REFLECTIONS: My Companion, Cancer

Oregon Move Update

category_bug_journal2.gif When I moved to Maine from New York City four years ago, there were 60-plus boxes of books. Because the upcoming move to Oregon is a lot farther and I'm on a tight budget, I sold about half my books which are the weightiest items. Here's what was accomplished on Friday – 15 boxes of books with only about six or eight more still to be filled from other rooms.

Book Boxes

I'm quite pleased with myself and those empty shelves make me feel like a lot of progress was made. That's not really true, but having that much cleared space has energized me to keep at it, a few boxes each day for the next three weeks.

On Friday, I hired an excellent helper, Waring Cutler, who had been one of the painters when I was preparing the apartment for sale. Here he is hard at work packing those books.


I cleared out the drawers and lower cupboards of the sideboard of an amazing amount of junk (among it, 40-odd VHS cassettes; I don't even own a VHS player anymore). Waring hauled it all to the dump, including a lot of other stuff from around the apartment. More empty space - which is the overall goal.


I'll hire Waring again a couple of days before the moving van arrives to haul away everything else I've identified as drek. I did this before I left New York; it's amazing how much crap I have collected in four years.

But it's not all junk. Look at this elegant pair of dress-up, evening slippers I found buried under a lot of other stuff on a closet shelf.


I remember buying them, but they have never been worn, sitting forgotten all this time on that shelf. Sometimes, packing is like Christmas morning. Near those shoes, I also discovered the head scarves I spent months trying to find and finally presumed had been tossed in one of my rare fits of closet tidiness.

Waring helped me pull out the china from the highest shelves. These are mostly heavy, serving pieces and a lot of extra teacups that would have taken me about 25 trips up and down a ladder to retrieve on my own.


I haven't used most of it in the four years I've lived here, so I'm washing them all before packing. I don't want grungy dishes to wash at the other end of the trip.

Normally, Ollie the cat hides under a bed when anyone visits our home, but Waring is one of the few people he likes and as the boxes piled up during the day, Ollie made careful inspections to be sure Waring's packing skills were up to snuff.

Ollie the Cat

Packing isn't hard if you give yourself plenty of time; two or three boxes a day is not a burden. But as a concession to my age (and on the good advice of you, TGB readers, on previous posts), I hired Waring for the heaviest work.

It took him about eight or ten trips up and down the stairs to get the trash, some of it quite heavy, into his truck for the drive to the dump. It would have taken me well more than an hour carrying smaller loads and resting between trips. Waring did it in 15 minutes.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Walt Grant: Tomboy Hero


I always love getting rid of stuff. I like to think of life is like a rocket, you can only have a limited amount of payload or you won't achieve orbit. Moving is a good way to evaluate what you really need. When I retire I'd like to move around more. I'm not big on two week vacation trips, but I might like to switch cities every year. That will mean getting rid of lots of weight.

Young good looking men are always welcome in my house to help me move the heavy stuff!


Deep in my soul there's a Zen monk trying to get out. A robe, a rice bowl, and sandals... what more do you need? I hope we don't ever move again because I wouldn't know where to start sorting things out.

Love the sandals! I love the idea of putting all my books and music and movies into my ipod and ipad. I remember when I went to Ireland I had a large red trunk with cassettes and a player. I go through stuff every year and clean out clothes I don't wear etc. I take good stuff to the thrift shop run by the senior center here.

Don't look now, Ronni, but I believe that you and I and a few of our friends are starting to fulfill some of the very stereotypes of age that we so abhor. My take on it? Who cares! We're still putting one foot in front of the other (or, pushing the wheel of the chair forward, or....)

Great news on your moving progress. At the end of the three weeks you should be in better shape than you were last week. Good show!

Great! I'm so glad this is coming along. You've inspired me to start weeding out my books. Weirdly, I decided that having two copies of "The Confessions" by St. Augustine was a good idea. And, three cheers for Waring!

In preparation for my impending adventure (MARTA)
I'm packing up everything that I can fit into the back seat of my truck to take to the camper dealer in Iowa where I'll pick up & unstall my new rig. Decisions like the bread maker- It ain't easy getting real bread when you're on the road in the hinterland. Yogurt maker ditto but Tibetan Thanka ? Probably not.

That is a neat update and as a plus to getting your job done and leaving you feeling good is that he gets what is probably some needed work. That's a win/win for everybody when you add in us reading it and feeling good too.

I've been thinking about paring down here because after living on a farm for over 30 years, where you can spread out every which way, the thought of moving is terrifying; but someday it'll have to happen and better getting things in order now than then.

Please don't take stuff to the dump that others may need.

Years ago our neighborhood was dismayed by the actions of a 50-something neighbor whose father (in a neighboring town) finally had to go to a nursing home. He hired a dumpster and threw out everything.

