Jul 29, 2014
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Hoarder to Purger in Four Easy Days

How this rolling stone came to a screeching halt and grew a forest of moss. The misadventures of and reflections on moving.

Hoarder to Purger in Four Easy Days

Three moves is as good as a fire — Benjamin Franklin 

I glanced around at the small mountain of moving boxes and thought to myself “where did all of this stuff come from?” I panicked for a moment thinking I was secretly being taped for the next installment of “Hoarders”.

Moving is never pretty. Your whole life is unearthed, manhandled, separated, and then boxed, and that’s only the physical trauma of the experience. The emotional strain of what to keep and cherish or disregard and toss is a thin imperfect line that fractures with every decision. Sadly, as I peeled away the dusty layers of life that have sat dormant in my basement and attic, a harsh reality washed over me; I have been silently drowning in a sea of STUFF. 

I set out to alter my station in life from collector to minimalist (or something in between).  “A place for everything and everything in its place."  Maybe Ben Franklin missed his calling as a closet organizer.  Either way, his quote is one of my true aspirations on my journey to orderliness. I have always secretly fantasized about leading an uncluttered life that looks like it’s been lifted from the glossy pages of  Real Simple magazine. 

So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Nothing was immune from this purger’s knife as I cut out everything deemed unnecessary (okay, I am a sucker for sentiment…. keepsakes were off limits).

First on the chopping block were those worthless plastic trinkets and toys that have accumulated over time as well-intended party favors. Their numbers were so colossal, I think they were spawning. 

My husband and I were never packrats so it amazes me that we came to accumulate so much.  Our first six years of marriage were a romantic union on a rolling stone. We moved six different times in as many years.  We hung our hats in three different states, two different oceans and one Windy City.  I faced every move as an adventure and surprisingly was no less weary for it. We traveled lightly which may have been more a result of our thin wallets than a conscious embrace of minimalism.

Those moves were so effortless that they have been erased from the deep recesses of my memory.  That is except for the “Donut Move." Moving from one side of the Golden Gate Bridge to the other, I mistakenly welcomed my hourly movers with donuts and coffee.  They frittered away their time with jelly filled nibbles as my husband and I loaded the truck.  “Why don’t we just buy them some donuts,” is now his mantra for service gone badly.

During these past four days of moving, I have felt like a nomad traveling with my herd of boxes, struggling to keep them safe and together until we set up our family tent.  The unsettling wails of my nomadic children would leave me restless 'Mom where are my shoes and the toothpaste?',  'Has anyone seen the hamster?'.  I desperately needed to settle down. 

Now dwelling in my new house, I have weeks of work before me as I steadily devour my heap of boxes. My hunger for an organized home fuels my appetite. I look down at my cracked hands and at nails that are worn to the quick and I can confidently conclude that giving birth was an easier feat.

And although Benjamin Franklin thought three moves was as good as a fire, I think he would have chosen to send a flame thrower through my house rather than pack up all of my stuff.

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