A-List: From packing to weeping: the 6 stages of moving

Illustration by Niusha Derakhshan

Illustration by Niusha Derakhshan

No matter how you look at it, moving is awful. As human beings, we hate work and change, and moving involves both. Since you can’t do as Taylor Swift does and shake it off — you don’t want to damage your belongings — I suggest preparing for your journey. I’ve moved more times than I can count . . . Mind you, I never passed grade school math. None the less, I have observed a pattern in moving for which you should brace yourself the next time you have to relocate, start fresh, and/or cover your tracks.

1) EXCITEMENT

Like a new relationship, your upcoming move holds so much promise. This time it’ll be different, and you’ll actually get rid of all that stuff you don’t need. Bellbottom pants? Outta here. That ‘70s ‘Hang in there’ cat poster? Gone. You don’t need a feline to tell you what to do! Finally, an excuse to get organized . . . But not right now.

2) PROCRASTINATION

Your move is like a week away, and you should really get your eight dollars’ worth out of Netflix this month. You don’t have that much stuff really . . . If you think about it, all of your things are already in boxes; your bookcase is a box and your home is rectangular. You think most of the work is done for you until the day before, when the only thing your convenient boxes hold are your dirty lies.

3) PANIC AND EMBARRASSMENT

As you frantically sort through your belongings you find doubles of things you didn’t even know you had one of. Sure, you can tell yourself that things hide in the back of the closet, but you can’t hide the fact that your life is in such disarray that you can’t keep track of how many decorative moose heads you have. Used toothbrushes, a T-shirt with the word #celfie on it, all your garbage comes with you in boxes packed so terribly it makes the Tetris gods weep. As you frantically pack, emotions start to overwhelm your brain and bring on the next stage.

4) OH GOD. NO NO NO NO.

Panic and embarrassment quickly turn into self-loathing and shame as you sit in your half-sorted closet, clutching your ‘Where’s the Beef?’ retro hoodie that you never had the courage to wear but know would totally kill at a party. But, just like the fast food it represents, the hoodie offers you no support or nutrition as you try and think of a way out of your self-made mess. Maybe if you listened to the cat on that ‘70s poster, none of this would have happened. But there’s no time to think about that; your friends are here to help with the move!

5) GUILT

You open the door and let your helpful friends in, dismissing their questions about the dark circles under your bloodshot eyes and your seemingly sudden collection of decorative moose heads. As they load boxes into their cars, you feel the need to apologize and explain yourself, but with the commotion of moving you have no time to point out why it’s a good idea to keep every single textbook you’ve had since high school. I mean, what if you forget what the powerhouse of the cell is when the power goes out?

6) SETTLING IN

Finally, the move is over, and you have sent your friends home with their legally required single slice of pizza and beer for helping. With boxes scattered in your new home, you lay on your floor, still clutching your ‘Where’s the Beef?’ hoodie until you begin to recover. As you start to unpack, you quickly forget the mental anguish you just went through and decide to keep all the things you were thinking of getting rid of. Maybe that ‘Hang in there’ poster will help you out in the future. And you know, those decorative moose heads don’t look too bad in your new place after all . . .

Leave a Reply