At first glance, looking around my apartment filled me with quiet optimism regarding the move. Making a mental list, I began ticking off the bulk of the items and what it would require to remove them from the premises, the rest, I thought, would be a piece of cake. “How hard could it be?” I scoffed. Like the glory days of Top Gear, I was about to find out.
The first speed bump came shortly into packing. What I had anticipated as a menial task of sorting through my daughter’s toys, turned out to be a gruelling test of self control. Stumbling across a discarded slinky, I found myself caught in two minds. “Toss it in the bin” or “I’ve still got time”. Thirty minutes later, having created a mishmash staircase from boxes and books, I finally came to my senses. “This is ridiculous,” I said to myself “There’s a perfectly good staircase right outside the front door,” I’m not proud of what followed.
It seemed there were distractions at every turn. The more I began to draw possessions from storage, the more I became overwhelmed. It’s incredible how much you can accumulate over the years without even noticing. It seemed we were each guilty of hoarding.
As I pulled the drawer from my wife’s dresser, I was suddenly attacked by a Jack In The Box of the tampon variety. Many sprung from the confines and bounced off the bedroom carpet, making for the door. Others tried tumbling under the dresser as if I wouldn’t notice their break for freedom. I frantically began to round them up by the handful, remaining brave despite their superior numbers. I felt like I was starring in the rejected plot for Blade 4, in which our hero has settled down, only to find these blood thirsty creatures living within his family home. “Just what kind of eventuality was she planning for?” I wondered. Thoughts began to rush through my head. The whole town flooded just a few weeks ago and here she was, sitting on her very own flood defence system. Stuffing them into a bin bag, they were of no further use to me. Until I began to over think things. “Maybe I could save them?” I thought aloud, completely aware that by this point I had become far too comfortable with talking to myself. “Everyone knows you live on a tight budget at university. These could get my daughter through college one day,” The more I became convinced by how brilliant the idea was, the more I realised I had to throw this shit away and cast such thoughts from my mind.
Every time I opened a new drawer or cupboard, it was like unleashing the contents of Pandora’s Box. I’d heard of Locusts, what I hadn’t realised was that I had a plague of Bobby pins. Every nook and cranny was infested. Each time I threw one away, two would take its place. I was fighting a losing battle, and this was all before I had tackled the cleaning. I love my family very much, but it became increasingly clear that we have the domestic qualities of a chimpanzee flinging faeces about its zoo enclosure. Take the fridge for example, in which I opened to door to find it had its very own ecosystem. Two weeks later and I would have discovered Narnia. And don’t even get me started on the freezer. “What kind of monster eats this much corn?” I asked aloud as I scooped the base of the freezer for the forty-ninth time. “My bowel movements could lift sunken ships with this kind of buoyancy!”
If not for the purpose of moving home, I could have gone about my life, ignorant of the mountain of unnecessary and unwanted goods that had been tucked away into every possible hole. The task of disposing or transferring these items from A to B had now become an almighty challenge. As I packed a third suitcase full of vacuum sealed clothing that my daughter no longer wore, I began to contemplate arson as the easy way out. “Just a little fire,” Repeated the voice inside my head “Then all your troubles will drift away.” Resentment filled every bone in my body towards the task that I had been left to undertake alone. “If my wife was here right now, I’d have some very strong words that I would keep to myself!” I was that livid.
Finally, after a week of relentless work, I had successfully moved back home with the parents. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief as I hoisted the last of the remaining boxes into the hall, punching the air in triumph. I’d done it. I had moved house for the third time in two years. With my feet up and a warm beverage by my side, everything was once again right in the world. Eight days. Twenty nine bags of rubbish. Fourteen trips from A to B. £36 in the swear jar. It had all led to this moment. “You know. You could have always hired a removal van,” Quipped the voice inside my head. “Don’t start with me, Phil!” I snapped back. Great, I’ve lost my mind.