Today Kish and I loaded up a panel van, and tomorrow we will be taking a bunch of Richard’s stuff to Pittsburgh to help him move in as he starts his internship at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As we loaded, Kish wondered aloud: how many times have we moved things from one location to another?
It’s a good question, and not an easy one to answer. We routinely moved from apartment to apartment in college, after college, and in Washington, D.C., gradually accumulating more stuff with each step in the process. Here in Columbus, we moved into a house, filled it up, and have moved all of our stuff twice since then. We’ve moved the boys to college and to grad school and to other locations and we moved Mom from her condo to her current apartment. And each time we’ve packed and unpacked, loaded vans and cars, lugged boxes and bags and hauled mattresses and box springs and shelves. This time we’re grateful that we don’t have something weird to move, like a fish tank.
In the process, and over the years, we’ve learned about anchoring things and bracing things so they don’t slide around, about the value of more bankers’ boxes than you initially think you’ll use, and the need to keep the heavy stuff at the rear of the van or truck. But still, there are quandaries that will never be fully solved. Like — what do you do with lamps?
We’re on the road today, and I’m testing my latest travel vow.
I’m an over-packer. It’s embarrassing, because it shows indecisiveness. You can’t quite figure out what you need, so you end up taking everything. Your suitcase is crammed full on the trip out. You can hardly close it. It weighs a ton as you’re lugging it through the airport and hoisting it into the trunk of the taxi. And, of course, your clothing doesn’t fit quite so neatly into the bag for the trip home.
Today I made a conscious effort not to over-pack. No need to anticipate three clothing changes a day or the kind of bowel-related disasters that might require you to carry two extra pairs of underwear. No taking three hardback biographies that couldn’t be completed even if I read 24 hours a day. No extra pair of shorts, or spare socks just in case, or extra t-shirt. I’ll try to make do without them all.
And, today, as I walked through the airport, pulling my feather-light luggage behind me, I felt a welling sense of pride.
Fellow over-packers, join me! Cast off the bungee cords you use to close your bulging bag! Don’t pull that special zipper that gives you even more room to store useless stuff! Don’t risk paying the over-50-pound-fee at the baggage check station or engaging in the humiliating, out-in-public-in-front-of-the-check-in-desk clothing transfer to try to get under that already generous 50-pound limit!
It’s time to fly light, my friends!