By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur "living the dream in the Pacific Northwest."
They say moving is one of the seven highly traumatic life experiences. Here is one such list:
- Raising kids
- Acceptance (being accepted)
- Life changes
- Interacting day to day with friends and family
To it I’ll add an eighth highly traumatic life experience: “Public Speaking.”
In fact people fear public speaking more than death. Think of it. It appears that many folks would rather die than have to speak at the funeral of someone close (say yourself – if that was possible).
At any rate, our family is in the middle of a move. For the first time I can remember, this move is local. We’re moving only about eight miles.
Our previous moves were, (in this order):
- From Boston to Washington D.C.
- From Washington D.C. to Boston
- From Boston to Florida
- From Florida to Seattle
- Now. From one location in Snohomish County to another.
When we moved from Boston to Florida, it was after 28 years in one home. You simply cannot believe all the crap one accumulates after that long in one fairly large house (with a two car garage with a full second story above it). I took us six months to “purge” everything we decided not to take with us.
Rule of Thumb (by experts at moving): If you haven’t touched something in about 18 months, get rid of it.
As I’ve been clearing out the top of my “back up” desk (on which I put things that I realize I don’t need every day) I found the following:
- An external floppy disk!
- A circa 2006 Notebook computer (with the Vista Operating System). It was one of those with a docking station so you could remove just the keyboard, screen and a small hard drive. The hard drive had failed, so it could not boot up at all. I still, to this day, don’t really know why I kept it – except that I was concerned since I could not boot it up that someone, if they got a hold of the drive, might be able to read files from the disk. And because I could not boot it up, I could not run the disk defragmenter and wipe out program.
- Approximately 150 unsharpened pencils.
- Notes scribbled on post it notes (covered in dust) going back eight years. Most of the writing was and still is unintelligible.
Now many people, including me are sort of “pack rats.” We find it hard to dispose of things.
Many years ago, my car developed a leak (only in the rain). Turned out a “grommet” had disintegrated between the inside of the front wheel well and the front seat floorboard. So every time you drove it in the rain, you wound up with about an inch of water on the floor.
My close friend, also an inveterate pack rat, looked at the hole, and said, “I have the exact grommet you need to fill the hole.”
Sure enough a few minutes later he emerged from his house with said grommet and, “leak solved.”
See, if he had not been a pack rat I would have wound up at the dealership spending several hundred dollars to fix it. So this only proves that one’s fear that you just threw something away that you will desperately need tomorrow is sometimes based in fact.
Among the things I threw out when we moved after 28 years in one place were approximately 35 years of income tax returns. It took me several days to reduce all that paper to “unreadable” scrap.
The fear that someone might get a hold of your old tax returns is a fear based in fact. Lots of identity theft starts with sloppy “caretaking” of old personal papers.
Today there are many services that will pull up to your home and shred all your old papers. The fees are quite expensive – so much/document.
There is a cable TV show called "Hoarders." You simply can’t believe the filth that some of these “afflicted” hoarders live in. Often they find dead cats/dogs etc. under layers of trash strewn everywhere. Old opened food cans with vermin crawling all over it. Sheesh!
Now what makes our current move extremely stressful is that we are moving into a new house. There is currently a race going on as to whether the new house will be fully habitable on the day we “have to” move out of our current home, which has been sold.
So far my wife and I are still speaking to each other. I wish I could say the same for the builder and all the sub-contractors.
If I had $1 for each time a “we’ll be there tomorrow” commitment was broken, I’d be able to retire tomorrow a rich man.
Threats of a law suit are meaningless. So is bribery as in, “I’ll give you an extra $1,000 if you can finish ‘X’ by Monday.”
The old joke is apt here:
Question: “How can you tell if a plumber (electrician, carpenter) is lying?”
Answer: “Their lips are moving.”