All I Did Was Blink

Being 39: Where I've been, Where I am, and Where I'm going…

The Seven Month Plan October 5, 2010

Boxes 1

Image by Skrewtape via Flickr

I feel a move coming on…

Since the age of twelve, I have lived a very transient lifestyle. Recently I calculated that I have moved 14 times in 24 years. That may not seem like a lot to some people, but I always envied the stories of families living in the same house on the same property for generations. “I was born in this house, married here, raised my children here, we have a family graveyard on the grounds…”

Most of the moves I have made as an adult have looked something like this:

  1. Time to move again
  2. OK, I have x months to get ready
  3. Plenty of time to slowly downsize my belongings so as not to move so many boxes and bins
  4. OK, I have a month before the move, time to pick up the pace since I have about 3 boxes actually packed in an organized fashion
  5. One week to go, better sort some stuff after the move, lets at least keep rooms separated so we don’t have trouble finding things later
  6. Tomorrow the truck will be here, start throwing things in boxes, doesn’t even matter if we sort, label, whatever…just get it done
  7. Aaahh, please save this room for last, I’ll keep packing while you guys load everything else up
  8. Good thing we planned to move three days before we need to hand over the keys…we will have to load up the car and make some final trips over the next couple of days and save the last day for cleaning
  9. that we are in our ‘new’ place…can we try to move everything still packed into one room so we can gradually go through the boxes and still have decent living space??
  10. Just shut the door when company comes over, I can’t even LOOK at that room…grrrr…I’ll NEVER be organized!!
  11. Time to move again
  12. OK, I have x months to get ready…

In many areas of my life I am a very detailed, organized, disciplined, rational, dependable person. When it comes to uprooting my living space it is a completely different story. I have the tendency to throw nothing away. Nothing. I have the ticket stub to every movie I have ever seen in a theater. I have the program for every graduation, the invitation to every wedding, the order of service for every funeral…let alone every book I have ever owned, every kitchen appliance that ever caught my eye, every holiday decoration, every photo…

Now, I have seen those television shows, like Hoarders, where people can not even walk in the front door of their 5 bedroom house without stepping over the mountains of hoarded junk (much still in the original packaging) and their lives are stuck. I recognize how easily I could be that person. If I had money, I may very well be facing an intervention of my own.

Let me be clear. I have a room in my apartment with no furniture in it. This is where my boxes live. The rest of our living space is ‘company ready’, as my mom would refer to it. Clean, organized, places to sit and interact. I go in ‘the room’ on occasion to find whatever it is I ‘think I still have’ to try to find it…mostly my husband gets this job. *sorry babe*

It IS out of control. It IS tiring, frustrating, debilitating. But this is the year of the change, right. Right.

So on to the Seven Month Plan. IF we move in the spring, I want to move lighter than I ever have. In the next seven months I want to eliminate the need for a ‘storage room’. A storage closet would not bother me in the least. I would like, however, to be able to use any extra room in our space for guests. Maybe there would be a place for something more permanent, we have talked about some day fostering or adopting…

Well then, I need a plan. Lets not spend most of the next seven months planning out the plan. Lets get it down ‘on paper’ right here, right now.

Each month I want to report back my ‘room cleanse’ progress. Each week I want to set a goal manageable with my schedule. Each day I want to DO something toward that goal. Is it going to good will? Put it in the car now. Is it getting sold? Is it recyclable?? Trash???

Sounds somewhat familiar to my starting list. The difference is the accountability I am trying to add by sharing it in my blog. Thanks in advance for cheering me on…tonight, box number 1!


18 Responses to “The Seven Month Plan”

  1. jen Says:

    Too bad I’m not still in GR. I am an expert packer! I bring new meaning to the term anal retentive when it comes to moving…just ask anyone who’s helped me move! I make color coded labels, have a master list, and when I know the layout of then new place, have a color coded floor plan with furniture laid out. And…I’m in the middle of packing for a move myself.

    A few pointers.
    1. Focus on one area at a time. If you have a weekend, tackle a bigger area, like a room. Otherwise, when you’re just getting started, focus on a part of room, like a closet or a drawer at a time.

    2. When you focus on that area, take each item out, one at a time, and ask yourself: do I need this or not? If yes, pack it. If no, decide whether you can sell it, donate it, give it away, recycle it or toss it. I tend to have a staging area with bags so I can easily put things into piles for selling on Craigslist, giving away on Freecycle and donating to Salvation Army.

    3. When you do your regular cleaning, use that time to declutter. It can be really overwhelming, so do it in 15 minute increments…when dinner is in the over, during commercials, etc.

    4. Keep a pad of paper in a convenient place. Use it to make lists of things you want to give away (and who you want to give it to), things you might need to return because they are borrowed, repairs you might need to make, and a master list of all the boxes you’ve packed. I number each one, and put a color coded sticker indicating which room it goes in, and then on the master list, I note specific items that are in that box.

