Life as a box

A gentleman came out from a moving company yesterday to go through our rooms and cupboards and give us a quote on moving and storage for all of our stuff. He was very friendly and made me feel quite confident in having all our precious bits and pieces stored away with his company. In a bit of misdirected PR he gave Amelia a colouring book which she immediately started to chew, but he meant well. He wandered around and kept saying “whew, you’ll need a few book boxes” and “more pictures? wow…”. While traipsing along behind him I realised that we really do have a lot of junk. There are boxes and boxes of computer cables which no longer have any use, piles of paper which I am sure will be absolutely essential for some project some day and bags of fabric which I continue to buy convinced that each scrap will make the perfect bag / cushion / part of a quilt etc. So in light of this realisation I have started going through my stuff and throwing things away… the front hall is full of bags for the op-shop and I have a large “sell it on ebay” box growing by my desk.
Putting our stuff in storage is certainly an event. I never thought I would be one of those people who said “oh, yeah I have one of those, but it’s in storage”… it seems so glamorous – like we could drop everything and jet off overseas at any moment or house sit for an eccentric cultural studies professor in her inner-city mansion, or.. or… stay with my parents and be ongoingly frustrated that “it’s in storage”. What to keep out is a puzzle. Obviously the computer and associated accoutrements will have to come with me, and all our winter clothes and some summer ones just incase we have a heatwave, and some favourite cds and dvds and there’s the filing cabinet full of essential documents and client details. But what of those other items which are just as important for living but not necessarily in high rotation? Like for instance my copy of Delia Smith’s How to Cook Vol. 1 — because she really knows how to poach and egg and sometimes you just need to poach an egg. And come to think of it what if I suddenly get the urge to cook a Jamie Oliver risotto or a Donna Hay stack of pancakes (not likely) or even a Charmaine Solomon curry? Should I take all my cookbooks? Should I take all my art books incase I suddenly realise that I need to look up some artist for that perfect bit of colour inspiration. And speaking of colour should I take my pantone book? My stack of origami papers? My box of paper samples? How about my fiskars paper cutter? Should I take all my art clutter?

Forgetting that we are actually looking for somewhere to rent, I keep getting distracted by “for sale” brochures in real estate offices. How cute are these old milk-bar ice-cream lamps used as outdoor lighting?

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17 Responses

  1. says:

    I moved five times last year and finally had the good sense to put stuff in storage in a very central and convenient place. I loved it, felt like a weight of material possessions had been lifted from my shoulders! You’ll be surprised how freeing it feels. In fact, if I had my way, I’d live only with a stick with a bandanna tied on the end and my toothbrush. When did life get so cluttered and complicated???

  2. says:

    It’s good to know that someone else who is already successful (own business, wife, and mother) also has so much artsy stuff stored up! I was feeling like I was strange for collecting so much origami paper, fabrics and white paper of every shape and size!

  3. that place is so cute and cosy, and i love their retro dining table. and it’s blackburn! i’ve been looking around in that area, darn i missed it.

  4. says:

    Definitely take the pantone book!

  5. i had to chuckle at the keep out vs. to storage boxes, as i’m going through the very same thing at the moment. the only difference is that i have a definite move-in date. good luck!

  6. Just moved from the UK to Germany and had to put EVERYTHING in storage while I hunted for a new flat in a language I don’t understand. Found a new place within a week or so, but it took another three weeks to get my stuff out of storage and shipped over here. Believe it or not, you can live without books or a PC or a TV or chairs or a stereo or anything. All you need are clothes and an inflatable mattress. Really makes you appreciate the finer things in life. The iron? In storage! My toothbrush? In storage! (a built-in electric toothbrush would have come in mighty useful) A fork? A plate? Shoes? You guessed it, all were in storage.

  7. o.. the ice cream house is awfully cute. Just so you know, I’m doing my very best to conjure up a glitteringly good fairy who will magically drop from the heavens and deposit just enough money to buy that little ice cream house in your bank account (with maybe enough leftover to buy some more tasty swatches on e-bay). I’m conjuring HARD, Claire. Because I do selfless things like that whilst secretly hoping my selfless conjuring will somehow net me the cash to buy the house of my dreams.

  8. Thus rendering myself, you know, not so very selfless. O well.

  9. says:

    Ooh Claire – I know your predicament o-so-well. When moving over here (West-wards, that is) I could only take what I could fit in my very very tiny incy Toyota Echo. I left box loads of stuff at my parents place, and luckily my brother took over my flat, so I could leave all my furniture in his care (please let him be taking care of it!) but I’ll tell you what…there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think “Oh, I wish I’d brought X, or I wish I’d thought of Y”. I’ve had a few things sent over, but the worst bit is…I didn’t mark my boxes particularly well, so outside of asking my parents to go through every single box, most things are lost until my return. Woe, woe is me!

  10. As someone who has moved 4 times in 5 years (and not just suburb to suburb, moved areas and sometimes states), be ruthless. Until you’re in your “own home” only keep what you feel is necessary. Moving is the pits. The less you have to move and pack and unpack the better. I even have certain boxes that never get opened. They’re just there incase.

  11. says:

    I’m having the same problem as Eliza, everything is in a box and you don’t know what is in which. We moved two and a half years ago and there are still things I’m wishing I had that are in a box in storage…A tip I’m planning to use the next time we move: Mark each box with a number, then keep a list of the numbered boxes and everything in them (even note books by title, etc…). This will save you from having to dig through boxes to find the one item you need before ready to unpack the whole box.
    I wish I had done this for my book collection at the very least. (long sigh…)

  12. Hang in there looking for a place. I’m busy packing for our new 2 bedroom 3storey townhouse with 3 balconies and waterviews in the innerwest of Sydney. All for $360. New carpets, kitchen and bathroom. One balcony is the size of our current bedroom plus. Major party house. Knew there had to be something available. Now I’m flat out working to toss collected mags and reference material that is accumulated as you say just in case you need it for a commission. But do removalists really take care moving boxes labelled ‘comics’ ? I gotta keep my eye on these guys!
    good luck with your move. hope it goes well. I’ll see your stuff and raise you some on ebay.

  13. says:

    The box-number-list-keeping method is the only way to go. My family has moved across the entire united states too many times to count, and that was the only way we were able to handle stuff. I’m having to pack up my stuff and decide what will go to college with me in August (hardly anything, unfortunately) and what will end up at my mom’s farm…and from there, what will be in my teeny room at the farm (a wide spot in the hallway, really) and what will end up in boxes out in one of the barn/building things. Ergghh.. I tell you though, two boxes of stuff to be sold or donated makes me feel so good. I feel the sudden urge to go zen-like and dump all my personal posessions, and do what Renee suggested. A stick with a hankie. Heck, you don’t even really need a toothbrush if you keep some good gum around.

  14. We’re moving our stuff out of storage this saturday after 9 months packed away… We moved in with my wifes parents whilst we saved for a house – its been great to finally buy our own house, but the novelty of being on our own again is going to be just as exciting! Good luck with your move.

  15. Ayayayay,moving sucks. No better word for it, but actually the sorting part of it can be pretty liberating…like shedding skin. I packed in categories, long term storage boxes, medium term storage boxes and take with boxes. May be a bit late for such advice…but tis’ extremely useful.

  16. …although judging from you illustration (oops just saw it) you don’t need that advice.

  17. I’m afraid I find those ice cream cone lamps rather tacky… Take the pantone book. I never use my design books, but I always pack ’em around if I move, just in case it seems. Ack.