Moving house is stressful but not far behind that is the work of having your home painted.
The real work for me was packing up each room, then unpacking so the next room could be addressed. The bedroom moved into the living room, the kitchen into the dining area, the dining area into the living room. Entryway decorations lived in my car. It gave me time to think:
- Why do I still own things from my days as Mrs. Suburban Wife and Mother? Seasonal decor, beachy stuff that once decorated a little house on Long Island’s south shore. A treasured wooden autumn “welcome” wreath that once graced the front door went to my daughter, who had already written her name on it when I lent it to her classroom years ago. Some cute items that look plain silly in an urban-ish apartment will be donated. Most will survive the “edit.”
- It’s hard to dispose of things that have a backstory. If the walls could talk they would defer to the gifts I’ve received, splurges and thrift shopping finds that made their homes with me.
- I try not to buy anything that I don’t love. If it’s not a necessity and I’m on the fence about it. I simply don’t buy it. That means that I have things I really like.
- The growing collection of promotional tote bags came in handy for wrapping breakables before packing.
- Blankets cradled treasured glassware.
- An old, worn mattress cover became a fantastic drop cloth, with the added benefit of cushioning whatever it protected. And, the corners tucked under so they didn’t create a tripping hazard.
- Clean unmatched socks who have lost their mates forever protected small breakables. And the best part: I can now, in good conscience, throw these makeshift packing helpers away. They have more than served their purposes.
- I used the same seven plastic storage bins for everything: pack, paint, unload, pack, repeat. Tedious, yes, but I didn’t have to worry about where to store everything because, at any given time, not everything needed to be packed up and covered.
- Finally, I put it all away in a more sensible order. Like with like. Shocked that I have that many candles, pictures and corkscrews.
The landlords wanted my input on colors and I reassured them, I loved the original color that reminded me of wet sand. Yes, wet sand. Most of the coastal artifacts remain: the ceramic conch shell, the lighthouses. In my imagination there will always be a little sand in the carpet, but this time with shiny fresh walls and a sense of order.