Thursday, July 10, 2008


“We have to move in a week!” Dustin recently exclaimed to me with panic in his eyes. And although we have a bit more time than that (closing is July 15th, but our lease isn’t up July 31st), his feeling of alarm is justified. The primary reason for concern? All of our junk. We just seem to have so much STUFF. Thankfully the new house is considerably larger than the space we’re in now, so we know it will all fit. But there is still the little detail of packing it all up and transporting it to our future junk collection site. Umm….I mean our new home. Now, we are by no means out of control with the volume of our possessions (have you seen Clean House? Yikes!), but it does seem overwhelming at times. And moving forces us to pull all of those forgotten treasures out of their hiding places and face the reality of our situation.

We’ve just begun the process and already I am surprised by the sheer amount of we’ve been able to accumulate in our (relatively) young lives. I shutter to think what will happen when I take back permanent ownership of all my childhood mementos and random keepsakes from my long-term storage facility (otherwise known as my parent’s basement!). And when we finally have children? I imagine it’ll be a struggle not to throw in the towel in the battle with clutter. (If we can even find a towel to throw at that point!)

Last weekend, on a trip to the mall (because we needed to purchase new things?) we stopped to check out the Container Store. I surprisingly have never been there, or to any of its organization-mecca cousins (of which there are many). It was about what I expected: rack after rack of shelving solutions, decorative boxes to hide less-decorative contents, and an array of disturbingly expensive trash cans (how much money should one spend on storing garbage? Dustin- “but it has a foot pedal opener and a lid that slowly lowers on its own!” Touché, my good man.) For the most part the store experience felt a little bland to me. I expected to feel that neurotic brand of joy that comes with the possibility of creating a hyper-organized space, but instead I was a little disarmed by the overall meaning of the store’s existence. I remarked to my step-father Vern that it seemed a little out of whack to spend so much money on items to organize other items that you’ve already spent money on. We keep buying more stuff, so we have to buy more organizers. Bins, shelves, boxes and hangers all designed to corral the vast collections of things that we can’t, or won’t, live without.

But I seem to talk out of both sides of my mouth, as I continue my love affair with Craiglist purchases, and refuse to part with my (vast) collection of magazines. In many ways I am the stereotypical pack rat, justifying my piles saying “but what if we need this someday?”

Soooo, all that to say, we’ve got about 9 packing boxes. And about 90 boxes worth of stuff. It’s not going so well. I leave you with a video from the front lines of the war on junk...(As you will see, neither one of us make very good organizational "soldiers"- despite Dustin's Army t-shirt)

Packing: Volume 1 of 1,001... from Courtney Bowden on Vimeo.

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