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I stare at what’s left in our apartment and blink. I’m promising myself that we’ll never accumulate this much stuff, ever again. Not until we actually put down roots and stay in one place. (That may be New England, but – long-term – it may be England or Ireland.)
This has been a very long month of packing to move north – over 1k miles – preparing to use our car to shuttle most of what we own.
- If I’d known that moving companies’ rates were soaring due to a shortage of truck drivers, the decluttering might have begun sooner. (Even if we were only moving six bankers’ boxes – the standard boxes with built-in handles, sold at Staples – discounted moving costs were estimated at $1088. Six medium moving boxes would cost nearly double that. Really, we can ship them via UPS for far less. But this also means we won’t be moving any furniture. The cost would be ridiculous.)
- Also, had I known that giving things away* – and packing – would take so much time, I’d have started sooner.
Of course, some things can’t be packed until the last minute, but still… This didn’t have to be such an exhausting task.
But, lest this sound like a whine-and-complain post, I think we needed this experience.
It was a major “ah-HA!” realization about:
- how much we collect,
- how disorganized it’s been, and
- how little we really need to live comfortably.
In the future, we’ll make more mindful choices.
So now, here’s the update:
First, moving things out
Last week, a lot of furniture went out the door. We gave it to a family that can use it.
- The sofa bed is gone.
- Ditto my beloved exercise bike.
- Some folding tables, suited to crafts fairs, are gone, as well. And our queen-sized bed. And bookcases.
- And so on.
As the sun came up this morning, our living room looked like this. Everything but the window blinds, the triptych, and the salt lamp will go to a new home: Our remaining guest room bed frames, mattresses, and the entertainment center. (We’ll be sitting on the floor when we want to watch TV… also on the floor.)
But also some shopping
Of course, we’ve also been shopping. Our Florida wardrobe isn’t warm enough for February in New England.
Recent shopping trips revealed some stunning effects of supply-chain issues.
The biggest shock was Nordstrom Rack.
In the past, we’d go there for designer and top-quality, durable clothing at very nice prices. Linen shirts for my husband. High-grade cotton blouses for me. And so on. The kind of clothing we’ll wear for years and years. (Because: sustainable choices matter.)
Last weekend was a rude awakening. The merchandise at the local (Millennia) Nordstrom Rack was like a low-end version of Marshall’s. We saw almost no items that we’d consider owning. (My husband did buy a pair of nice, real Ralph Lauren pajama bottoms/loungewear. Other than that… nothing tempted us. Not even a little.)
The contrast in the store’s shopping bags said it all. On the right is a typical Nordstrom Rack bag from about a year ago. It’s heavy plastic, and somewhat discreet. We’d saved it because it’s been handy to use as a tote.
On the left is the thin plastic bag from last weekend. It screams the brand name. The quality of the plastic…? No. We should have said, “Thanks, but we don’t need a bag.”
Weirdly, we found ethical, better quality merchandise (and prices) at TJ Maxx. And we’ll be visiting our favorite second-hand shops once we get to New England.
So, we’re still on track to make our first trek north this weekend, though – as I’m writing this – Mother Nature may have other ideas. Weather predictions warn of 10″ – 20″ of snow, just as we’d be arriving in New England.
*We offered our furniture (and everything useful that we’re not moving) on a regional, “free stuff” page at Facebook. Despite setting appointments for pickup, fewer than half the people actually showed up. So, everything left as we approach moving day – it’ll go to Goodwill.
Photo of moving boxes by Artem Podrez from Pexels