Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Headaches of Moving and Downsizing

buried in cardboard moving boxes

If you still haven’t found the motivation to clean out even your kitchen junk drawer during all this pandemic downtime at home, try this three-step formula:

1. Sell your current house.

2. Move 200 miles out of state.

3. Then, and only then, buy a house built when lives were simpler and homeowners smaller.

That’s what we did this autumn. My Love received a job offer she couldn’t possibly pass up even though, despite living in a world brimming with deadly airborne contagions and pants-less Zoom calls from home, it required her to work on-site. With live, air-spewing co-workers. And, I assume, a dress code.

“I needed a new challenge,” she said during a phone call to a friend, in a voice brimming with enough enthusiasm and volume to drown out the sound of my head repeatedly meeting the drywall. Eh, what’s one more bit of spackling before listing the old homestead?

Ah, the suburban housing market. We fully expected to take advantage of city folk desperate to overpay to exchange their high-rise petri dishes for an acre and a finished basement. Instead, the people who overpaid for our place came from a mile down the road. As my parents were fond of yelling out the window whenever they passed a church holding a wedding, “Suckerrrrrrrrrs!”

But before we could enter the sizzling real estate market, we followed standard procedure of decluttering. It would be timely to pare down the contents of our 3,200 square feet world (plus attic, garage and basement). Our children are now in college and retirement looms not too far ahead, providing My Love doesn’t need another challenge and my brain is not too damaged from this one.

However, despite what we thought was a successful initial culling for a downsized future, when you live for more than 16 years in one house in which you’ve raised and spoiled two children and multiple dogs, stuff tends to settle quietly and inconspicuously under beds, in closets and — OMIGOD, WHAT’S ALL THIS CRAP BEHIND THE CURTAIN IN THE BASEMENT!!

Did we really need that entertainment center with the two broken shelves? Yes. It perfectly complements the TV with the missing faceplate and wonky speaker.

Does a lightweight DIYer like myself really need seven pairs of vice grips? Does Chip Gaines like demo day?

And my compact disc collection. Thousands and thousands of dollars spent over the decades on music now rendered nearly worthless and space consuming in the streaming age. But I ask you, who these days doesn’t need several hundred metallic drink coasters?

Alas, the decisions to pitch much of our excessive past life came when, after months of trying, we finally bought a new home in the sub-suburbs where the market was even hotter and tighter, and the out-of-state suckers (they being us) even suckier. On move-in day this house, built in 1913 and — even with a recent addition — less than two-thirds the size of our old one, quickly became a sea of cardboard boxes in need of a modern Moses to get me to the bathroom on time.

Then there was the furniture that turned out to be too big to go up our newly purchased stairs.

“You know, the movers charged by the pound,” said My Love, which only added to the headache I had from banging my skull repeatedly atop a basement door frame obviously built for easy access by pygmies.

So the purging began again. All things, great and small, sold online or donated to a local charity.

We’re making steady progress. It's Week Three now and we've rid ourselves of enough stuff that I’ve just discovered our new place has all hardwood floors. The biggest victims of the cleaning have been dishware, oversized area rugs, furniture and many, many bags of My Love’s clothes.

So excuse me now. I think I do need to research her new company’s position on pants.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

1 comment:

  1. This was great and, I fear, my life one year from now when my wife's job requires on-site work. Hoping we move into a bigger place to kick the decluttering can down the road. But as a former boss once told me, "Hope's not a Plan."


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