I always thought there were five stages of grief, though a quick search reveals they’ve upped it to seven. I subscribe to the art of simplification so I guess I’m slightly partial to the traditional five: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance… assuming one can favor one model of grief over another?
Having spent the last two weeks attempting to pack-up all of our earthly possessions into a POD, I am deeply attuned to the five stages of moving:
Stage 1: Gung Ho
A novice mover might perhaps look at two straight weeks stretched out before them and be under the overconfident illusion that one can pack-up seven years’ worth of belongings and cram them into a garage-sized mobile box with time to spare for necessary purging and a well-deserved pedicure. During this stage, the French branding of UHaul moving products is quaint and charming— Oh look at zees… zee “cushion foam,” eet ees called “mousse coussinee,” how clehver!
This phase may last approximately two days and/or the time it takes to empty 50% of a modest basement.
Stage 2: Realization
Reality sets-in. As does exhaustion. It’s only Day 3 and mental recalculations begin. Pedicures are canceled. Piles are moved from one room to another. All boxes one comes across appear to have been filled years before as follows: Dump office drawers into box. Repeat.
The number of boxes filled with bits of office detritus is deeply troubling. They’re reproducing like bunnies.
Stage 3: The Grumps
An attempt to move a large, heavy bookcase through a doorway busts up the trim, bashes the hall, and is aborted. The novice movers’ husband is trapped in the office behind the bookcase… creating sufficient motivation for him to unearth the land line and call emergency professional help. The home mover wakes-up on Day 4 with a severe case of the grumps and a deep hatred for all possessions. Home design pictures on Pinterest bring only negative thoughts and a concerted vow to the worship of minimalism.
Two professionals with Russian accents, dressed in short-sleeved tuxedo printed t-shirts, red camouflage board shorts and neon shoes come to the rescue. They also have a severe case of the grumps. Who can blame them? Stupeed mousse coussinee.
Stage 4: Despair
Five days in and a novice mover may find themselves deep in despair. They may contemplate calling the entire idea off. They may entertain thoughts of begging for their job back and claiming insanity due to the inhalation of garage filth and denim dust bunnies.
Stage 5: Submission
Ten days have passed. A corner has finally been turned. The backs of closets are visible. Piles dissipate. Signs of progress finally appear. One large POD is carried off while the mover is away at Little League and a mini celebration breaks-out. Carloads and carloads have been driven to the Salvation Army. The mover is now familiar with the highly well-run San Jose haz mat facility, and the lovely employees of 1-800-GOT-JUNK. The naive urge to purge has been beaten back. 80% has been sifted, appraised, assessed and dispositioned. It’s down to the final 20%…
Dump office drawers into box. Repeat.