Over July 4th weekend, exactly 9 years after I landed in Los Angeles, we moved into our very own house. It was the eighteenth time I've moved in my "adult" life, counting every instance since leaving home for college. You'd think I'd be an expert by now.
But instead, I still found myself in the chaotic trappings of my typical move. I threw my belongings into reusable grocery bags while the Uhaul sat in the driveway because when the TV remote, one sock, and crystal light packets are all in one container, everybody wins. I took a sharpie and wrote "shoes" across an untied garbage bag obviously containing shoes, while sealed cardboard boxes of all sizes and weights went unmarked. I could argue that this tactic makes unpacking kind of like unwrapping Christmas gifts, if on Christmas you were to receive all of your same old shit, covered in dust and dog hair, and nestled in a mass of HDMI cables.
Hindsight being the useless blessing that it is, I think that I've finally learned my lesson. It's almost unfortunate that this move was meant to be permanent (at least, for the foreseeable future) because I believe I'd definitely get it right on the next one.
Oh! For example, here's a little gem I heard some better version of myself reciting in my head. TIP #1 "When you move, pack yourself a suitcase like you would for a short vacation. Fill it with essentials like your toothbrush, toiletries, changes of clothes and underwear. That way, even while you're drowning in clutter, you still have everything you need to be comfortable." This came to me as I wore the same filthy clothes for the third day in a row because I hadn't actually managed to transport my wardrobe from the old apartment...yet.
This brings me to my next grievance. On moving day, we enlisted the help of Ryan and Katie, and the 4 of us carried out the task like we were a team on a house-moving game show from the producers of Super Market Sweep. As we raced against the clock (what clock?), we filled the truck not once, but twice. The second truck-load was where things got really dicey. With the furniture out of the way, framed pictures, desk lamps, coasters --whatever we got our hands on-- were just tossed loosely into the truck. At some point, I couldn't stand it any more and announced that I would come back and get everything else out of the apartment at a later time. We still had a week left on our lease. Smart thinking, right?
No? What do you mean no? Ah, right. I probably would never want to go back there ever again and do a second mini move. God damn it, you're a genius. Where were you when I needed you?
Yes, so a week later, we were back in the old apartment gathering even MORE crap that we probably could've just left there for our landlord to toss in the dumpster. I guess this would bring me to TIP #2 for any of you who might be moving soon. "Don't leave anything behind to get later. Just don't."
To conclude on a positive note, there was one successful aspect of the experience: I took time off work to unpack and get settled. It was amazing to see how much I could get done when I'm home alone with Oscar in daycare. All of this time I thought it took months to settle in to a new place. It turns out it takes roughly three days. Never mind that much of this progress was undone by the second wave of moving the following weekend. Let's focus on the good stuff. TIP #3 "Take time off work."
And now that everything we own is under one roof, we can sit back, relax and enjoy our new home. (Haha, just kidding! There's so much more to do that I've actually given myself a stress-induced rash on my arms. Seriously I think I have home-repair hives.) Yes, it's all smooth sailing from here.