We are moving house. Almost four years after making a very rash decision to buy the house I have never fully settled in, it is sold and we are packing up. It sounds more final and exciting than it actually is. It would really be more accurate to say we have sold our house, and just leave it at that, because we haven’t found our next home yet. My
deluded patient and understanding parents are letting us lodge with them until we find our next home. Hopefully our next home will be The One and we will never have to assemble giant moving boxes or sort through crap in the loft or stand in the middle of a room wearing an expression somewhere between disbelief and dismay as we realise the enormity of the task, ever again.
I love moving, I like the feeling of freedom it brings and change is always good, but I really do despise packing, but the good thing about it is it offers an opportunity to really declutter. And I mean really declutter. Not just the sort-out I perform every few months when I take a pair of jeans and an ill-fitting t-shirt to the charity shop, I mean finally letting go of rental agreements from flats I lived in 8 years ago, coming to terms with the fact that while I love Karin Slaughter, the suspense just isn’t there on the second read, and it’s a little bit pointless allowing her novels to take up two bookshelves, and realising that saving every box that every item of anything ever bought is not only impractical and unnecessary and fills the loft, but that even when it comes to moving house things don’t need to be packed into their original boxes to be moved. Really, they don’t.
The last few days have been a revelation and good for the soul. Rediscovering memories boxed away for years, some to be hung onto, but more to be remembered, appreciated and let go. It feels good to just let go.
I long ago noticed a connection between my mental health and the physical state of my surroundings. Mess and clutter and disorganisation make me feel suffocated and chaotic. As a naturally untidy person, this connection was a long time in the making, and difficult to hold onto. Not only am I a natural mess-maker, but I also love stuff. Pretty stuff, practical stuff, creative stuff, just stuff. Minimalist I am not. And so there needs to be a balance of having plenty to look at and do but not so much of it that it sends me into a bad head space. Tricky.
Moving house is great for getting this balance though, especially when it comes to clearing the storing spaces – the loft, under the beds, the spare room – because if we’ve not missed it for the four years it’s been stored, chances are we don’t need it at all. Look at it, remember it, appreciate it, let it go. Or for a speedier process, don’t look at anything that’s been out of sight for more than 12 months and simply bin it.
Moving in with the folks and putting stuff into storage is another huge incentive to say goodbye to lots of unnecessary clutter. The question of whether to keep it just in case is quickly replaced with “Do we need this thing that much that we need to pay to keep it in storage?” Furniture items are mostly a yes, piles of unwatched DVDs, um, no.
Decluttering, improved mental health, catharsis, reminiscing of special moments, the endless possibilities of our new home, they all pale in comparison to the absolute, unquestionable, undisputed best thing about moving house (when you’re 3 and a half and 20 months anyway).
Sitting in packing boxes.