Kate has a moving experience while packing up
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.