The Three P’s


Everyone knows that moving is a stressful experience. It’s the three P’s — Purging, Packing, and Paperwork. Is there anyone who really enjoys any of those activities, and all three at once is enough to send you over the edge!!

We started this moving process thinking how therapeutic it would be to sort through our last chapter – to clean out and prepare for our next. And, things started out so easy. We sold this house within a week of listing and found our next home quickly. We were looking forward to going from our beautiful, turn-of-the-century, center-hall colonial to a remodeled, mid-century home, fully equipped with downstairs bedrooms and an awesome pool. A newer, modern, EASIER home to make memories. We were excited, ready, willing and able.

The realization that the move wasn’t going to be all rainbows and roses started with the first P – Purging. I’m not a perfect homemaker, but I do pride myself as being pretty organized and my house as being clean (at least every Tuesday). Not so. Turns out, we are hoarders. There may not be piles of newspapers lining the walls, but I’ve found a least a half dozen old hoses, hundreds of chipped mugs and apparently we have never thrown away a single thing our children have ever worn, made, loved or looked at.

For anyone, going though belongings can bring up memories – good and bad – that can leave them in a puddle on the floor. For me, it’s that everything I touched during the Purge, seemed to all lead back to two words – BEFORE and AFTER. We moved into this house and Jack was 7 and perfectly healthy. He was in the first grade and our only worry was the awkward cowlick that made his haircuts never quite right. Artwork of Jack’s from preschool, early elementary school report cards, his first book reports — how on earth could I throw away any proof that Jack could read and write and draw and talk? Then, there were the countless IEPs and awards from his time at The PG Chambers School, where we came to terms with our new life, and Horizon High School, where we embraced it. And, let’s not forget Anna. Our daughter who kept detailed calendars about her assignments – starting in kindergarten. How can I throw out anything that our incredible athlete, student, artist, warm hearted, amazing Anna made?

The Packing has been almost as bad as the Purging. Although we are moving to a home with plenty of room, I kept telling myself that there was no need for us to move things that don’t bring us JOY. I’ve read the book and watch the show – THOSE people are so happy. The problem is that everything brings me JOY or brings Dan JOY, or Jack or Anna, or even my mother JOY. I couldn’t part with any of the kid’s ANYTHING, but I was ready to get rid of the pile of baseball helmets from every team in the National and American League. Nope – Dan wouldn’t have it. I was ready to get get rid of Jack’s One Direction poster collection, but I swear Jack looked at me like I was throwing away five of his best friends. My mother nearly cried when I mentioned replacing the dinning room chairs that, although lovely, can’t seem to stay in one piece even when my lightest, most gentle, of our friends take a seat. Anna is the only member of the family who doesn’t seem to have much of a sentimental side – she’s just ready to grab a towel and some friends and hang out by then pool. God bless Anna;)

The last P is perhaps the worst P of them all – Paperwork. First we needed to deal with the paperwork of listing our home (who remembers the exact date of the installation of the new water heater?). Next, was the lawyers and the mortgage company asking for things that required digging through files and dozens of phone calls. After that we had a homeowner’s insurance hiccup which stole a day of my life on the phone begging and pleading to save Finn’s life (true story). Once all this was done and we started to breath, we remembered that when you move, you need to change your address — utilities and bills and schools and driver’s licenses.  I currently have a stack of papers on my desk that is filled with VERY IMPORTANT PAPERWORK that I’m really hoping I don’t mistakingly put into the recycling bin while I am trying to prep the house for the buyer’s final walk through next Monday.

When the kids were little and Dan and I would go out of town solo, we would always describe the length of our trips by the number of “sleeps” we would be away. I keep looking at my calendar now. We have nine more sleeps until the move. Nine more sleeps until we face another set of P’s — Putting stuff away, Prettifying, and POOL!!!

Wish us luck.

Love, Jess

I could have sworn I read or heard something about the P’s of moving and wanted to give the proper credit, but I can’t find anything right now – except for some old hoses.


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