HOUS­ING CRI­SIS

Kate has a mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence while pack­ing up

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - A Date With Sarah-kate -

Ican see why peo­ple say mov­ing house is right up there with the most stress­ful things to hap­pen in your life. They rank it along­side di­vorce and pos­si­bly even death. I don’t know how it’s pos­si­ble to ac­cu­mu­late so much stuff in one’s life­time, but some­how we’ve man­aged it.

I guess be­ing a fam­ily of seven will do that to you. I had thought that pack­ing up a house wouldn’t be too over­whelm­ing. I glanced around and thought, “Yep, not too hard.” Then I started open­ing draw­ers and cup­boards, and years of rub­bish and mem­o­ra­bilia started spew­ing out. And here’s the prob­lem: It slows you down. You can’t just throw out old photos and cards – you have to stop and read each one. And then muse at old times or cringe at your bad fash­ion sense.

You can’t just chuck old clothes in a bag for char­ity ei­ther – you have to wash and dry them, fold them up nicely, bag them and then drop them off. No-one wants your old stained T-shirts.

When it comes to kids’ bed­rooms, you’ll find they’re not just repos­i­to­ries for junk as you as­sume, but a trea­sure trove full of pre­cious items they can’t bear to part with. How many old Happy Meal toys does a child need to keep? All of them, it seems. (Let’s not dwell for too long on this whole Happy Meal toy thing and how many times as a tired, de­ranged mother-of-five you may have gone into a McDon­ald’s driv­ethrough in a des­per­ate bid to feed them and just shut them up. That’s a whole other par­ent­ing col­umn.)

I tried to get the kids to pack their own rooms, but af­ter I’d in­spected their first at­tempt, I re­alised they just didn’t get it. Mov­ing clothes from one side of the floor to the other doesn’t scream “packed”. Like­wise, them strip­ping their beds and leav­ing all the sheets in a pile on the floor wasn’t re­ally help­ing things along. In des­per­a­tion, I pro­vided bags for each of them to break their rooms into two piles – keep or give away. But even then, some kids had over­flow­ing “give away” bags, while oth­ers had left ev­ery­thing in their “keep” bags.

How­ever, my hus­band is the sin­gle big­gest of­fender when it comes to shift­ing house. One, he pre­tends it’s not hap­pen­ing and, two, when you point out the truck is ac­tu­ally on its way and there are new peo­ple mov­ing in, he goes into a mad frenzy of throw­ing ev­ery­thing out. Or try­ing to. As he at­tempted to heave his en­tire life out the door, the kids and I were fran­ti­cally pulling out of the bin fam­ily photos, keep­sakes, ro­man­tic cards and “sculp­ture” they’d made him in kindy. He even tried to toss the TV re­mote.

“Throw­ing ev­ery­thing out isn’t pack­ing,” I tried to ex­plain to him.

The only sil­ver lin­ing of this hor­ror time of life is that hope­fully we won’t be do­ing it again any time soon.

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