My adventures and mis-adventures as I travel here and there

Getting Down with Downsizing

So when my boyfriend and I first decided that I would be moving to Michigan to be closer to him, I warned him that I would need some kind of large U-haul to transport my vast treasure hoard of belongings. “I know it doesn’t look like it, but I have a LOT of stuff!” When you stay in the same place for three and half years you will not believe the amount of STUFF that accumulates in dark corners and endless closets. I really thought I’d gotten my point across until somehow he convinced a reluctant me that it would be more cost effective and still feasible with regard to space if we bought a large van and drove it from Washington to Michigan, where we would then sell it again. Voila! No money lost! I realized that I wouldn’t be able to move much if any furniture using this method, but I agreed that it was a good idea. I felt a little bit claustrophobic at the thought of forcing my precious belongings into a reduced space, but I dealt with it.

Fast forward to today… and I am now planning to move across 3 time zones in a car. That’s right, a car! What can you move in a car??? I really can see the benefits here: less gas spent, the opportunity to simplify my life, and the ability to drive something besides a van around once I reach my new home. Still, though, I must self-soothe regularly to keep from freaking out and reverting to daydreams of a huge U-haul trundling across the desert with my possessions virtually rattling around in it. A car is a vastly different thing. I am only mollified by the suitcases-full that we have already managed to transport ahead of time during our visits back and forth to one another. This weekend, in fact, I am stuffing another two suitcases full of things I will (hopefully) not need again before moving day and putting them and me on a plane to The Motor City. What do I put in those suitcases?! I panic slightly at the thought that after this trip, everything I still own will need to be stuffed into a mid-sized car. Either that or it will have to meet the fate that many of my belongings have already met in a big pile with a sign on top proclaiming “FREE”. I swear that fully half of my wardrobe has made it out to the curb. I gave up one of my comforters, several roles of hoarded wrapping paper, and eleven pairs of shoes. Ok, ok, these doesn’t sound like painful sacrifices, not yet, but I cringe when I imagine what I could be forced to discard as moving day looms (my favorite teddy bear, my hottest pair of shoes, photo albums…). I’m terrible at space estimation, so as I look around my room I have NO idea what’s going to fit and what isn’t. Oh, did I mention I have a cat and a bird??? The birdcage alone will take up a few square feet of space and litter boxes aren’t tiny.

Most of all, I want to pack up RIGHT AWAY, am ready to move, ready to start my new adventure, ready to know for sure if my special dessert plates are going to make the cut or not, but I have unfinished business in this town before I can move on. Therefore, against all internal persuasions I put down the suitcases for the time being and turn my attention the never ending thesis…

I know, however, that tonight while I try to get to sleep my mind will be racing, doing a mental sweep around the apartment. What can I get rid of and not miss? Will THAT fit in a car?! Will anyone think I’m crazy for taking THIS and not that thing over there?

January 12, 2010 - Posted by | Travel, United States | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Okay, as someone who just made the opposite move (midwest to the west coast), I feel your pain.
    How do you decide what is important enough to take? I finally went with the whole “If I haven’t touched it in 6 months forget it”, method of thinking.
    I got a two bedroom house down to 14 boxes. It was surprisingly freeing! Good luck!

    Comment by leavethetablefull | January 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Wow, 14 boxes is amazing- good for you!! I began to pack the suitcases for this weekend and realized that the actual act of putting an item into a suitcase provides quite a bit of clarity regarding the “is it worth it?” question. I guess one is less likely to actually put junk and froth in a piece of luggage that has to weigh under 50 pounds! ๐Ÿ˜›

      Comment by travelnole | January 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. LOL is my name really “The Sister”?? It was automatically filled in for me. Haha. Anyways, I love this blog, I felt the same on a much much smaller scale, having to move out of my apartment, put everything in storage, and then decide what to bring with me in 1 1/2 suitcases to Italy for 3 months. I wish you’d still be around when I come back through to Cali…I’d be happy to accumulate more stuff. ๐Ÿ˜€ But I really don’t need to, and I think you’ll already be gone.

    Comment by The Sister | January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Whaaaaat??? lol I don’t know why it put you in as “The Sister”. WordPress is obviously smarter than I gave it credit for. Oh, you probably commented before as such and it just remembered you as that! Yeah, I’d love to give you first choice of all my cast-offs, but unfortunately they are mostly going to perfect strangers. Yes, I’m sure I’ll be gone before you return, but you are aaaaaalways welcome to visit ๐Ÿ˜€

      Comment by travelnole | January 13, 2010 | Reply

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