘grocery cart’ of a neighbor to move my belongings from one building to another (all being on the ground level. This was a blessing!) Subsequent moves in Phoenix meant stuffing my car and making multiple trips. (I suspect that by this time my parents had visited and added to my ‘belongings’.
Eventually I moved from Phoenix to the NY metropolitan area. This required one of those little U-Haul trailer things that you pull along behind your car. The smallest one, as I was poor. I cried when I had to leave some of my cherished belongings behind. (I still miss you papa-san chair!) All my furniture was left in the desert. I was about to start over.
Then I moved to another state, and my company moved my 2 bedroom apartment full of belongings — including furniture! — via moving van. Hallelujah! Once ensconced in my new apartment, I began to look at houses, which were affordable given my location and salary. I had FINALLY hit the big time! I was going to live in a house! This was when the stars appeared in my eyes. I was going to have a garden! I was going to wash my car in the driveway on a sunny day! I was going to PAINT the kitchen cabinets! People who live in houses do those kinds of things! I was going to do them too!
It’s a 3 bedroom house and ALL THE BEDROOMS ARE MINE! That means that the closets are mine to do with as I please. And I please to fill them up with belongings. Suitcases of varying sizes from carry-on to steamer trunk-ish. (They are not just sitting there idle though, they’re full of stuff. Blankets and such. Websites tell you you should do that. So I did.) One spare closet has “out of season” clothing. It also has “clothing-I’ll-never-wear-again-but-just-can’t-bear-to-part-with”, miscellaneous Christmas décor items, and my no-longer-used “Red Hats” (in a lovely hat box!) In the other spare room I have removed the clothing pole and transformed the closet into a craft mecca. Scrapbook paper, paint and sponge brushes, stickers, photos, glue, felt, and all kinds of other crafty craft things fill this shelf bedecked closet. (Yes, I kept the pole for the future homeowners to use should they want to hang clothing in there!) This closet also houses a category of items I call “Wire-y things” which includes old computer power cords, extension cords, telephone cords, maybe even a CAT5 cable or two. Anything with a wire-y function. Also, some unused tools and painting supplies (wall painting as opposed to craft painting)
The last bedroom — the master bedroom — has two closets. I assume the are intended to be “his and hers” closets, but in my house they’re MINE and MORE MINE closets. One is where my ‘every day’ things go. The work clothing I am currently wearing (sometimes seasonal or job specific — I had a certain dress code at Job 2), tshirts, unmentionables, socks, etc. I have so many socks I had to stop trying to shove them all in the small dresser drawer they used to occupy. Now they live happily in a cloth bin in the closet.
On the top shelf of the closet I have computer bags and backpacks. They’re really nice bags and I don’t want to get rid of them — you never know… some smart employer might still hire me to do their national training for something or other! Then won’t I be glad I have a variety of computer bags to choose from! The second closet is “current season, but less likely to be today’s choice”, or “clothing for special occasions”. This closet also has the size 5 denim jacket I’ve had for years which is adorned with pins from places I’ve been, including Italy, Disneyland, Canada, Colorado, and Hollywood (to name a few) along with some pins from my former place of employment.
Then of course, there’s the kitchen. I’ve come a long way since my first set of Corelle and some second hand saucepans. I love to cook. Ok, I love to eat, which means I cook a lot. Ok, not a lot. But enough to warrant a wok, a microplane zester, a pizza cutter, pie plates, cake pans, cookie cutters, a salad spinner, serving platters, and a myriad of glassware. Sometimes I fantasize that I’m Sandra Lee and that a crew comes in and changes out my kitchenware seasonally — so I have 4 sets of dishes, one for each season. I’ve been using the Summer set since last year. Knowing I was moving, it just didn’t seem necessary to take the others out.
Now I’m faced with moving again. I have a LOT more stuff than I started out with, and I’m poor (as in the U-Haul scenario mentioned above). I’m parting with a number of cherished belongings, but I’m still clinging to items that refresh my good memories of days gone by. My next obstacle is how to transport and store my items until I can find a job and place to live (near my mom). THEN I will weed through the things I’ve moved and decide what stays and what doesn’t. But for now, I NEED my crockpot. I NEED my yarn stash! I NEEEEEEED my book collection (college paperbacks, cookbooks, mysteries, etc.) I may not read them all the time, but I like knowing they’re there if I want them. And my furniture! I learned when I moved from AZ to NY, DO NOT SELL YOUR FURNITURE! You get pennies for it and have to spend thousands to replace it. And (refer back to the poor statement above) I don’t have thousands! So, I’m working on both purging and getting quotes on transportation devices (PODS, UPACK, UHAUL, ETC.) and storage units, and using a lot of vodka.
The moral of my story is this: The longer you live the more things you know how to do. The more things you know how to do the more stuff you have to do it. The more stuff you have, the easier it is to stay where you are and the harder it becomes to relocate to a different place.