Monday, February 16, 2015

Zen and the Art of Packing Up Every Piece of Crap You Own: Part Three- The Seven Deadly Sins of Stuff

I guess I finally reached that critical mass.

In the mad fury to get everything together, my packing method soon resorted to "dump and sort later." I kind of think that's the way Congress operates: everything starts out with good intentions, we really will get a lot done this year... then near the end---- just dump everything and say you'll deal with it later.

I guess I finally reached the point where I had just had it with boxes. Some of the boxes I had barely gone through, but I just threw them away. I've got far too much stuff.

Here is what I see as the Seven Deadly Sins of Stuff---and hopefully I'll be set free from them this year.

 These are things moving has taught me that I need to let go of... both physically and metaphorically

1 -- Greed: Do I really NEED all that stuff. And why, oh why did I go to a consignment shop the other day looking for MORE stuff? Seriously.

2-- Sloth: Time to finally get cracking and get this stuff organized. Oh hey, what's happening on Facebook...

3-- Pride: Do we have stuff so that other people will see our stuff? I confess, I had a moment of "do I really want people to see this old couch? I need a new one" instead of--- this is the best couch ever. As long as it stays reasonably clean, don't ditch it!

4--Envy: I have a friend whose house is always in perfect order. Perfect. I have no idea how she does it. I want people to see me as this organized person. But to be honest, I'm kind of a mess.

5--Wrath: I usually get kind of pissed off at myself for "how did you let the place get to be this cluttered?" And then sometimes I throw things. Not usually. But sometimes. Esp. when the internet is out.

6--Gluttony: I guess any type of over indulgence can be seen as gluttony. I'm tired of the stuff. I'm tired of apartments looking like an all you can eat buffet of stuff.

7-- Lust: Okay, I can't make this one work. I have a picture of Johnny Depp on my desk. Can that count for something?

Anyone else had experience with these seven deadly sins of stuff? I never realized how much they were around me until I tried to move everything.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Over 40 and Single on Valentine's Day....No problem

I always feel I have to write some kind of post about my singleness on the day reserved for lovers. Or I feel the need to launch I to a tirade about men and what ( fill in your choice of insult here) they are. or maybe just make snarky comments about the greeting card industry, the floral industry , and how it is all a big conspiracy to get us to spend money.

But I won't. 

See, despite the fact that I haven't had a decent date since the Clinton administration, I still like valentines day. I am not sure when this took hold.  Decided instead of thinking of all the disastrous. Valentines days I had ( one boyfriend's "present " to me was a message on my answering machine of him imitating ALF and wishing me a happy Valentines day. I was not impressed.)

Instead Im thinking of those days when you bought the 36 pack of car to give to everyone in the class, and everyone got one---- even the kid who smelled funny and the guy who had boogers. that one day, we were reminded that we were Valentines before it got to be such a loaded word,  There was fun and, at the time I grew up, an innocence about it,

I like to think of Valentines day like that,  The point is to show as many people as possible that they are special. doesn't matter if they are friends or strangers.

so, this Valentines day, I will happily meet up with my writing group, spend some to eat a coffee shops working on my final book in a you g adult series... And I will return home to clean house for my parents upcoming visit. 

that is a good Valentines Day. why? Because I am loved, I have a home and a job.  I have a family and friends. I have a Messiah.  

love---- not the steamy, kind--- is around us everywhere, in simple things and unexpected places. I am going to look for it on Saturday. I will report what I find.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Moving Tips No One Ever Tells You About: Zen and the Art of Packing Up Every Piece of Crap You Own-- Part Two

"Now, pay close attention," My dad said, as if about to impart some long-awaited secret. "Be sure to write on the outside of the box what you put inside."

Um.. well, of course, I thought. Didn't he have any confidence in me? That should be obvious. And it is. But I've discovered something:

No matter how clearly you label the box, what is on the outside is no where near what is on the inside.

Packing up all the crap I own made me realize some tips that movers never tell you---or at least, tips I had never considered before.

1. Do you really need all that crap?

I've become convinced that I have much more than any single person should have. It's an embarrassment of riches, a wonderful blessing that I am both thankful for and mortified by when there are so many people in the world who have so little. Each time I move, I debate just getting rid of everything, and starting anew. I could sleep on an air mattress while I save money adding piece by piece to my home. And I almost do it.

Then I remember the sentimental pieces I have: my grandmother's rocking chair, the first bedroom suite my parents bought, the tin knight in armor a friend gave me for my 30th birthday... and I start packing again.

Keep what you want, but be sure you keep what you love. Clutter hinders creativity.

2. Whatever you put on the outside of the box will never be what's inside the box.

Because at the end you play, "hey, I have some space in this box, let's throw in hangers, washcloths, cat toys, bedroom slippers, knickknacks and basically anything that can fit in this narrow space. Then I open it up and it's like a buffet of madness.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help

I like to fancy myself an independent person. Asking for help was a big deal to me, and I'm thankful for R who helped me haul some things away and E and C who gave me boxes, and some extra help.  C is even keeping one of my sentimental items that almost got lost in the shuffle.  But I should have asked for more help, because----

4. You will be (fill in the blank) sick, lost, on deadline, with sick kids, out of town, car broken, etc. the days leading up to or the day of the move.

I tend to be a pack rat, and I'm thankful that I had at least started to get rid of some clutter, but the week before I had bronchitis and a sinus infection (though thankfully escaped the flu this year)--and of course, that has a domino effect because I couldn't get work stuff done because I was sick, yada, yada, yada.

Just plan for Murphy's law.

5. Be afraid to ask for help.

This may seem to contradict what is before, but hear me out. Asking someone to help you move is not like asking them for a ride to the airport. In fact, other than asking a friend for a body organ or carrying a baby for someone, there's very little that can be more miserable than moving.

My point is--- your friends aren't moving professionals, and you shouldn't expect them to be. Likewise, be aware that, if they fall and get hurt, they won't get workman's comp.

6. Be aware of what places will and will not move.
My movers wouldn't move anything flammable. No problem, I thought.
But then I realized, that includes hairspray. Nailpolish remover.

They wouldn't move any toxic substances. No problem I thought.
Then I realized, that includes household cleaners. (and in some cases, my cook books)

So what may not be obvious to you at first should be evaluated.  (Imho, if you can at all afford it, hire someone to move you. It's like ripping off a Band-aid. Do it quickly.)

7. Your new home will be chaos for a while. Just accept it.

Everything will not be organized. Don't expect it to be. Take it one day at a time.

8. Put all your boxes in one room.

If you have a guest room, or office, or room that you will not be using on a daily basis, put as many boxes as possible in there. That way, you can gradually remove one box at a time while you live your life, and you're only walking through boxes in one room of the house.

9. Your cat will view this as both the ninth circle of hell and the best playground ever.
At the same time.