Upon my arrival at LaGuardia Airport that fateful day last week, I felt something that frightened me: apprehension. You see, I had been gone from NYC for over five months -- I studied abroad in London one semester and spent a couple weeks in my home state of Texas before I came back to live in Manhattan. However, the apprehension did not stem from homesickness or culture shock. I was frightened about all the stuff I had in storage.
Flickr photo by malias
Before I left for London, I was living in Brooklyn, where my home was huge compared to Manhattan standards. While standing in the middle of my bedroom, I could stretch my arms as far as they could go and I felt like I was a tree, with all the space for my branches to grow --what ended up growing was the amount of stuff I had. I bought a queen-sized bed from the magical land of IKEA, a bookshelf, an architect-style desk, an end table and a dresser. I've always had lots of clothes, and with a double closet I accumulated even more.
By the time I was moving out from Brooklyn (I didn't like commuting and my branches felt tired after a long day and a 45 minute train ride), I had -- practically -- hoarded six 27" x 16" inch plastic storage bins, six large luggage and four Hefty trash bags worth of stuff.
Taking all of my things to the storage building was a nightmare. Unable to afford a moving van (I'm a college student, I can't afford many things!) I rented an airport taxi mini-van. My boyfriend and I stuffed the van to its brim, causing the driver to be very nervous, and began the process of lugging 80 percent of my worIdly possessions to a storage unit in Chelsea. I knew that getting all of it back and trying to stuff it into an apartment less than half the size of my Brooklyn home was going to be worse than agony.
This was what was on my mind as I sat in the backseat of another airport taxi, a sedan this time. My apprehension was somewhat eased when I saw my new apartment. It is small, but it has a full kitchen with a dishwasher and my room can fit more than just my queen-sized bed! Getting my things from storage was indeed agony, and swimming through all the stuff I had forgotten I owned was groan-inducing (pictured above).
In the end, it took me two days to throw away a third of my things, sell a third and keep a third and I was left with a bunch of empty (or so I thought) bins and luggage. It was really painful deciding what to throw and give away. Most of the things I decided to let go of I had owned since my freshman year in college. I had become emotionally attached, which is dangerous. I found that the best thing to do was let go of the things that I may love, but didn't use anymore. Things my mom had given me, I kept. Things that I had bought recently, I kept. But everything else had to go. It was not easy, but it was the best thing I could do to clear some space in my closet. I figured, if I loved these clothes so much someone else can, too. In the end I felt cleaner and less cluttered and even, somehow, physically lighter!
I was ready to get rid of all my bulky luggage and left two of the smaller ones for future travel use. After I ordered the apartment, I left my happily-rid junk on the sidewalk and went to run some errands. When I returned, I realized that one luggage had been ransacked and laid open on the curb. It was obvious someone had gone through it and taken everything out of the pockets.
Thinking nothing of it I went up to my apartment to take a shower and looked for some pretty underwear to wear (because I love pretty underwear). To my dismay I could not locate where I had put ALL the panties I owned and remembered that they were tucked away in a pocket of a luggage I had brought from home. Then I remembered that I had switched the one from home with a smaller one I had in storage and left the bigger one on the curb. I then recalled the luggage that was lying bare on the curb in front of my new home. Putting my hand to my forehead I uttered a sigh and prepared for a long shower.
And that is how I lost all of my underwear during a very difficult move. What did I learn from my moving tribulations? When you live in New York City, it is not a good idea to become a hoarder -- donate things you don't use anymore -- and never lose sight of your underwear.