Moving moments

Moving Moments

We are on the move.  The time has come after 12 months of the usual harrowing, time-consuming, finicky process of deciding to demolish and build another more functional, safer retirement home on the same site. And each room in our house is a sea of boxes.

We reckon on moving day – two weeks from now – our earthly possessions other than furniture – will be packed and taped away in about 100 boxes. Between us we have enough books to open a second-hand bookshop, enough art to open a gallery and countless china, objets d’art, memorabilia and bric-a-brac.  The question is what do you keep and what do you throw away, or give away, or sell.

Ours is a unique case. We are a blended household anyway with two households of goods and chattels jammed into a smallish, cream brick, four-walled 1960s house in the Mitcham Hills in Adelaide.

Husband Olivier has lived here for 35 years and it was where he and his late wife and their four children settled in Australia after the family migrated here in 1973.

This is my second Belair home and the fourth major move in 10 years when  I left my own marital home in Belair to move into my father’s house. One would imagine it would be a breeze to move out.

Which is why I cannot quite understand these waves of nostalgia sweeping over me as I sit in the midst of boxes, feeling fazed by the piles of folders, photograph albums, paintings, framed awards, notice boards, filing cabinets, and filled book cases. The desks, one for writing, the other for sewing, are  the responsibility of the removalist.  My concern is that every square centimetre of my study is covered with other clutter. All must be packed or discarded – and each item has its own part in the history of my life.

The framed Christening gown on the wall, for instance. I made it as a young woman for the baptism of my first child, daughter Serena. It took so long to make in the mayhem of early motherhood that those tiny elasticised sleeves, now puffed with padding, only just fitted my 6-month-old baby’s chubby arms.

Second daughter Felicia’s embroidered durndle, bought in Germany when she was 7 years old, hangs from the pelmet. She forgot to take it back to Melbourne when she picked out her stuff.  Pillows and cushions are piled up in one corner for packing. I msut admit I am swamped with memorabilia.  Scrap books with 20 years of newspaper cuttings from my time as a journalist at the Advertiser must be kept and not one of the umpteen stacked photograph albums will be discarded. But the stuff overflowing from a handful of in and out trays and myriad colourful vertical plastic folders will all need to be processed.

Method is important, but my mind is too foggy to remember how. Now I do remember I made a cup of tea half an hour ago and forgot about it, so I think I will take a tea break and mull over the problem some more.

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6 Comments to “Moving moments”

  1. By Marie Jonsson-Harrison, 23/07/2010 @ 12:41 pm

    Dear Nadine,
    Wow how I identify with every word, as you know this is exactly what we are also in the process of doing. We also have many objects of value and sentiment, however I cannot understand why I agonize so much about throwing away stray bits of paper and ornaments with a chip in it and clothes that are out of fashion, never mind the perfectly good rubber bands and paperclips and the like. Why do I think it will all come in handy one day lol! Someone SAVE me and just put it all in a Big Skip!
    Love Marie xx

    • By nadine, 23/07/2010 @ 6:00 pm

      I had a girlfriend helping out today and next week I have a roster of helpers so we should be ready by Sunday week. When it’s over we should have a champagne lunch – your place or down at Hindnarsh Island. Love Nadine XXX

      • By Marie Jonsson-Harrison, 23/07/2010 @ 7:00 pm

        Yeeeesss Please!!!!!! and while we are on the subject who do I have to appeal to, to get a roster full of helpers!! What’s your secret?

        • By nadine, 25/07/2010 @ 4:44 pm

          The pressure is off us as we are now not moving until we return from Fra nce. Sept 16. Troubles with Stellar Homes. Haven’t signed yet. have to give 20 working days notice to ETSA to switch off power…then the house comes down….so we have run out of time. By Aug 18 we will be packed up and ready to go, that’s all. It has been a huge relief and friend/landlord Diana suggested it. I think it suited her too. She is going overseas on August 5 and could see we wouldn’t be ready by then. The helpers are mostly children and grand-children… d

  2. By Jane Randall, 26/07/2010 @ 12:59 pm

    I never have trouble throwing things out, in fact I love the feeling of freedom that comes with making a new start and I subscribe to the mantra “Let go of what no longer serves you”. I have other neurosies of course, but hoarding isn’t one of them. When Ali McGraw lost everything (including her house and all of her acting memorabilia) in the Malibu fires a few years ago she sanguinely commented “Well, no one died”. I love that, so Zen. I was listening to Dr. Randy Frost, a Professor of Psychology at Smith College. USA today and in his study of hoarders he found:

    “That the most likely justification for keeping an item was future need (“I might need this someday”), followed by lack of wear or damage (“This is too good to throw away”), sentimental saving (“This means too much to me to throw away”), and lastly potential value (“This may be worth something someday”). The difference between people who hoard and people who don’t, is that hoarders apply these values to a far larger number of items. A hoarder will also be very concerned about maintaining control over their possessions. Well-meaning family members who try to help by sorting and purging the clutter on the hoarder’s behalf are likely to find their good deed has an unanticipated result: an increased effort on the part of the hoarder to protect their stuff from “unauthorized touching”. (Frost, Hartl, Christian and Williams, 1995).”

    • By nadine, 26/07/2010 @ 10:17 pm

      Do I detect a hint of a sermon here Jane, dear friend?. l remember when you ruthlessly threw out into the courtyard everything that you considered was clutter in my study. The moment you left, I brought it all back again. But now is the moment of truth! Have I needed those things in the ensuing four years?

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