One wouldn’t think that for someone who has spent the past four years moving from dorm room to dorm room and jumping around off campus apartments that another pack and move would be problematic. This was exactly my mindset before going into the details of how different a move across the country would be compared to moving around the same town. with a collage move one can think short term because you know exactly when you will be back next. One can plan a year ahead, sometime less and pack like it’s an extremely long vacation.
“Ohhh I’ll just leave my winter stuff, and pick it up when I’m back for Thanksgiving”.
Packing for an unknown leave meant everything had to be given consideration. My goal was to get everything I wanted with me in Seattle into a box to be shipped, and everything else to be thrown out, recycled or given away. This was not as easy of a task as I thought it would be. I never considered the amount of stuff that I had accumulated over the years. I found that I was holding on to old homework assignments dating at least back to middle school. If I were a narcissistic anthropologist I would be writing a lengthy dissertation right now and not a blog. Here is a small list of some of the more surprising things I found:
- Old homework
- Boxes that haven’t been opened since they were packed in 2004
- Fish Food and a fish tank filter ( I haven’t had a fish for 10+ years)
- Amazingly large numbers of old birthday cards
Some things made the cut and a lot more have been trashed. It is hard to understand how challenging it can be sorting through one’s own possessions. Finding old doodles from high school which I have no need to keep; they are not something I spent any time or thought on when I made them, I haven’t missed them for the past five years that they have been sitting in a paper tower, but finding them again triggers an association with the memories around their origin. One picks up the paper and on recognizing the content is hit by a tide of nostalgia, but consciously realizing its just clutter stuffs it in the trash and moves to the next piece in the pile. It was very emotionally draining.
In the end I filled about six garbage bags of trash, a large pile of recyclables and an overstuffed hamper with clothes along with six boxes ready to be moved out with me. A good deal was left behind, so I had not been fully successful in moving out all of my belongings; but I had my room cleaner than it’s been in a very long time, I had packed everything that was a necessity and more, and my flight was in a few hours.
3 thoughts on “Packing”
To anyone finding the association of objects and memories interesting I suggest checking out this RadioLab story on Things.
… and the bottles of Dinosaur barbecue sauce are languishing without you.
I still have my school workbooks (homework etc) from when I was in fifth grade in London! They make fascinating reading…trips into “the past” which is another country….