Cleaning out the Closets

One of the major problems with moving is how much stuff there actually is to take care of. I tend to be a person who does best with visual information, so it’s very easy for me to misjudge the amount of work to be done if I can’t see it all. Conversely, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with how much there is when I can see it. Yay, double-edged sword!

During last year’s move, I found a piece of advice that turned out to be really valuable, though harder to implement then than it seems to be now. I don’t remember where it came from (I was looking at a lot of resources about moving at that time), but the gist of it was this: start the packing process in the places that you can’t see. Pack the drawers and closets first, because they’re the places where work hides. It’s easy to see how many books you need to pack, but harder to know what your kitchen tool situation is like.

I had forgotten about this advice until this past weekend, and even then, it’s kind of a tall order. We have a lot of closets! And, frankly, a lot of things that needed cleaning more urgently. I finally did get to pulling things out of the closets, though, and I have to say, it feels pretty good. The living room is once again a hamster nest* of clothes and baby toys, but it’s starting to feel manageable. I know where all that mess came from, and it’s all in orbit around the sorting chair**, so it seems to have a direction.

The actual floor of my bedroom closet.
The actual floor of my bedroom closet.

As we’re making this transition from one home to another, I’m finding it really useful to conceptualize ourselves as guests here. We’re about to spend a year paying visits, and being guests in reality. Even though this has been our home for a year, it does not belong to us. Our landlord is bringing in prospective renters, people are coming through looking at the things we’re parting with, and before long, we’ll be gone from here, presumably forever. I’m taking down the art. We don’t live here anymore. Just like leaving a hotel room, I’ve started looking for our belongings in the drawers and closets, and getting them packed away. It’s bittersweet. I love the feeling of lightness that comes with traveling, and there’s something comforting to me about leaving a hotel room (or a guest room). I’m trying to focus my energy on that feeling as I’m slogging through the onerous task of examining and letting go of my own belongings.

Gratuitous baby face!

smiling baby

* Hamster nest in clutter only: does not smell like pee, or contain (very much) shredded paper.
** No relation to the sorting hat, sadly. Just a place I pile the thing’s I’m actively sorting.