Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thoughts Upon Moving

I'm about to move to a new home. Which means gathering belongings, dusting them off, throwing or giving away all the clutter, cleaning the shower tiles and everything else, and generally making my current place vastly nicer for the next tenants than it ever was for me. There's a whiff of insanity there, no?

When my mother moved out of our family home, we threw out all the boxes she'd long stored in the basement (intending to eventually go through and organize it all). It dawned on us that none of it was actually so important or valuable. The storage of that stuff had been utterly pointless all along, but we realized it too late to free up space in the basement we could have used all those years. How foolish of us...

We also fixed dozens of small problems in the house that had bugged us for decades. We did not get to enjoy the benefits of any of these improvements. Again: insane!

I have a friend who drove around in an ugly bomb of a car for years. Having decided to sell the thing, he invested in a paint job. The car looked great, but he never drove the great-looking car. That pleasure was passed exclusively to the new owners. Crazy!

Why are we so generous to the people who come after?

Speaking of "after", let's consider the afterest "after" of all. Imagine your heirs saddled with the task of disposing of your belongings. Of course, 95% will be trashed. We store our possessions for "Someday", but the likeliest "Someday" scenario is a profusion of black plastic bags being carried out to a curb. As with the repairs, the painting, and the organizing, why not cut straight to the end game? Presumably we like our heirs better than future tenants or car owners. So why do we pass on burden to folks we like, and pass on pleasure to strangers?

As I begin the moving process, I urge you, courtesy of the temporary clarity arising out of all the stress and hysteria, to consider pretending you're about to move (and/or croak)...right now. Fix all the little problems that you'll finally have to fix anyway, so you can actually benefit from the result! Paint what needs painting, so you can actually enjoy the fresh look! Throw or give away every item you haven't touched in the past 12 months (i.e. 75% of your stuff) so you can lighten your burden, free up storage space, and have mercy on your next of kin!

1 comment:

blatherfrombrooklyn said...

I know I should do this, but it is so difficult to schedule time to sort through stuff (and actually do it!) unless it is absolutely necessary. Perhaps you will inspire me.

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