This was the very week that Hurricane Floyd hit our area and people had lost everything. I can't tell you how many locals could have used the Pyrex, towels, China, canned goods, blankets...everything and anything.

BTW, love your china.

It took me three weeks to pack everything in a house I had owned for 30 years. I remember getting up at 3 am and packing boxes. I did it alone and also held a 3 day yard sale. What I didn't sell I gave away.

I could never do it now so guess I had better start taking a closet at a time and getting rid of the accumulation of junk. It's amazing how those empty shelves have filled up again in nearly eleven years.

Your dishes are beautiful. I love the egg cups.

When I moved in mid-March to my elder share housing with friend Louise, I hired 2 young fellows at the recommendation of my friend Susan who is a geriatric care manager and is constantly helping clients move or downsize. Talk about witnessing a display of youth and vigor. I was astounded. They were joined by a third friend about halfway through. He was a bit plump and slow. Nontheless, they loaded and unloaded everything in my new place in 2.5 hours and charged me half of what I was charged in the previous move. It's good to have help. And it's great when they are pleasant, efficient and inexpensive.

Oh, do tell Waring that we are glad he is helping you. Any chance he has a cousin or twin at the other end of the line? It is so much nicer reading posts about the rigors of moving knowing Waring and Ollie are there with you. You prove once more not only to be an inspiration, but just plain smart.

Funny how people feel they have to do everything on their own, even when it's too difficult to manage. It took me years to get my husband to admit that cutting the grass was too big a job for him, so now a neighborhood teenager does it. When he goes to college, we will hire a yard service.
We are constantly clearing out, giving away, selling at garage sales and on e-bay: still, we have way too much stuff. At the same time we lack things we need, such as a new bed and new clothes.
I wonder why it's so hard to get our act together sometimes.

Bravo.....Hiring Waring was the best thing you could have done for yourself. It's a shame you can't take him to the other coast with you. Maybe your brother can help you find a similarly motivated person for the move-in.

We are cheering you on.

What a great pair of slippers to find unexpectedly. They don't look all that "Mainey" but they do look fun.

This post is energizing and inspiring!
Thank you for motivating me for my probable upcoming move.

Nothing like moving to reveal hidden treasures. It gives me some motivation to start boxing up my own stuff.

Hey, Tabor, I concur!

Unusual name...Waring. Do they call him "Ware"?

Ronni, after you're all settled in, I hope you put those gorgeous shoes on, do a little dance, then walk them over to a cozy cafe.

I love your Ollie photos.

I have enjoyed reading your updates about the sale of your home, details about the cross country move...and the photos! Love the photos. You are good, really good! Keep em coming..

Ronni, Those piled up boxes bring back recent memories; we could not have done it without a similar strong guy. If you decide, once you're in Portland, to unload more books, Daedalus (next to delicious Ken's Artisan Bakery) in the N.W. is a good place. Whatever he does not take, we move along to Powell's, then Goodwill.

Glad to hear of your progress and that you got help. Love the dishes, love the slippers!

And thanks to commenter Jim Harris. I'll be using his quote in the uncluttering class that I teach: "I like to think life is like a rocket, you can only have a limited amount of payload or you won't achieve orbit."

Ollie is enjoying his job as supervisor. I know he does great at the task.
No mice that belong to Ollie will be packed in those boxes as Ollie plans to take them in his own little suitcase for safe keeping.

Bon voyage to you both.

Great progress, Ronni! Packing the books first is a smart move because then (sigh) that whole category, at least, is done. Ditto bringing down the "good" dishes and washing them to pack. And hiring help? Brilliant.

All kitchen/cooking/eating stuff is horribly box- and time-consuming and tends to lag until the end (because you still have to eat while packing). The bare basics of the kitchen are nearly the last thing to pack. Make sure you have extra boxes for the kitchen--the volume will surprise you.

For now, why not tackle the out-of-season sections of the linen and wardrobe closets...so you can see daily progress without being overwhelmed with heavy stuff.

brilliant hiring the young man!
beautiful slippers!
if you don't use the'good china', why slepp it?

Got a favorite niece or newphew or know any young married couples in Maine who could use all the beautiful China. That's what I'd do with it. All my Grandfather and Grandmothers dining room funiture and crates of beautiful China were stolen from a storage place here in San Diego. It was a mixed blessing. I cried for quite a while, then began to hope that whoever took it at least gave it or found it all a good home with people who appreciate what they had.

ronni, i moved to Oregon in 1986, a new yorker and now live in Salem,

I agree with the other comment, dont even unpack your books, there are great booksores, Powells, and Daedaelus, plus terrific cafes to have coffee and read, good luck,

Soon you can do the happy dance!!!!

Home is not a physical place made of wood or stone. It is a place where one feels welcome, warm, comfort, and love.
May you know that you're home!

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