My Own Hurricane Sandy

Note: In no way does this article mean to diminish all the damage done to people’s homes. I used this title because the name of the hurricane is a now a familiar one. es

I have moved 28 times in my adult life, sometimes to the other side of the world (Israeli kibbutz for one school year), the other side of the USA (Seattle for almost two years), and next door in my semi-attached house (during my separation from my now ex-husband). I am a pro at moving. But recently, when we had our damaged, new wood floor replaced in our living room and den, this felt worse than moving out of my apartment. Let me elaborate.

We have a large living room and dining room in our condo, but the den is small. Everything had to be removed from the den and living room and squeezed into our bedroom, dining room, and hallway of the apartment. Since the boxes holding the bamboo wood strips were already piled high in the hallway to be “cured,” there wasn’t much room for books, files, furniture, and throw rugs in the hall.

Our large entertainment/bookcase/breakfront piece had to be torn apart in order to move it. Ditto with the computer desk in the den. By the time we emptied the bookcases in both the den and living rooms, as well as the dishes, glassware, silverware, photo albums, and books in the breakfront, our apartment looked like Hurricane Sandy had made an impromptu visit. Even though we had done the exact same “operation” with the first floor last year, I was not ready for the mess we had to live with for almost two weeks, because the head floor installer was sick on the original installation date, and our floor was not put in until five days later than expected.

Then came the cleanup after the new floor was down. While the mess was still sitting in the apartment, I rethought the entire apartment and decided to place items in different rooms from their original locations. I recently put our iMac computer from the den into our bedroom for me. My writing files were still in the den where the new computer (for my husband) is located, and we had also moved my sewing machine to the den. But my fabric was still stored in the walk-in closet of our bedroom. So I swapped the files and fabric into their proper locations. I also pulled together all my loose papers, magazines, and files and made room for them in the walk-in.

Pretty soon I was feeling much better, because like the book mentioned a few months ago in WVFC, How Can I Make a Difference When I Can’t Even Find My Keys, I was getting organized. While the two spaces are still works in progress, my feeling of accomplishment from putting everything in their proper places, and giving away books to the library as well, cancelled out all my negative feelings about “the move.”

What I learned from my own private Hurricane Sandy is that sometimes we need to search for the silver lining in the clouds, even though we think there is none. Moving is messy, whether it be across the hall, across the country, or inside your own living space. The trick to putting everything back is to start in one corner or work on one area that is piled high with “stuff” and close your eyes to the rest of the room(s). You chip away at that pile until it is finished and then move onto the next pile. It may take several days, weeks, or even months to accomplish all that you want, but the feeling of a job well done seems well worth the effort. Like the ad on TV after Hurricane Sandy: “We’re Stronger Than the Storm,” we are stronger than the mess and the new look in your space will be a great boost to your organizing skills. While I cannot say the move was perfectly smooth, I feel more clear-headed than I have in a long time. My attitude about finishing the job of sorting my files and getting re-organized is much more positive. While the scale doesn’t say I lost any weight, I feel 10 pounds lighter.



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