A Place for Our Stuff

We began packing it all in this weekend.

As instructed. It seems there’s a minor denotative difference between packing up and packing it in, but the sense of retreat seems the same to me. And it does make a difference to begin packing ourselves up. The move seems really real now. After more than a year of planning, of applying to schools, of applying for visas, of buying houses even: filling the cardboard boxes with my stuff really brings it home.

I’ve lived in Laramie now longer than I’ve lived anywhere. Certainly longer than I’d planned to. I’ll just hit 21 years by the time we load the moving van. Long enough for anywhere, really. It’s a bigger stretch for David who’s never lived outside of Wyoming in his whole entire life. For those at home keeping score, that’s 50 years. He’ll be the first among five siblings to move out of state, too.

My moves before seemed so much simpler, first dictated by the waxing and waning of the academic cycle. Then it seemed I packed up and moved from one grad student dig to another. There was a simplicity to my life then, when I could load pretty much all of my possessions into a Honda Accord hatchback.

Moving excites the desire to return to that. As I contemplate moving each item, its relative value gets weighed against the space it takes up, the gasoline cost to transport it, the theoretical space it might occupy in the future. Right now, a lot of it seems not all that valuable.

I’ve been posting to Freecycle a lot. What a wonderful thing it is! Within an hour it’s gone. To someone who will actually use it, too. A blessing, truly.

The houses in Victoria have no storage to speak of. Our new house has a five-foot high storage space on the lowest level. I hesitate to call it a basement. Less than a basement, more than a crawl space. Our realtor enthusiastically pointed it out as a place to keep our Christmas decorations. I didn’t add, “and all the other stuff I’ve been dragging from place to place since college.”

When people ask us why the houses in Victoria don’t have basements, we waffle. David says, “because the island is a huge hunk of granite.” I repeat what our realtor said, “they just don’t.”

Maybe, really, it’s because they don’t have so much stuff.

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