Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

“Vacation, Had to Get Away!”

As you read this I am finishing up what I am sure was a fabulous long weekend slash min-vacation. The last thing on my pre-vacation to do list. This is one of those things I always find amusing. The pre-vacation/trip/getaway “To Do”. The time away itself is usually very relaxing but the preparations leading up to it always feel so stressful. Maybe its just me…but I don’t think so and for some reason I feel like its more stressful for women.

There’s the packing itself. Making sure you have the proper clothes and footwear for whatever you may do. All the appropriate grooming necessities (crap I forgot to pack a comb…). Any books or music to pass the time. Proper linens. etc. etc. My male friends are always perplexed about why it takes so long to pack or why there’s so much stress involved with packing. It just is, and I over think things anyway, so it really is a stressful activity. i swear they just throw some things in a bag and it all works out. If I did that I’d be missing something vital, like pajamas, or deodorant, or a toothbrush (Sadly all examples from real life experience).

Then there is making sure everything at home is taken care of. The mail is stopped, dishes are done, random cleaning that should happen, bills that may come due are paid, etc, etc…again.

On top of this there is usually one or two things needed for the trip that you don’t have. It’s inevitable. I don’t know how but there is always something. Of course this means last minute shopping.

I had a co-worker on vacation this week and she was stressed all the week before getting things ready. She was going camping with her family. She had to make sure the camper was prepared, her sons packed all of their things. She needed to pack and get the food for the trip, etc, etc….do you see the trend here?

There was one point tonight where I went I almost just want to stay at my apartment but there is a reason to endure all this added stress. It’s completely worth it. It’s nice to get away and escape the everyday life. Relax somewhere new or someplace you go all the time that’s just a quiet place away from home. After the crazy few months I’ve had I can really use the break. I can’t wait, stressed out packing and all (I better go stow that comb before I forget again). *Sigh* I can already picture my feet up and the cold beer in my hand.


My Life in Boxes

I’m hoping I’ll have a good work life balance. I haven’t started my new job yet but I’m feeling pretty good after the interview. The owners seem to understand that you work hard when work needs to be done and take time for yourself when needed. For the first time in 3 years I won’t be required to work almost every weekend in the Spring. Just one or two if there is work to catch up on. I’ll come back to this post topic once I’m into the swing of my new job. This week I’d like to go back to the moving topic more specifically the packing aspect.

Before I started packing I swore I didn’t have a lot of stuff. Some things here and there but not much. That perspective changes as things are put in boxes and put together in a corner in the garage. A large amount of my “stuff” has been sitting in storage since I moved out of my apartment almost 4 years ago. So I had quite a few surprises while going through boxes.

I am a sentimental person. I have many things that have sentimental value to me. I discovered going through boxes that some items have permanent sentimental value and some have an expiration date. There was more than one box that I opened and simply went “Why in the world did I ever keep this.” I’m sure there was a great sentimental reason to keep an item 4 years ago but in growing up and experiencing new things over the past few years the sentimentality seems to have transitioned. Other things are heirlooms to me. Their sentimentality will never expire.

I’ve found watching Clean House on the Style network also helps. They show what can happen when everything has sentimental value and it really makes you look at what you have. Every time I watch an episode I have an overwhelming desire to go through my clothes and other things and get rid of my excess. I’ve filled well over 7 boxes to go to goodwill. When I was younger I’d accept any household hand me down family members wanted to give me. Going through boxes I was surprised to see how much cookware I had. I’ve also come to terms with my mug addiction. I had well over 33 mugs. I had more mugs than years I’ve been on the planet. I can now acknowledge that’s excessive. I’ve filled 4 large trash bags with clothes to go to goodwill and I’m not done yet.

I’ve nearly finished my packing and soon all my belongings will be in the corner of the garage. The whole grueling experience of going through all my stuff has been very cathartic. It’s true what they say. You do feel lighter after getting rid of a lot of this excess. I have one week to get the last of it packed away and ready to go. It’s been a strange sort of feeling. I will miss some of my old life here in Pennsylvania but I’m starting to get excited about the new adventure I’m starting in Connecticut.

Next week.  Pondering my last 2 days before the big move north.

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Pack It Up, Pack It In

Moving Cupcakes

Image by clevercupcakes via Flickr

Okay, now I have Jump Around stuck in my head and I hope you do too.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have done plenty of moving in my lifetime.  Some have been miserable experiences (okay, most of them) and some have been rather successful.  I have discovered, however, that the most important part of the process is packing.  It’s the first thing you do and the last thing you figure out if you did well.  How many times have you thought you packed something well, only to find pieces of it at the bottom of a box? So, I’ve decided to share some of my tips that I have learned in my adventures (some the hard way.)

  • Invest in good containers. My preference is the Rubbermaid Roughneck 18 gallon bins. These durable, easy to carry bins can hold quite a bit of stuff. Each year, I buy a few. At this point, I have well over twenty of these containers. They stack together well and protect your belongings inside.  One recommendation: put the heavy stuff at the bottom and pack lighter stuff toward the top.  It is very easy to overpack these, so take care to balance each one.
  • Books are the only thing that work in cardboard boxes.  I worked in a bookstore for two years and our receiving manager gave me about 10 decent sized book boxes.  These were perfect for packing up my library – sturdy enough to hold my books, but not too big that I couldn’t carry them.  Ask around at local book stores – we regularly gave ours away to patrons who asked.  It was that or recycling them.
  • Soft stuff like bed linens and pillows go great in plastic trash bags.  Tie them shut and then toss on the top of everything else once the truck is loaded.
  • Wardrobe boxes are great for moving clothing on hangers, but they are also really useful for moving odd sized objects – ironing boards, brooms, golf/beach umbrellas, and other weird shaped objects that aren’t box-able.
  • If you can afford it, hire professional movers, but make sure you budget about 10-15% more than they quote you.  When I moved across country, they gave me an estimate based on some information I gave them. It was a little low (I kinda thought it would be) and I ended up paying about $400 more than the estimate.  Also, make sure you tip the movers who pick up your stuff – they are the ones that will make sure your stuff gets where it needs to go safely.
  • If you are doing it by yourself, make sure you have a monkey.  This is a person who is not afraid to climb across furniture and haul boxes up to the small little spots. Inevitably, unless you want to make multiple trips, you will probably need every inch you can get.  I was always the monkey – I’m small and strong and was able to fit into spaces most people couldn’t while hauling heavy boxes.  A tip though – if you are moving in the heat of August, remember that the rough of the moving truck is metal and it is inadvisable to place the palm of your hand on the underside of that rough. I did so once and had a slightly burnt palm to show for it.
  • Beer, soda, pizza, and/or ice cream is the least you can offer your non-professional crew. Actually, I even bought my professional crew a couple of sodas when they were unloading my truck on one of the hottest days of the summer. They were quite appreciative.

Well, that’s all I’ve got.  Within the next two months, I will be undertaking this process yet again. We’ll see how well I did with my packing three years ago when I open up those Rubbermaid containers and other boxes!

Word to your moms….

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