Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The joys of packing to move
I'm having a great time (NOT!) as we start to pack our belongings for the trek south to Texas. Most of what we use from day to day will remain unboxed until a week or so before we leave; but when we came up to Tennessee from Louisiana in 2010, I brought a large quantity of what my wife derisively (and justifiably) calls "Stuff!". It's been sitting in boxes ever since then, because we didn't have room to unpack it. Rather than cart it all to another state yet again, I'm sorting through it all with her help, discarding everything we don't need and setting aside what will be useful in our new home.
It's been quite the eye-opener for me. For example, how, precisely, did I end up with no less than four complete sets of screwdrivers, plus a few spares here and there? I honestly didn't recall having them all. I guess I must have bought sets on sale here and there, thinking that the price was good, without stopping to think whether or not I needed them. Oh, well . . . The best two sets have been retained, one in a big tool chest that'll live at a workbench in the garage, the other in a more portable toolbox that'll travel around the house as needed. The rest have been donated to friends, apart from a few that were too ratty to bother with. They've joined the rest of the garbage.
Books, of course, proved an emotional trial. I'd built up a good library over the years, but all in paper books that weighed a lot and took up a great deal of space. I've donated or tossed something like three-quarters of them, which was a very painful process, because I'm a bookworm and probably too attached to the printed word. I must admit, though, now that it's been done, it's pretty liberating. I'm down to five bookcases full of books, and I daresay if I really tried I could reduce that even further. On the other hand, my Kindle library is now up to several hundred books as I replace older dead-tree editions with modern e-book versions. I guess I'll have to start cataloging that now, and figure out ways to keep track of it, otherwise I'll end up buying multiple copies again (just as I did with print books . . . I had a number of duplicates there, and no less than four copies of one book! I can only plead the excuse that it's a good one.)
What's surprised me most is the stuff I thought was worth keeping, but in the light of five years of not using it, has proved to be entirely unnecessary. There's been a surprising amount of it. One of my rules of thumb about the process has been that if I haven't used or needed something in six months to a year, it can usually be tossed. There's been a lot of it. Some of it doesn't fall into that category: for example, emergency preparations and their supplies are there for a reason, and don't need to be used to have a real value to us. Nevertheless, even there, economies can be made. Machetes are great in a survival situation . . . but why do I need six of them? (I know, I know - some readers are already saying, "Trade goods!" I agree, but my wife simply snorts, "Stuff!" She has a point, you know.)
I'm also surprised at the way boxes of ammunition, and the occasional loose round or speedloader full of ammo, have crept into all sorts of non-shooting-related boxes. My old office papers have yielded several hundred rounds so far . . . not exactly stationery, but good for punching holes in documentation, I guess! I've found cartridges for which I no longer own a firearm, so some of my friends are going to be in for a windfall. Anyone need sixty-two rounds of non-corrosive, modern production 7.92x57mm. Mauser ball?
The upshot of all the sorting and tossing is that we've been able to move our remaining "stuff!" to a much smaller storage unit, less than a quarter the size of the one we had before. Everything in the new unit will be packed into the moving truck "as is", and unpacked at the other end. It'll be much simpler and easier that way.
I do recommend the sorting and discarding process as a very worthwhile exercise, even if you aren't planning to move. You might be amazed at how much you don't need!