Column: Lessons learned while moving

Our reporter reflects on what she learned while moving apartments for the first time.

Sometimes, it becomes very apparent to me that I still have a lot to learn. Usually this happens when I make a dumb mistake, and when I’m faced with the chaos of my own mistakes. I learned a lot of lessons this weekend.

This weekend, I picked up and moved apartments (for a very Grand Forks-esque reason: the condo unit I was renting sold).

I have to say, I’m relatively new to the phenomenon of moving, or at least, moving all of my things at once. I’ve done it exactly three times in my life, but never on this scale.

When I moved from home to my university dorm, I had next to no stuff. I shared a roughly 15 foot by eight foot box with another person, so many unnecessary items got left at home.

When I moved into a house for the following three years of school, furniture was either bought and assembled in the house (thanks Ikea!) or hand-me-downs were moved in a minivan. What else are your roommates’ dads for if not to move couches?

And when I moved to B.C, my belongings were pared down to fit in the back of my car. That vehicle was packed like a jigsaw puzzle.

So, this was my first time ever moving in the more traditional sense (e.g. hire some movers, get some boxes, move the entire contents of one apartment to another).

And boy I have to say, it was rough.

I think my moving can be summed up in one anecdote from Monday night, the first in my new apartment.

After coming home from work, I had stopped at the store to get some pre-prepared food for dinner. I knew there was no hope of me finding anything to cook with, much less having the energy, so I picked up some fixings for sandwiches and salads. I passed the freezers and saw the pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

“Treat yourself,” I thought. “You deserve it.”

So into the basket went two pints.

Upon arriving home, the first thing I wanted was a scoop of ice cream. It had been a long, hot, stressful day.

But where on earth were my spoons?

To put this in perspective, I packed about 20 boxes worth of stuff for this move, and at least 12 of those were kitchen-related. I love to cook at home, so many (dare I venture most?) of my belongings are kitchen-centric. Finding a spoon among the casserole dishes, tea towels and pots was a real life needle in the haystack.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t find my spoons.

This experience has taught me a few things. First: label the boxes specifically. It doesn’t work to just put the room where the items came from (the eight boxes labeled “kitchen” last night were not helpful to me. It was chaos.)

Second: Actively consider the implications of carrying your boxes, before you’re faced with doing so. I thought it would be awesome to pack all my cookbooks in the same box, for ease of unpacking. I was wrong.

To many of you, these may seem like rookie mistakes. I can assure you, I have learned my lesson.

As I climbed the stairs to my fourth floor apartment dozens of times over the past three days, a few thoughts got me through the suffering. First, that there might be ice cream in my near future (that was a disappointment).

Secondly, that this was good for me. As a friend put it, some people pay good money to go to the gym and get on a StairMaster. I got to do that for free!

As for my ice cream? I eventually got so desperate that I drove back to the office and got the one I keep in my lunch bag. The heart wants what the heart wants.