Adventures in Moving 2: Stress and Memories


I’m still in the process of moving across town from one apartment to another.  As predicted there have been a lot of boxes in my life the last three weeks and that doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon.  I have also received at least four cardboard cuts in the last four days.  I’ve been getting on average one a day since I started packing at the beginning of the month.  The first one was pretty epic too.  It was six stripes and actually bled, but is healing up nicely.

Moving is one of those things that brings out my biggest stress responses.  There’s usually some arguing, a lot of frustration, and the occasional bout of tears.  So far, this move has been relatively stress free.  It might have something to do with the amount of stress our current apartment is causing me…

The refrigerator is dying (and extremely loud in its death throws) but still cooling so they won’t replace it.  A water problem we’ve had in the past reared its head again and ruined two bookcases and a dresser via water creeping through walls and under carpets and soaking up the wood to deteriorate from within, all in a conveniently hard to see place so we didn’t catch it until the damage was already done.  That was two weekends ago.  This past weekend, we discovered that a nice metal trunk that belonged to my great-grandmother was rusted to the carpet by yet more water damage we didn’t see when it happened.  This is the fifth major loss due to water damage in this apartment.  And that’s just what’s gone wrong since the end of July.

All of that makes me actually excited to be moving.  This is a first.  I wasn’t even that excited about moving into my first college dorm room or my first solo apartment.  That excitement to get out of our currently crappy apartment and move into someplace nicer and better maintained (with better management) seems to be keeping the stress at bay.  Let’s hope it lasts another couple weeks and furniture moving day.

The lack of stress is also letting me look back at past moves and remember the fun or funny parts, and not dwell on the hard labor, stress induced arguments, or tearful exhaustion.

One memory about moving that always makes me smile is when we were moving out of the dorms after my sophomore year.  I’d send a few car loads home with my sister and had been slowly taking winter wardrobe and other unneeded items home for a couple months by that point since I knew my boyfriend (now my husband) would be moving out the same day and we had to fit both of us and all our stuff in one 1998 Honda Civic.

Civics have gotten bigger over the years, so try to keep that in mind as this story goes along.  This is a very small compact car I’m talking about.

I had all my stuff packed up and ready to go first thing in the morning (I have lots of moving experience so I knew to do most of it the night before).  My boyfriend was not done packing by noon.  Neither he nor his roommate believed I could get all our stuff in that car and still have room for me to sit in it.  But I got it done.  Yes, it was packed to the ceiling, and yes, the trunk was so full I had to sit on it to get it to latch, but I got all the stuff in the car and still had room for my feet on the floor in the front.

I’m still proud of my ability to get the entire contents of a guy’s dorm room plus three bags of my own stuff and all my pillows and bedding into one tiny compact sedan.

My other favorite moving memory is one I share with my mom.  It still makes us laugh every time one of us brings it up.  It was the summer after my freshman year of high school.  We’d been packing for weeks and the movers were coming the next day.  My sister had been a holy terror (sort of understandable with her going into her senior year of high school, but still) so she hadn’t been helping much and Dad was already across the state at the new house working his new job.

It was well after ten at night, and Mom and I were sitting in the living room full of boxes in a house full to the brim with boxes.  We were on our last task for the night, get the last piece of framed art in its four-piece box, properly padded, and taped up.

We’re kneeling on the carpet holding the box together and Mom asked where the tape is.

My answer?

“On the box.”

Mom cracks up.

I realize what I’ve said and start laughing too.  On the box.  What box?  There are dozens of boxes surrounding us.

It took us ten minutes to calm down enough to actually tape the box together and be done and ready for the movers to come in the morning.

That probably isn’t as funny to you as it was to us.  We were exhausted and probably a touch hysterical by that point.  But despite all that, it’s a great memory with my mom and to this day, one of us can say “on the box” or Mom can say “Heather, where’s the tape?” and we’ll both start giggling.

So while I know the next couple weeks are going to be stressful, and I might get upset or even cry, I’d like to think that years from now, I’ll look back and just think of the happy memories involved in the move.  If I can do that, then I must be doing something right.

Regardless of how positive I feel about this now, I know I can use all the help I can get while coping with the move.  I’d love to hear how you keep the stress levels down during times like these.  Do you have a special technique?  Or a really good story about a move gone well (or terribly wrong)?  I’d love to hear about it, so please let me know in the comments.

2016-08-20 13.17.16

Locke is “helping” too.


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