Five reasons to pack up your stuff and move

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~ William Morris

I’m kidding about the five reasons in the headline. There aren’t that many. There’s one: because you have to.

The specifics and the path that lead you to putting your entire life inside cardboard boxes and the back of a truck will vary, but in the end, there can only be that one valid and irreversible reason.

It must be done.

Moving is chaotic and messy. Things get misplaced. I don’t mean socks. Well, yes, socks, but that’s not the real issue. Your sense of place gets misplaced.

You might find yourself waking up—often and for long stretches of time—in this new dark and start to envision the old familiar path through the door, down the hallway, mentally stepping around the creaks in the floorboards. But the creaks and hallways are all different now. Instead there are walls, new sounds and unfamiliar textures on the way out of or into every room.

Being outside of the house (and completely conscious) doesn’t necessarily help. You might find yourself returning to work after lunch and cruising right past the parking lot toward your former place. (Which makes even less sense when you’ve just been to lunch.)

All that said, it stands to reason that once you begin to unpack, if the one box you need is nowhere to be found, the blame can’t be placed on you. Because it’s not you that’s responsible, it’s moving.

Organization exists but there’s no effective way to organize. Planning might give the illusion of control, but removing nearly twenty years of life from a physical space doesn’t lend itself to “planning.”

Since there couldn’t possibly be five reasons to move, I’ll instead list five ways to move, in the event it happens to you.

One: Expect to melt down. It will happen in its own time. It might stem from breaking a glass; it might stem from finding a spot to store dental floss. Don’t fight it.

Two: Accept help you don’t think you need. No matter what you hear about people, they’re selfless, devoted and smart. I struggle with asking but because humans are typically wonderful, they showed up anyway.

Three: Remember that sleep in short bursts is still sleep. Being in a new place is reminiscent of having an infant in the house. You hear every noise, you wake up too often, you think about worse-case scenarios, you worry, wonder and pray. And it all happens at 2 a.m. If sleep comes at 5:23 pm, so be it.

Four: Make one spot yours. Immediately. Clean it, organize it, reorganize it, obsess over it. I read it in a book once: “Pick one room and make it yours. Go slowly through the house. Be polite, introduce yourself so it can introduce itself to you.” I hung onto that quote until I needed it. And did I ever need it.

Five: If you do misplace something like, say, socks, open up a box labeled “kitchen.” Because you never know. Things get misplaced.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing. She can be reached at

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