A runner-up to divorce and loss of a loved one, moving is one of life’s most stressful events. Whether you are relocating down the street or across the world, moving comes with its share of emotional turmoil. Signing a new lease is all rainbows and butterflies until the reality of your situation hits you like a seagull to the face while eating a sandwich on the beach. Moving requires you to face that dirty four-letter verb. You must pack. And here is where the 5 Stages of Moving begin.
1. Denial and Isolation
30 days seems like eternity in the lifecycle of moving apartments. The first few weeks are spent cheerfully sharing the news of your new digs and scanning the IKEA catalogue for shelvery. At T minus 7 days your mother calls to ask you how the packing is going. It’s going well, you tell her, because you’ve bought boxes. On the surface, your apartment looks organized. How long could it take you to pack all this up? ‘Two, three days tops’, you tell yourself as you head out the door to the bar, throwing another potential day of packing to the wind.
This stage sets in once you physically begin the act of packing. Out of all of the rooms in your house, your kitchen will be the source of most of your rage. Why so many Tupperwares without lids? Where does one buy enough newspaper to wrap ALL THE glasses? And since when do you own a food processor? The cable box laughs at you from the living room all-knowingly, and you shudder thinking of the hours you’ll wait in line at the Comcast store to return it. You will throw your iPhone into the bedroom wall after turning down the third text invitation to a social event, and you will probably break it, because that’s the sort of thing that happens when you’ve hit rock bottom.
You begin to make small bargains with yourself to soften the blow. If I fold this drawer of underwear, I run out and get a coffee. If I pack this box of dishes, I get thirty minutes with Netflix. Thirty minutes turns into 6 episodes of Walking Dead and your apartment still hasn’t packed itself. You Google “cheap packing services”, which aren’t really that cheap. You eye your credit card bill and wonder if you can live on canned chick peas and rice for a few weeks to cover the cost.
You lay facedown on what used to be your bed but is now a resting ground for the lower depths of your closet. You spent the day cleaning out your desk and found a birthday card from your ex and a $100 parking ticket that you forgot to pay, a combination that reduces you to tears. You text your best friend, who is out having more fun than you ever will this week. You start to calculate the new travel distance between each other’s apartments and wonder if your friendship will last. You lower your head into a pile of curtains and cry yourself into a nap.
Several hours later you accept the inevitable. You pick yourself, rub the curtain marks off your face, and drag yourself to the store to buy a box of trash bags and a six pack of beer. The time for waffling over the welfare of your possessions has passed. Everything that has not been boxed gets thrown into a trash bag and separated into three piles – Clothes, Breakables, and Maybe Breakables. You pack what you can, and everything that you are less than 60% emotionally attached to, you dump in a heap on the curb in the middle of the night. Someone will come by and take that food processor right? Right.