Moving House (again)

I’ve been packing this week to move house on the weekend. I’ve discovered things I forgot I owned, which I suppose is normal, but it does make me think I can probably get rid of a whole lot of stuff…

This move out of the house is happening a whole lot more quickly than the move into the house did, and so it’s been quite different psychologically (so far). I went back to read what I wrote last time I moved. This stood out.

This house had become home, these housemates like family.

So I guess we began the process of sorting, packing and moving with… well, heavy hearts. Sometime towards the middle of January, I found myself thinking about how I’d only walk this route to a yoga class (or get off the train at this station, or stare out my bedroom windows, or go for a walk in this park, or see this or that neighbour on the street) a finite number of times. And every now and then the four of us would be standing together in the kitchen talking and/or cooking, and one of us would sigh. Sentimentality became a big part of our last weeks in the house.

I’m prone to sentimentality, to brooding over things. The first sentence in the section above is true of the house I’m in now too. But this time around the rest of my housemates are staying put, and I only really found out when exactly I was going to be moving at the beginning of this week. The combination of those two things, I think, means I haven’t yet had time to brood too much. I’m sure that will come once the move has occurred. Of course, this time around I’ll be able to come back and visit my old house and housemates when and if that brooding makes me nostalgic.

At the moment, the whole thing feels a little surreal. I’m teaching all my regular classes, and trying to get other work done, and in between packing my material life into boxes. It’s odd that we feel so attached to all the stuff we accumulate. Some of my things I’ve had since I was a teenager. Some things I’ve only collected more recently, but much of that used to belong to my grandparents, and so is also imbued with sentimental value.

Every time I move, I find myself wanting to just chuck a whole lot of stuff out, but I never manage to get rid of much. It’s just stuff, but it also holds all those memories for me—I’m not sure I’d cope if I had to carry the memories around all on my own. Sentimentality gets me every time.

I’ve written here before about how intrigued I am by what constitutes ‘home’. The relationship between a person and the house, suburb and town or city they live in is such a nuanced one. It will be interesting to see how this shift in homes affects me, how my stuff in a new place changes things.

But for now, back to the packing of boxes.

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