    5. One last thing, when unpacking, I always make sure that boxes are brought to the room they need to go in. It’s great to have help moving boxes from the old place to the new, but if you end up having to handle every box several times again when you’re on you’re own, unpacking will take forever because it’s too overwhelming. For each room, pack a “basics” box as wall as a “pack last, open first” box. Make sure you can get to those first and foremost because they’ll have all the essentials you need to feel at home and will make the rest of the unpacking easier.

    • Jen, LOVE this list (some of it made me smile as I am equally detailed in other areas of my life). I have implemented a few of these ideas in each of my moves only to then ‘procrastinate’ and ‘run out of time’ to stay with it. Hopefully I will do better now that I have the support of onlookers…thanks for the encouraging and do-able tips!

    • Danny Says:

      Kim love the post. As your brother I can attest to all you have said. šŸ™‚ But one question? or rather a comment. Once you get those boxes in your car, you need to take them back out. Just a tip…
      Andrea you are never crumpy. šŸ™‚

  2. Andrea Says:

    Well, ok, it’s 10:30pm…what’s the status of box #1? Proud of you, my friend. And Jen, TOTALLY using these tips as I need to declutter my life as well. Thanks!

  3. slamdunk Says:

    Funny post–moving is brutal. I hope yours goes smoothly.

    • Thanks *theslamdunktrove*. As much as I move and as much as I enjoy the newness of the destination, I do not look forward to the process! I’ve visited your blog numerous times…really enjoy the over all look. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. lizzipoes Says:

    Well I hope u can stick to your list! I wish I was as organised as you are to be fairly honest. I’m totally the opposite of you haha; i leave things till the very last day and everything is more like a mess šŸ˜› If I move i’ll prob end up throwing everything in as much boxes I can find..

    So, did u start box no 1?

    • *lizzipoes*, I hope that I can stick to my list as well…my organization seems to fly out the window when I allow myself to get sidetracked, distracted or just plane lazy about sticking to it!! Did you see the list Jen posted in the comments??!! That will be a huge help:)

      BTW, just visited your blog…sending you well wishes for your schooling decisions. And I really enjoyed your poem: When I Was Young!! Keep on writing!

  5. Renee-Ann Says:

    I am so much the same in the fact that i too love to keep things. We just moved, and i finally parted with some thing, but there are some that just gold that sentimental value, it can’t be parted with.

    Some of the things you mentioned such as the movie tickets and wedding/funeral stuff, i would put that in a scrapbook to keep as “memories”. And if you lived any closer, i’d say let’s get together for scrapbooking!

    Love your post! WIll subscribe so i can keep up with your progress. Just remember that in Him, everything is possible.



    • Renee-Ann, thanks for reading;) Yes, I love to scrapbook…so much so that I have a business I am working to build around it. I am behind on everything these days *not funny* including scrap-booking, checking post messages, posting…ahh! Get on top of it already! I’ll get there. These next few months will be a good time for me to work hard on catching up! I’ve enjoyed checking in on your blog and DO believe all things are possible when I am seeking His will. Take care..

  6. If you really want to do this and be totally cleansed of ‘the room’ I will tell you what I have told other ‘could possibly be hoarders’ in my life.

    Unless it is a family heirloom (this does not include movie ticket stubs, your grandma’s collection of soap shavings, pillows with funny sayings on them), a holiday or seasonal item, or an item that is truly gaining significant financial value with age, then get rid of it if you haven’t used it in the last six months.

    That includes the stuff that never came out of the boxes from the last move. If you haven’t used it in that long, then chances are you can probably survive comfortably without it. If it is something you feel you can sell then put it on craigslist or ebay within 24 hours of finding it. If its not sold in 72 hours then put it in the goodwill box or the trashcan.

    Grab a box every two days from ‘the room’ and sort it while you watch tv or listen to music at night. Don’t try to do more than one box at a time or you’ll freak. When you’re done everything should be put in its place, sold, given away or in the garbage. Make a ‘keepsake’ box for each of you (I like the big, cheap totes that seal so you can keep water and moths and things out). Once the tote is full thats it for keepsakes, so choose wisely. Make sure you take your goodwill boxes or bags to goodwill every week or you will end up with a new ‘goodwill room’.

    I promise when that room is clear and you have gotten rid of a ton of stuff, you will feel like a new woman. I go through closets and drawers a couple of times a year and clear things out! It feels wonderful!

    Remember your treasures aren’t stored here anyway. Good Luck!!

  7. […] If I were to tell you that I have emptied as many boxes as there have been days since my ‘box #1′ post, you would all be jumping for joy and congratulating me profusely!! […]

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