What Moving Has Taught Me

Part One—since we haven’t actually moved in, just moved out.

Preparing to move is like preparing for that test you didn’t know about. You can’t do enough. And even if you could, it isn’t enough.

When you only deep clean every 25 years, you find a lot of dirt.

Did you know that the crud on your oven’s window is INSIDE, between two layers of glass? Who would have thought! 
When you dismantle the oven door to clean the crud, it's worth it.
The oven door window is meant to see what is inside the oven.

Get your rugs professionally cleaned. 
After 25 years’ worth of mud, dirt, and dust, it gives great satisfaction to see the dirt leave your house by the tubes of the professional’s sucking machine. Your carpet will thank you.
Those cheap, do-it-yourself machines at grocery stores do not compare.

You can always get a cleaner house. You are your worse critic. 
Hire a professional recommended by your realtor for a thorough cleaning.
It’s humiliating to watch them clean your filthy windows and scrub your bathrooms, but you will be amazed at how good your house can look. 
Almost makes you want to keep it clean forever!
But not really.

Clean windows make the world outside look better!

Even the term seems like you are not real. Isn’t a stage for pretend? Where actors pretend to be someone they are not?

Shoving all your worldly belongings into a POD 16’ x 7 x 8 shouldn’t be too hard.
Unless there are too many of your worldly belongings.
Then you must declutter—A LOT.
Twenty-five years is a long time to accumulate A LOT of worthless stuff.
But who can tell whether it is worthless? Only the owner.
And who claims this stuff now?

How many trips to the dump does it take for the owner to greet you by name? 
They know us now.

We rented a dumpster last year and filled it. That was a God-ordained moment.

You may think you’re a good packer. UNTIL, your husband opens your carefully packed boxes and crams its contents in any crevice available in the already jammed POD. 
I pray I do not have to unload that POD by myself.  

Living without half your stuff for two months may teach you your stuff may not be that important. 
Or things that you thought weren’t essential, become essential as soon as they are buried in the back of more things that aren’t essential.
You may realize the school books are packed in the front and there is no way you are going to look for them. So school will be started later this year—much later.

You may reconsider what is essential after living without a bed and a kitchen table for a month.
How hard could the floor be?
It gets harder each night.

Throwing out stuff is EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSING.
Sentimental stuff weighs you down. 
Must I keep everything from my sister who died to remember her?
When you haven’t finished a project in five years, maybe the project didn’t need to be finished.
If you can’t identify the person in the picture, maybe you can throw out the picture without guilt. Maybe.
When you save stuff for your children for YEARS, and find they don’t want it.

As soon as you give something away, you need it. Guaranteed.
But the need goes away. And you don’t miss it.

Space gives an appearance of wealth.
Clutter gives an appearance of poverty.
So does that mean, less is more?

I value one picture more when I can focus on it, rather than on all the twenty that used to hang around it.
But choosing the one picture is exhausting.
By my indecision, clutter is made.

How many boxes should each person be allowed?
When you pack your coat because it is 100’, the temperature changes to freezing.

Keeping your house ready at any moment for someone to evaluate its worth IS STRESSFUL.
Paranoia set in with each perspective buyer. What's wrong with my house?
Especially when you can listen from the next door neighbor's porch.

When every perspective buyer came, anything personal (including soap, shampoo, and personal grooming items) had to be removed.
Trash cans must be hidden. 
Countertops cleaned of clutter. 
Evidence of any animal removed. (That was tricky. Wonder how many people were startled by our cat sleeping in the corner of our closet? Maybe they thought she was stuffed like the ducks hanging on the wall.)
What was hardest was removing all pictures of family and friends.

When you thought you were ready, something else had to be done. 

We emptied the septic, thinking we were ahead of schedule. 
They had to come again and proclaim it empty. Of course, Charging us again. Full Price!
We only had to empty it twice in twenty-five years. Now we had to empty it twice in three months?

Do not trust an appraiser who comes into your home with mask, gloves, and plastic booties and requires you too must wear a mask. 
When he acts like an inspector, re-inspecting things the inspector already evaluated and you question him, believe him when he says he has a different criteria for evaluating a FHA loan.
He does. 

He demands safety conditions the seller must fulfill before the buyer can receive his loan.
These safety conditions may include a railing around a deck that is less than 19 inch drop,
And scraping and repainting beams in the detached garage that are 12 feet above the ground.
All for safety.
Whose going to lick the paint on a 12' garage beam?

Even a building inspector laughed.
The appraiser had no grounds nor standards for those requirements. 
But everyone stopped laughing when we had to meet his requirements if we wanted to sell the house.
Because many times those conditions stuck even if we would find another buyer.

You cannot get a second opinion on appraisals. 
The seller is stuck with the low numbers for three months. 

It only takes one appraiser who won’t answer his phone for escrow to be delayed one week, then two weeks, then three.

When you have carefully planned everything, even the roll of toilet paper and all the food to last till the last day of escrow, escrow will change and you must stock up for another week.
And another week.
And another week.

Buying groceries for one week is different than buying groceries for a month.
You learn to cook creatively when you’ve packed all the salt, spices and sauces.
Did you know instant mashed potatoes mixed with instant rice (purchased for my son’s hunting trip) give a texture similar to cement? Who would have known?
Cement is hard to eat.

Sandwiches can make a good meal.
Eating sandwiches gets old fast.

Eating a family dinner without a table is hard.
Sleeping on the floor is harder.
Air mattresses help but only so much.

Watering flowers and tomatoes that use to be yours but now are someone else’s is hard.

Getting three unwilling BIG dogs into one car seat takes all the strength of a 14-year son.
I think I need more dog treats for the trip across country.
And my son needs to get stronger.
How often must dogs get out of a car on a 24 hour trip?

Being homeless is overrated.

Until part two when you learn what I learned while moving....
God is still in charge! And there is great comfort in knowing He has a place prepared for us.

Displaying all 4 comments

I did not know your family was moving out of state. God’s peace and blessing as you go. Your boys have been a huge blessing to us over the years. Love and safe travels Sonya!!

I have no comments on moving, have been here 27 years and plan to leave it all to the kids to take care of! I'm curious how you got this sent today, I thought you were leaving yesterday. Or not? Anyway, I love reading it all and will write you an email when I get home from Oregon late Monday. (Leave at 6 in the morning.) Praying for a safe trip to you.

You are such a blessing to me Sonya! You are REAL and honest and I love that! Enjoy the wedding and looking for a new house! Praying God provides the perfect place for you and your family! xoxoxo Helen

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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