I used to wonder why people in my neighborhood so rarely moved. Surely, there were opportunities elsewhere in an economically-atrophying small town in Indiana where the industry spoke to a solid blue-collar mentality that was quickly migrating to factories overseas or been supplanted by alternative technologies. And then I started into adulthood and I realized why these stalwarts of the Rust-belt hunkered down when things got tough and the siren song of greater prospects beckons from beyond their comfortable lives, storage sheds and above-ground pools. It wasn’t moral foundations, pride in their community or deep-set roots. No, it is because moving really, really sucks.
Like a goldfish, it seems like we expand to fill our environments. I don’t know how I acquire so much… just… stuff!
I’ve moved five times in eight years. I’m not talking about while owning a stereo and three drawers of clothes. No, this is while owning a house full of furniture and accessories.
There is often a good deal of excitement when changing your surroundings, but this last move was especially melancholy. But I’m not going to get into it.
I’m just not, alright?
Can we drop it? I’m trying to get to the real part of the post. Just…
Regardless, there’s a lot you can learn about yourself when you go through all of your possessions and move them to a new locale. So, here’s what I learned this time through.
1. I so want a big-ass van.
Just when I thought we were going to have to rent a U-Haul at $20/day+mileage, a good friend of mine offered up his panel van that he picked up for $800; a perfectly running GMC with a Black Keys CD in the stereo. Besides the fact that everyone pulled their children to the side as I drove by with no windows along the side and one of the back windows busted out and covered in cardboard and packing tape, the big GMC worked like a charm! It was able to haul all of our belongings in a few trips over the span of several days in a significantly cheaper way than a rental would have been. Granted, I was forbidden from spray painting “Free Candy” along its pasty canvas sides, but the new neighbors must have loved it anyway. Now that I live across the street from a middle school soccer field, I desperately wanted to walk up to the parents watching their sweet and budding futballers on the field and warn them that “They don’t like it when ya stare” and hobble back to my panel van. Overall, though, a vehicle with this much utility is supremely useful. Better than a truck in that you can throw a load into the back and lock it up for the night, not forced to attend to it immediately for fear of thieves. I need a big ass van!
2. I horde practical things.
I’m not sure when this came about, but as I was cleaning out the boxes in the garage, I realized that throughout my life, I have faithfully believed that extension cords, power strips and coaxial cables would become a form of currency supplanting the US Dollar. I don’t know how many televisions I believed that I would have to need 16 coaxial cables with a minimum length of 30 feet since I hadn’t had cable television in over 5 years, but I had a milk crate full of them. The same goes for paint brushes, pens, steel wool and so forth. I felt awful throwing out so much of what I’m sure I will need in two weeks.
3. Landlords will always, ALWAYS, screw you over.
Spending every night for 2 weeks cleaning, painting, patching, vacuuming, and scrubbing gained my next to nothing since I didn’t clean the back of the washer and dryer (really.) among other things. You know who you are and you’ll be getting a letter. I can’t talk about it till the court case is over. I’m trying to decide whether I’ll ever clean an apartment again.
4. Sometimes, a storage space is necessary.
I used to question why people would keep stuff that they don’t use in a storage space. What a waste of money! How gluttonous! Well, after you have a big house full of stuff and move into a small place, your point of view changes and you are thankful for the woman in your life who can move around boxes around in a 10’x15’ space like a Tetris master!
I’m sure that there are many more moves ahead in my future. Hopefully, they will all be for the better and will all be learning experiences. But I don’t want to clean the apartment again.