No more moves, no more storing stuff
I am sick of moving.The last time I moved – the last time before this last time – I thought would be the end of my moving career. Almost three years ago, I bought my first house – a funky old Victorian in downtown New Castle – and I prepared myself to nestle in for the long haul.On the surface, the move looked like it would be a piece of cake. For the past five years, I had been living in a microscopic (less than 300 square feet) cabin in Basalt. I had whittled my life down to the bare necessities. Because my place was so tiny, life became easy. It was like living on a boat – a small sailboat with compact living quarters. I never bought anything superfluous because there wasn’t any place to put it. My living room became my bedroom at night when I unfolded my futon bed/couch. My bookcases held just enough books, and no more. I could always find my keys and my glasses. How far away could they be?Cleaning the cabin from top to bottom took a total of about 13 minutes – and that included dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bath and washing the windows. Everything was within reach. I could brush my teeth in the bathroom, pour the coffee in the kitchen and check my email in my office all at the same time.I’ve culled my belongings down before. In the estimated 36 moves I’ve made in my lifetime, I’ve had to pare down in order to keep from completely flipping out. I remember finally getting tired of moving the over-20 boxes of books I’d accumulated and carted around since college (like every single one of Shakespeare’s plays for starters and every one of Edward Abbey’s books for another). At the time, I was living in New Hampshire, and I remember taking all but my very favorite treasures to the Dartmouth Outing Club in Hanover, and donating them to the students.Other items have gone by the wayside over the years too. The only possession I really regret giving away in those slough-off sessions is my record collection. I had hundreds, thousands, of LPs I’d accumulated over the years – everything from the Stones and Led Zeppelin (remember Poco? Remember Steve Forbert?) to early Billy Joel and Carole King. But, not willing to move those records one more time, I gave them to a vintage LP store in Boulder years ago.But still there was more. In the little Basalt cabin, just because I lived a compactly organized life didn’t mean that mountains of the rest of my crap didn’t lurk elsewhere. No, years of accumulation had to go somewhere. I had my belongings stored all over the Roaring Fork Valley. I loaned friends furniture and asked them to use it until I could. I stored boxes of my grandmother’s china, and my uncle’s paintings in my sister’s basement. Former boyfriends (it’s a good idea to part amicably) let me store kayaks, skis, backpacks, high school yearbooks, tires, Christmas decorations and whatever else, in their storage areas and garages. Practically all of my things found their way to my New Castle house when I moved “for good.” I went from under 300 square feet of living space to over 900 – with a huge two-car garage/shop to boot – overnight. It seemed like my personal belongings morphed and multiplied before my eyes. Friends and family came from all corners, bringing me all my wayward personal affects. And since I now had “extra room,” I began storing other people’s stuff. But what did I care? I had moved into my own bachelorette house. I had fully embraced the life of a single woman. I was convinced I wouldn’t be moving ever again. Fast-forward to summer and fall 2002. There we are, my new husband and I, hauling my stuff between New Castle and Rifle. When we decided where we were going to live, my husband won, because he owns a horse ranch, and well, I can’t board horses at my little Victorian house. So there we are, driving behind grocery and liquor stores searching for good cardboard boxes. There we are, loading pickup truck after pickup truck with piles of my grandmother’s quilts, and my great-grandmother’s quilts. There we are, loading flatbed trailer after flatbed trailer, with I-don’t-even-know-what. I have so many files I can’t conceive of ever going through them all. There are piles of miscellaneous items destined for local charities. The piles get bigger. After what I estimate to be 36 household moves in my lifetime, I am ready – really, really, ready – not to move another box of old tax receipts, or faded crackling pictures I finger-painted in kindergarten. But still they keep coming. A longtime friend of mine called me up the other day. “You know, we were going through Mother’s basement, and we ran across a box of your journals, and another box of Camp Fire Girl camp pictures and old ski photos from the `50s of your dad, I think,” he said. “Do you want them?” They’re now sitting on a table in my office at our Rifle house. Carrie Click is a Post Independent reporter. Her column appears most Tuesdays.
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This will be my 500th column — my final column in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.