Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little boxes everywhere…

All right, so they’re not so little. Most of them are of the 3-cubic-foot variety, but some are smaller and some are bigger.

I’ve been pondering a question the past couple of days as the boxes have filled up – Oh, did I mention I’ve bought a house and will be moving this week? No? How careless of me. Well I did. I’m giving up my “suburban” lifestyle in Arlington and moving down to the “country” in Alexandria.

At least that’s what I imagine the D.C. residents who consider Arlington to be a suburb must think of Alexandria, it being so, so far away from their glorious, shining city on the hill. And, while that isn’t the point of this post – I’ve gotten off on a bit of a tangent here, haven’t I? – it’s my belief there is nothing so special about Washington, D.C., the city itself, that would ever make me want to purchase property there.

If you can name for me a single quality of life issue where the District has a distinct advantage over its neighbors with congressional representation, lemme know. Cause I haven’t thought of one and believe me, I’ve tried.

Oh, not owning a car and being able to walk to the Metro does not make you or your address more virtuous than me and my neighbors in Virginia or the weirdoes who got stuck living in Maryland.

Annnnnnnnd….Rant over.

Getting back to my original point…boxes. As I packed up my things this past weekend, I thought about my first big move: Jacksonville, N.C. to Raleigh back when I got out of the Marines. Everything I owned fit into two seabags, a footlocker and a couple of boxes. And it all fit in my car. I basically didn’t own shit except for some clothes, some CDs and a bunch of books.

Now? Now’s a whole different story. On Saturday I filled five 3-cubic-foot boxes just with books. That’s 15 cubic feet of books. That’s a shitload of books – trust, they’re heavy. My kitchen is going to take another six or seven boxes and then there’s all the various and sundry crap we accumulate and move from address to address that'll fill another box or two.

As of now I’ve filled 14 3-cubers, four 1.3-cubers along with all the other boxes for stereo and computer gear (I am a guy after all). And, this doesn’t even count my furniture.

The funny thing is, when I look at these boxes it just doesn’t seem like all that much. It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole life packed up in there. I’m not saying I need more stuff. Believe me, I’m donating or disposing of as much as possible. But still, seeing it all there boxed up and lined up against the wall of my living room waiting for the movers (lemme tell you how nice it is to say that: "waiting for the movers," I'm savoring the concept) is, well…I don’t know.

So here’s the question I had when I started this thing: How many boxes does your life fit into?


Lemon Gloria said...

Heyyy, congratulations! I lived in Alexandria for a bit with Nick, and it's not actually as far away as I'd originally thought. :)

You know I chose DC life, because for me, the no car, walking everywhere life trumps many things (such at least somewhat competent government services). But those are personal preferences. And I'm sure you're not going to have an alley with poo in it behind your new house. Which of course is always nice.

As for how many boxes...I can't even begin to consider. We're never, ever moving again.

But back to the fun - big, huge congrats!

Anonymous said...

congratulations! viva ownership!

i continue to accumulate and when i move to god knows where this summer, it's going to take manymany boxes. but my "life"? i could fit that in just a handful. pictures, cherished possessions, favorite books. everything else is just stuff, right?

good luck with the move!

lacochran's evil twin said...

WOOT! It'll be nice to have you as a neighbor.

As to your question... the older I get the less I want and the more I give away. Seriously. We cull from what we have at least quarterly. Including books (gasp!). :)

Marielle said...

Yay house!! Having just moved, I can tell you all about having too much stuff. I filled a 26' truck. That's a lot of boxes for one person.

FoggyDew said...

LG - Never say never. That's what my brother and his wife said. Then they had two kids and then it was all, "Load up the truck, we're moving from the Hill to Arlington." They said something about wanting their kids to get an education...

Firecracker - Kinda like in the movie "Leap Year", what would you take if the fire alarm went off? For me it was my external drives with all my pictures and my negative files. All easily carried.

LA - One of these days I'm going to have to give away some of my books. But for me that's like parting with a limb.

Marielle - 26'?? Really. I'm doomed. Oh, wait, my movers are doomed. Doomed I say. Doomed.

Liebchen said...

I couldn't believe how many boxes and bags and trips it took to move my studio stuff into the new apartment. It felt never-ending - even after I threw so much away.

Also, good call on the movers. Next time I move (because I know there'll be a next time), that's what I'm doing. No arguments.

Congrats on the new place!!

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, two moves ago, from one condo to another, I filled an entire truck. I was mortified, b/c until that moment I thought I lived a rather sparse existence. Oops, I was apparently living on Fantasy Island, drinking brews with Tatoo. So last time, I determined I'd pack it all up but whatever number I ended up with, 1/2 would go to the Salvation Army. Ok, so yeah, I packed selectively. BUT - I ended up with 33 boxes vs 66, and I have NEVER gone back. I clear the clutter 4x a year, with each season. If you're a pack rat, it's tough and first, but as you continue to clear, you'll be surprised at how good you feel AND how clean and shiny your new house will be! good luck!!! and congrats!!!!

magnolia said...

congrats! alexandria isn't that far away; it's still inside the beltway, so that's acceptable to me, hahaha.

as for the no-car thing: i love driving. lovelovelove it. but the car i have access to is not mine, and i can only do it sometimes. so i have to live as close to the metro as possible. it's not the lack of car ownership that makes me virtuous; it's the poise and grace with which i handle rampant metro failure on a daily basis. :)

JennAventures said...

I moved from Boston to Austin in December-I only had 15 boxes of stuff-most of it shoes. Sigh, those days will soon be over now that I bought actual furniture.

Good luck with your move.

Oh, and biking an extra 25 is a long way. Kinda like running an extra 8 miles...

FoggyDew said...

Liebchen - I highly recommend movers, even if you pack your stuff (which I'm doing) and they haul it to-and-from the truck. An old company paid for movers for me once in the distant past and it was divine. Also, have you signed up for this year's MCM yet?

Phnx - I never thought of myself as a pack rat, but I'm guessing some of my parents "children of the Depression" experience rubbed off. I've culled, but not as much as I wanted to. Hopefully I can do some more as I unpack.

mags - you got me there. no one's ever accused me of being graceful. To paraphrase: They can have my car when they pry my cold, dead fingers off the wheel.

JennA - Thanks for dropping in (and the follow, I shall return the favor of course). Boston to Austin? Now that's a move. Not just geographically, but culturally too. I lived down that way myself for a while (Killeen) and visited Austin often. If you haven't gone yet, may I suggest a day trip to Salado.

Once you buy furniture it's all over. At least boxes stack uniformly.

As for the extra milage, I think I may have had it easier than you. But it still sucked.

Anonymous said...

Going to be that guy - quality of life issue = access to world-class culture at your doorstep. The National Gallery of Art isn't in the suburbs. I miss being one block from the Verizon Center, too.

However, I am definitely glad you found an awesome place, and hope there are many more Gumbofests and Thanksgivings to come.. It's really awesome, congrats!

My life fit into a lot of boxes when I moved recently, but they weren't terribly large boxes, at least.. I got by with a 12' truck, I believe, and probably could have done a 10' if I had gotten rid of some furniture I eventually would later. And like LA's evil twin, I find myself looking for ways to, er, simplify at ever opportunity..

J. Robert said...

53. I just counted