Attics are “Forever”

Since I wrote about moving out, I suppose I should speak on moving in. We barely squeaked out of our old house by the deadline, July 28. The new owners took over the next day.

We, on the other hand, would have been homeless, but for the invitation to stay with my mother while we waited to close on the new house. There is something unavoidably awkward about being 46 and living with your mother. I’m sure it wasn’t a picnic for her either when she viewed the devastation in the wake of a family including two teens, a ten-year-old, a husband, two small, gassy dogs, and a cat. You don’t realize how set you are in your ways until you are removed from your natural habitat and collide with the unfamiliar, exposed to someone else’s routine.

Fast forward three weeks: I hoped that unpacking would be easier than packing, but it brought a whole new set of challenges. I didn’t have time to sort though things before I had packed them, especially items in the scariest of all places: the attic.¬†(Insert horror movie background music.)

For 11 years, if I didn’t need it, but couldn’t yet part with it, I chucked it – eyes closed – into the large walk-in attic. I piled it higher and deeper, like a tell of ancient civilizations built one on top of the other.

Emptying the attic was the job I had dreaded most.

A friend and her posse of kids came to the rescue, fire-brigade style, and we emptied it post-haste. I peeked into a few boxes. “You obviously haven’t moved enough or you wouldn’t still have that,” commented the Wise Friend, a veteran of frequent moves. But I just had to “ooh and aah” over the cast of Risa’s leg that she broke jumping off a teeny-weenie step in the family room at age 2. (She’s 16.) The knitted cap Ross wore home from the hospital. (He’s 10.) Risa’s leopard fur-trimmed¬†leather size 4T jacket: Boy, did she ever look cute in that. All boxes went into storage units to be dealt with later……

Now it was “later.” A new garage full of boxes including stacks and stacks of clothes containers saved for Younger Son. One problem: Younger Son is a completely different body type than Older Son. Husky Younger also completely skipped size 12 this year.

I do have an attic in the new house, but I am going to seriously consider what goes in it, because another Wise Friend has given me the “Key to a Successful Attic.” It is this: An attic is FOREVER. You want to keep the item, object, memento? Yes? Fine. But you’d better be ok with NEVER SEEING IT AGAIN. It is a certain mindset you must accept. This also requires that we either never move again, or we are fine with giving any attic possessions to the new owners.

I vote to stay.


A Moving Story


We lived in our house for 11 years and I’d wanted to move for the last 10. It finally happened, but good grief was the whole process ever a pain in the butt.

We showed the house about 20 times before it sold. Rarely did we get more than an hour’s notice. I’d get off the phone, run to the stairs, and scream, “Emergency clean up!” My three kids would come scurrying. Lastly, we’d throw the dirty laundry into the back of the totaled van, load up two gassy dogs, and squeal the tires, barely making it out of the house before the potential buyers came to look.

Worse, far worse than this was the actual packing. Don’t get me wrong: I was grateful and happy that the house sold, but I never dreamed I had so much STUFF that had to be removed. Where did it all come from? Was it the extra kid we had since living there? I came to regret every collection, every saved item over the years. Eventually, any attachment I ever had to anything ceased. I became hardened. A wedding gift? Whatever. Dolls I had played with when I was a kid? Sure, I was going to play with them again at age 46. Yeah, right. Where’s that trash bag?

Then you start moving large pieces out. You know you were a clean person, but HOW DID THAT FILTH GET THERE? Was I living in a crack house? Gee, and I have five oreganos. I also had a major food coloring spill some time ago. OR IS IT FOOD COLORING?

It was somehow liberating to purge, like a giant household enema: Uncomfortable while it’s happening, but leaving you with an empty, pleasant sensation when done. We took a final look around after 3 weeks of endless packing and transporting to the storage unit that became two storage units, packed like a Tetris game. We had almost left the trash can. I would have abandoned it, but it was full of three-week-old extra ripe garbage that had been completely forgotten. Not good for the buyer’s walk-through the next day.

Anyhoo, we did find a new house as we were packing up the old and I am super excited about it. I have to be, because we’ve all decided that we will die in the new house before we EVER move again.