Packing. It really, really sucks. It sucks for weekend jaunts and it sucks for summer tours of Europe and it sucks before moving into college dorm rooms and it royally sucks after eight years in an apartment (yes, I realize I am the picture of privilege, bitching about packing to go off and do awesome shit). But truly, packing is an unpleasant experience, a necessary evil that comes before something that is (hopefully, but not always) infinitely more rewarding than the task itself.
I am in the midst of a packing extravaganza!
PACKING EXTRAVAGANZA! [To be read with a yodel in the throat.]
I already spent all of May packing my classroom and now I’m spending August packing my apartment. I know, I know: Boo hoo. Woe is me. Frowny face emoticon.
Here is one thing I have learned: 8 years + 3 people (and 1 feline) = a ton of shit.
Of course there are those that tout packing as the ultimate opportunity to “sort through your stuff” and make the hard but fundamentally rewarding decisions about letting things go. Some of these decisions are easy to make. Do I really need five season of USA’s Silk Stalkings on DVD? Probably not, but some poor fool on Craigslist certainly does. (And she did, bless her heart, I hope she enjoys them). The worth of other things are harder to determine. Well, we sometimes use the little 4-cup Cuisinart but not that often but when we’re making pesto it’s pretty awesome but the rest of the time it just kind of sits there gathering dust and… (monologue continues indefinitely or until another random kitchen utensil derails my train of thought). And some stuff you’re absolutely sure you want to keep. Oh hell yeah I need ALL the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies PLUS the original editions I bought when I couldn’t wait the extra six months for the extended editions to come out. Let’s not be silly here people.
It is definitely rewarding to designate a little corner of your house to the “give away” pile and watch it grow exponentially as you work. Sure you might never know if the Good Will actually wants the allergy cover for your feather down comforter but that shit was expensive damnit and if it didn’t reek of that horrible mold-smell that infects everything in this piece-of-$#!^ apartment I’d be making a killing off of it on eBay.
Speaking of eBay, that and Craiglists can be a mover’s best friend, along with the ever-popular Amazon Used section. I almost gave away four books from grad school before realizing they each were worth about $30 used online. Now I’m $100 richer and I have the satisfaction of knowing I helped others save a ton on their stupid grad school books. It’s also a wonderful reminder that I am no longer in grad school myself (–insert huge sigh of relief here–).
Yes, packing is a strange activity, one that involves close inspection into one’s self and the extensions thereof. Usually the first step of packing involves rounding up the things that rarely, if ever, get used and throwing them in boxes. Of course as you’re doing that you might be asking yourself why you’re taking them with you if you rarely, if ever, actually use them. Why are all these heavy books, heavier long boxes full of comics and countless DVDs necessary, especially in the age of Kindles and Netflix? If you can pack these trifles away right now and not miss them for months, should you really be keeping them? These are the hard questions indeed.
Of course later you get to that place where you realize you DO NEED most of the stuff that you still haven’t packed (minus the now towering mound of clothes and trinkets that you feel very self-righteous donating to Good Will) and somehow it is almost more distressing to realize that even stripped to the barest of essentials your “life” requires a decent-sized two bedroom apartment in which to reside. What has the stagnancy of middle age done to you?
Packing can really inspire you to revisit your past and ponder your future: Will we ever need these adorable baby clothes again? Please, please, pretty please, let the answer be yes! And why did I dye my hair that hideous white-blonde for two years in college? No matter the answer, the extensive photographic evidence of that mistake needs to mysteriously disappear, like, yesterday. And maybe, just maybe, if you can steal a moment amongst the chaos that is categorizing your life into countless brown boxes, you might just make sense of where you’ve been and figure out where you hoping you’re going.