August 31, 2006

24 boxes

If you had to put your worldly goods into 24 boxes, what would make the cut? (Not counting pets. Or litter boxes. Or cat carriers.) Here are mine, fresh from moving to a new studio apartment this week and not in any order of importance, as will quickly become obvious:

1. clothes (big huge wardrobe box)
2. clothes, shoes, purses (ditto above)
3. things Mrs. Violet, my mother, calls “linens” (and I call towels & sheets)
4. 4 big plates, 4 small plates, 4 tea mugs, some Tupperware, utensils, a few wine glasses
5. a cookie sheet, a casserole dish, a stock pot, a skillet, canned food
6. books to keep nearby at all times
7. more of same
8. books to store up in the loft
9. more of same
10. more of same
11. diabetes supplies & sundry medicine cabinet junk
12. CDs & DVDs
13. stuff that belonged to my dad before he died
14. letters & photos
15. precious objects (commonly referred to by the highly inadequate term “knickknacks,” humph. Include little animal figurines kept since childhood, candle holders, incense-burning equipment, & my house fairy from cherished friend & blog reader V.)
16. more precious objects
17. dolls & stuffed animals kept since childhood
18. journals written sporadically since 5th grade, which Mrs. Violet is charged with burning (NOT READING) in the event of my death
19. more journals
20. more journals
21. computer & associated gizmos
22. cat supplies + misc stuff such as extension cords
23. pictures, the hang on the wall kind
24. misc stuff (my one screwdriver, cleaning supplies, jewelry box, batteries, flashlight, all the stuff I now have nowhere to put)

Things that didn’t make the cut:

1. About a third of my clothes, maybe half
2. Half of my books
3. Most of my kitchen stuff and all of Mr. Brooklyn’s, since he didn’t take his when he moved out
4. Some CDs & movies
5. The wedding china & crystal & flatware I have dragged around the country since getting divorced (that would be the ex before Mr. Brooklyn)—not because I wanted them but out of mom-related guilt, as Mrs. Violet loves them & never had her own. (She’s taking the crystal.)
6. Certain precious objects that weren’t really all that precious and/or made me cry to look at them (reference #3 & 5 above)
7. A LOT of misc stuff that I really just didn’t need, such as the flute I hadn’t played for 15 years, board games that never got played at all, snow boots from my Minnesotan days

Finally, things I learned:

1. I need less than I thought. I hope.
2. It’s more fun than tragic to have a moving sale. My moving sale suggestions: Price things very low for good karma. If you live in a melting pot area, count the number of languages and accents you hear at the sale. Observe that it feels better to see your things go to people who will use them (or resell them for a profit, ahem) than to hoard them. Invite your most heart-tugging customer to come back at the end and take unsold things for free.
3. A moving sale can be cathartic. You can free yourself of baggage of various sorts by removing objects from your life.
4. Even so, there is a real and sometimes deep sadness to divesting oneself of things that hold or once held significance. This should be named and honored along with the other aspects of the process.


  1. Love moving/tag/yard/garage sales. As a seller and a buyer. I hear you about the potential sadness, but another slant on it is to think of it as clearing things out so you can have brand new experiences in the future. Good luck with the move!

  2. Since you are now in Manhattan Violet, say hello to the guy (Me) on the E or F train taking a bolus of Novo w/my Pen. See you in Union Square.

  3. Violet-

    I am so sorry.

    I wish I could say something that would make this easier.

    I wish I could help.

    You are an amazing, smart, and exceptionally caring person.

    And I just hate this for you.