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List # 10 – The Six Stages of Packing

June 8, 2010

This move is number 20. That’s 20 moves I’ve done in my lifetime. Some have been across country, some have been within cities and most recently I’ve been apartment hoping from one place to the next every 2 years or so.

With all that moving, I’ve learned a few things about the fine art of packing and the emotional turmoil that goes with it. And so, because my brain is a bit loopy from packing all day yesterday and painting over the weekend, here is Ashley’s 6 Stages of Packing.

Stage 1: Also known as “This is going to be a breeze!”

Stage 1 begins after you packed approximately your first 5 boxes. For me, the first thing I always pack is the books. Boxes of books may be heavy, but the books themselves are easy to back. They all fit together semi-decently and leave very few odd spaces. Perhaps you don’t start with the books, but I do bet that you start with something easy to pack. So where ever you start, those first boxes just fly by. Next thing you know, you have 5 boxes packed and lined up against the wall. Well, you feel darn proud of yourself right now and figure it’s about time you take a break… for about a week. Which leads to….

Stage 2: Also known as “Packing the nonessentials”

Stage 2 begins after you’ve been packing for a week. And by packing I mean you have those 5 boxes packed and that’s about it. Then you realize that you’re moving in 3 weeks, perhaps you should do some more packing. So you start to pack everything that you don’t need for the next 3 weeks. This often includes photos, any ornaments on shelves, books, most of the dvd’s, the Christmas stuff in your storage space and things that you almost never use. This is also the stage where the most culling gets done. Since mostly you’re packing things you don’t use that often, it’s time to re-evaluate whether you need them at all. Packing at this stage is often neat and organized, boxes are nicely labeled and you will sometimes spend 30 minutes trying to find just the right thing to fill that one odd space in the box.

Stage 3: Also known as “Holy cow! I have a lot of stuff!”

So you’ve culled, you gotten rid of things you don’t need, you’ve packed most of your non-essentials and still your apartment looks full. With the move happening in 2 weeks you realize how much stuff still is NOT in boxes. You’re a bit scared of the mountain of boxes that your cat is now using as a jungle gym and even more scared of all the things you still haven’t packed. You either ignore the problem and putter along and are then hit by Stage 4 like a dump truck, or you have an early panic attack and spend 2 days packing non-stop. After which you are tired and need a glass of wine and a video game, ’cause of course you haven’t packed the wine glasses or video game console yet.

Stage 4: Also known as “GET IT IN A BOX!!!”

Stage 4 is where all attempts at an organized move go to pieces. You are now 5 -7 days away from the move and you don’t really care if all the little spaces get filled up just perfectly. You run around the house grabbing things that are sitting on empty book shelves and start throwing them haphazardly in boxes. You are no longer culling and getting rid of stuff you don’t need. Your attitude now is that you’ll figure that out at the other end.  You pack the pantry and find that you actually have 2 boxes of corn meal, both mostly full. You pack the bathroom, anything that left in the bedroom that you can go without for a week, and then you tackle *shiver* the kitchen.

Stage 5: The Kitchen

Yes, the Kitchen get’s a stage all to itself. It takes FOREVER to pack a kitchen and the sheer amount of packing paper that you use in doing so makes environmentalists scream with horror. But what else can you do? What if your grandmother’s teapot get’s chipped? What if that cute mug that always makes you feel better when you drink out of it gets shattered? What if your plates all break and you have nothing to eat off of? But packing the kitchen is just about plates and dishes. It’s also the pots, the pans, the utensils, the punch bowls and serving plates, the Tupperware, the wine glasses, the alcohol stash, the baking mixer and every other little kitchen gadget you have. In my mind, I imagine hell as one big kitchen that just never ever gets completely packed.

Stage 6: Also known as “F**K it!”

This stage often kicks in the night (or morning) before the move. At this point you no longer care about the move, about boxes, or about putting things in them. You throw your hands in the air, decide that everything will work out somehow and go and get some sleep before dealing with the burly movers.

I am currently sitting at Stage 4, dreading, with a deep and horrible dread, the coming of Stage 5.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2010 7:10 am

    I am right now at Stage 3…..close to Stage 4. Great post!

  2. June 15, 2010 12:08 pm

    haha. having moved around quite a LOT in my life so far (to the point where i’ve lost count of the number of addresses i’ve had), i totally relate to this list

    makes me giggle every time i come back to it (i’m just really slack and had never left you a reply – sorry)

    happy packing friend

  3. Ashley Erin permalink*
    June 18, 2010 2:53 pm

    Marlie – Best of luck with your own packing and move! It’s always better once it’s over.

    Leonie – I’m glad you enjoyed the list! (I’m awful sometimes with replies too! I’ll leave a blog post open on my computer for DAYS sometimes before I comment.)

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