Thursday, September 20, 2012

I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty, I've got whozits and whatzits galore

Moving can teach you a lot of things. Other than maybe a birth or death, it's one of the most stressful events imaginable. It can be a real test, not only of romantic and familial relationships but also (in my case)of the tensile strength of a frayed bungee cord strung around a Billy bookcase inside my dad's Hyundai. But so far, we've survived. Almost no disagreements, seamless blending of schedules, minimal amount of things broken in transit.

We moved in 2 weeks ago and slowly the place is looking less like an episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive" and more like the IKEA showroom it was born to be. Or at least the "after" of a milder episode of "Trading Spaces". It's The Boy's first place and my first time not either living alone or with someone who shares my last name so it's been an adjustment for sure. But we're a good team. He takes out the garbage, I do most of the cooking. He does the laundry, I fold it. He buys gummi worms instead of the tomatoes and pasta I sent him out for, I make gummi worm primavera. Win-win all around.

The one thing that has surprised us though.. is how damn much stuff we own. Like.. it's unreal, yo. I came from a 660 sq. ft. apartment and he came from a 120 sq. ft room. And yet together we have a staggering 5000 sq ft of stuff*.

I remember when I first moved into my place I did so with just two trips in a panel van. And one of those loads was just my family's stuff that they'd graciously given me- a sectional couch, beanbag chair, tables, curtains, chairs, etc. So, basically, one van's worth was all it took to take everything that belonged to me to my new apartment. I was the modern-day equivalent of a hobo with his bindle. Fast forward 2 years or so and for the two of us it took two loads in a 17-FOOT TRUCK and even then we weren't done with it all. It took a whole other DAY of moving things back and forth in the aforementioned Hyundai before we were even close. The only reason we finished moving when we did is because we literally had to hand the keys back to my landlord when the weekend was done. Otherwise I'd still be moving the occasional colander and Visa statement over by hand.

Our "basement" (read: crawlspace/dungeon/Miss Trunchbull's "chokey") was sort of a non-starter when we first looked at the place. I was the only one who could stand fully erect in it, it tended to get a little damp when it rained or the snow thawed, and it was completely unfinished, home to only our furnace and a few cans of paint (and two hula hoops but that's neither here nor there). "We'll put a few boxes in the basement," we reasoned, "if it turns out we need the space." Well, there are no fewer than 10 boxes down there now, as well as a microwave stand, three tables, 6 chairs, a dress rack with winter coats on it and a desk. I looked at a house tour on Apartment Therapy where the owners talked about their "Jesus Room", so nicknamed because it died for the sins of all the other rooms. This is absolutely true of the crawlspace and every time I shovel something else into its depths I shake my head and say a silent prayer for all it's done so the rest of the house may live in peace.

So, now we're down to the last ten boxes or so and this is where fun goes to die. I affectionately call them the "bullshit boxes" and they're full to the brim with nonsense. Inside jokes, loose buttons, foreign currency, post-it notes, fancy bookmarks, old receipts, nonsense, bullshit, nonsense. They are my second-least favourite things in the WORLD right now (after coriander) and I groan every time I look at them. I'm thisclose to just putting them down in the basement and waving the white flag but I feel like I'm SOCLOSE to being organized. I have a "thing" for tiny houses and even though mine, at 1000 sq ft, doesn't really count, I feel like they inspire me to do so much with what I have. This house was a do-over, a chance to fix the design laziness I experienced with my last apartment. And we can't really make it look the way we want it to without throwing out some stuff. As an emotional packrat, this terrifies me, but it's also empowering. How much can I live without? How much can I give away without it even affecting me? How much do I need to be happy? Probably much less than I think I do.

So we unpack and we divide, and we give away and we cull. And little by little, it's becoming a place owned by a nerdy couple with a penchant for fart jokes and not by dozens of boxes of nonsense, bullshit, nonsense.

*math done by Theatre grad. May not be accurate.

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